Eerie in the sense of haunted, uncanny, mysterious, abandoned.
The derelict and abandoned Sapperton Tunnel on the Severn and Thames canal near Cirencester is little known except by locals visiting Tunnel Inn, built to provide food and shelter for the ‘navvies’ and fresh horses to tow narrow boats, home to families who owned or more likely tenanted the craft laden with stone, coal and timber. The boats had to be ‘legged’ through the 2 mile tunnel; the horses guided over the top to be re-united with their burdens.
Today the busy pub, close to the handsome pillared partly restored north portal of the canal, is reached by a long rutted bumpy lane some 2 km from the road. The canal however is sadly neglected. Voices of thousands of construction workers, the din of excavation, music, singing and merriment from the Inn and the passing of countless narrow boats can at times make the visitor feel an unwelcome intruder, overwhelmed by melancholy. Eerie.
The scene is quiet except for the wind rustling the leaves of giant beech trees, their roots silently driving wedges through hand crafted masonry once the pride of highly skilled artisans, now long forgotten.
(The canal was begun in 1787, later closed for technical reason and re-opened in 1836 under the guidance of one Isambard Kingdom Brunel. The tunnel is 2 miles 288 yards long [3.49 km] and at it’s deepest some 70m below the surface. One day it will be restored.)