Historic 'secret' tunnel beneath Scarborough Spa Cliff Lift opened for first time since 1973 as gardens are finally linked again

A long-forgotten 'secret' tunnel that has been bricked up for almost 50 years will finally link Scarborough's South Cliff Gardens again this summer.

By Grace Newton
Thursday, 24th March 2022, 4:47 pm

The Cliff Lift Tunnel ran beneath the Spa Cliff Lift until 1973, when it became insecure and was sealed for safety reasons.

Yet this summer it will open to the public again and reconnect the north and south areas of the historic gardens as part of a major regeneration of the area.

The tunnel is just five metres long and two metres high - but it will become a fully accessible route that will cut an entire mile off the present journey between the two halves of the South Cliff Gardens.

The tunnel runs beneath the funicular railway.

Work began in May 2021 and is now almost complete.

Site manager Alan Clarke of contractors PBS said: "It's pretty much gone to plan, other than finding a bit of old asbestos. We did a survey, excavated a new footpath, took down the wall that blocked it up, added supports, cleaned the brickwork and put a new concrete slab down.

"It will be great for disabled access. People in wheelchairs will now be able to go straight through and cut 20 to 30 minutes off the journey. Previously, they'd have to go up to the top and back down again, leave the park and go back in. They'll be able to easily get from Spa Bridge to the Clock Tower. It will really open everything up."

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Scarborough's South Cliff Gardens to be restored to their former glory
The South Cliff Gardens are currently undergoing a major restoration - site manager Alan Clarke inside the tunnel.
The tunnel is just five metres long but cuts 30 minutes off a journey between the north and south areas of the gardens.