Exeter Underground Passages

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Even when it is wet there are fascinating things to do in most cities, and Exeter is no exception. Although I worked in Exeter for many years I had never visited the medieval passageways that stretch under the city's streets, because years ago the only method of access was climbing down a ladder through a drain in the street.

It is completely different now, and access could not be easier, via a lift or steps to a new Underground Interpretation Centre with an exhibition which explains how the passages brought clean drinking water from natural springs from outside the walled city. Lead pipes ran through the narrow vaulted passages into the heart of the city, going off in one direction to the Cathedral.

There is a video presentation before you set off on a guided tour with hard hats so you do not knock your head on the roof of the lower passages. There is also a computer simulation where you can play at flying through the passages which is great fun.

The passages date from the 14th Century, and it is wonderful that access has been opened up now, and you can spend an enjoyable hour beneath the streets of Exeter. The passages are quite narrow, and it must have been claustrophobic to shelter in them all night, standing up against the walls, while a bombing raid took place above in World War II.

I recommend the visit for a completely different experience underground!

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