This year we are working our way round many of the Ironbridge museums and last time we went to Blists Hill Victorian Town. This time we went to see the Tar Tunnel. It’s a really weird place. It’s only a short visit, but it wasn’t far from the Coalport China Museum, so we combined it with a visit there. We bought some duck food from the Tar Tunnel shop and had some fun feeding the ducks. Mum and H enjoyed feeding the ducks on the canal outside the Tar Tunnel.
Back in 1797 miners were digging and struck a spring of natural bitumen. Bitumen is a black treacle-like substance that is or was often used on the roads or in construction work or to waterproof ships. The miners had been looking for coal, but they decided to extract the bitumen instead. The Tar Tunnel has been oozing tar from its walls ever since, but it’s no longer extracted commercially.
For a long time it was the tunnel was a great curiosity and in the eighteenth century tourists would visit to see it. H really enjoyed getting kitted up in a hard hat. I’d recommend not wearing clothes that you are too precious about it. You can avoid the tar fairly easily as an adult, but with a couple of children in tow it’s possible you could get some on clothes. We could only walk a little way through the tunnel with a guide. It really is quite a weird place to visit, but I’m glad we did because I’ve never been anywhere quite like it before.
Disclosure: I was given a free entry ticket for the purposes of carrying out this review.