Rosie Duffield MP Visits Crab & Winkle Tunnel

On Saturday 25th May we were delighted to welcome Rosie Duffield MP to visit the Tyler Hill Tunnel in Canterbury.  Along with Rosie we also had local councillors from Canterbury City Council; Alan Baldock (Leader), Mike Sole (Deputy Loader), Mel Dawkins (St Stephen’s) and Paul Prentice (Barton). From the university of Kent at Canterbury we were joined by Dr Catharine Morris – sustainability manager. _X1A7452 (Large)

_X1A7320 (Large)


The tunnel is Grade II* Listed.  It is 828 yards (757 metres) long and was opened on May 3rd 1830.  It was the first railway tunnel with a regular passenger service – in the world._X1A7586 (Large)


The tunnel was mostly filled in after part of it collapsed in the 1970s.  There is now 80 metres still accessible from the South Portal._X1A7415-Enhanced-NR (Large)


Canterbury City Council Leader – Alan Baldock – Remembers going in the tunnel when he attended the Archbishop’s School._X1A7365 (Large)


Robin Townsend (Trustee) with Canterbury City Council Deputy Leader – Mike Sole. _X1A7257 (Large)


Dr Catharine Morris – Sustainability Manager at The University of Kent and Canterbury.  The University own the Northern portion of the tunnel and the trackbed to Tyler Hill Road._X1A7317 (Large)


Tunnel owner (South Portal) and Crab and Winkle Line Trust Patron – Paul Roberts. _X1A7303 (Large)


Trustee Robin Townsend using four candles (pun intended) to demonstrate that the tunnel was dug with hand tools by candle light._X1A7292 (Large)

The trusts long term aim is to re-open the tunnel as part of the Crab and Winkle Way for walking and cycling between Canterbury and Whitstable.  As a former railway it is the flattest and shortest route.  The much loved Crab and Winkle Way would be more accessible than ever and its position strengthened as a genuine and attractive alternative to driving for many local journeys.

Thank you to The Archbishop’s School for giving us access through their site.  Kent Bat Group for allowing us access to the tunnel, home to bats, that are a protected species.  Finally, thank you to Paul Roberts, Owner of the Tunnel and Patron of the Crab and Winkle Line Trust for restoration and preservation of the tunnel as well as opening it up for visits such as this.

£450 was raised on the day which will be divided between the Kent Bat Group, The Archbishops School and the Crab and Winkle line trust.


Whitstable Path Extension Completed

The path extension in Whitstable has been completed and is already proving to be popular.

Bridge at the end of the new path leading towards Old Bridge Road.
20201213_142351 (Medium)

Some of the newly planted trees.
20201129_132359 (Medium)

Path zig zags down the grade of the embankment towards Old Bridge Road entrance.
20210124_121547 (Medium)

A number of bat boxes have been installed.
20210124_121255 (Medium)

Some more planting.

View north into the extension from the existing Invicta Way section of the Crab and Winkle at Ivy House Road.
20201220_142532 (Medium)

Whitstable Extension Path Construction Has Begun

Against all odds, construction of the paths for the Crab and Winkle Way extension in Whitstable started today.  Canterbury City Council transport team has engaged contractors to complete the section of path at the end of the Invicta Way towards Old Bridge Road.2020_05_11_DavidOxberry_2

190th Anniversary

Today is the 190th Anniversary of the opening of the Canterbury and Whitstable Railway line.
Unfortunately and understandably we have been unable to celebrate with an event this year.
We hope that you and your families are well and keeping safe.

Crab and Winkle Extension Commences

The clearance of the Crab and Winkle extension started today at 9am.  SERCO’s tree-fellers will be moving in and taking down the trees and shrubs for this project.
Actual construction work is not due to start until May but the tree clearance needs to start before the end of the month to avoid bird nesting season.
Trees with potential bat roosts have been identified but a recent survey suggests that there are no bats currently hibernating in those few trees.  A recent inspection of the site has also reiterated that there are unlikely to be any reptiles on this section of the project.
2020-02-26 13.36.02_2

Final Planning Approval Sought for Paths in Whitstable

Final approval for variations on plans to build the paths required for the Crab and Winkle walking and cycling path extension in Whitstable will be sought at a planning meeting early in the new year.

The plans can be found and comments can be made by searching for 19/01145 at:

The variations are concerning:
- Bird and bat box locations
- Bin and signs locations
- Embankment details
- Landscaping plans
- Lighting plans

We are hoping that these can all be approved at a January planning meeting so that work on the paths can commence shortly afterwards. Every supporting comment will help increase the chances of this final approval.

Comments must be received by 6th December 2019

Planning Permission for New Paths

The Trust and Canterbury City Council are pressing ahead with plans to extend the path in Whitstable. We hope to start work on a small section of the path that will extend the Invicta Way to Old Bridge Road. Section 106 developer contribution money is already in place for this and we hope work will start in the next six months. Despite this only being a short section the plans we have are for all the paths down to The Sidings and Tower Parade. This is so that we can move quickly to get more built when extra funds become available. The Bridges are under separate planning that will be re-applied for soon.

There are currently two items on the Canterbury City Council planning portal.

CA/19/01145 Variation of Conditions, after suggestions made at the consultation a number of changes have been made. This application covers those changes.

CA//19/01194 Discharge of Conditions, the planning we were granted had a number of conditions and this is an application to have some of those conditions discharged due to their fulfilment.

We have also published a report about or Public Consultation which was held last year. It can be viewed at

2019 Tyler Hill Tunnel and Beverley Arch Visit

In May 2019, the Trust hosted a visit inside the Tyler Hill Tunnel at the south portal.  This was made possible by the kind permission of the owner, Paul Roberts.  He has spent considerable time and money, faithfully restoring the portal, as well as protecting it from vandalism.  We also required permission from Kent Bat Group’s Shirley Thompson.  This is because the tunnel is now home to bats, so access requires permission and guidance from someone with a Bat License.  We also had permission from the Archbishop’s school for access.

If you would like to visit the tunnel in the future then we give members preference, you can join here  Or Keep an eye out on or Facebook Page but we may not always advertise there if enough members take up the chance.

Some pictures from the visit.

Trustee and Tunnel Officer, John Burden, Introducing the Tunnel and other Speakers to the Visitors.
20190518_100520 (Medium)

Trust Archivist, Jonathan Baker, explaining some of the History of the Tunnel
20190518_100726 (Medium)

Shirley Thompson talking about the Bats that now live in the Tunnel.
20190518_101712 (Medium)

Visitors Entering the Tunnel.
20190518_102226 (Medium)20190518_102302 (Medium)20190518_102318 (Medium)

A vent brick placed for bats.  Although they tend to favour the gaps that have formed as the mortar around the existing bricks has decayed.
20190518_102435 (Medium)
20190518_102540 (Medium)20190518_102648 (Medium)20190518_102702 (Medium)20190518_102939 (Medium)

Trust Secretary Robin Townsend showing off our plans to extend the current Foot Cycle path that runs along the old line.
20190518_104821 (Medium)
20190518_104848 (Medium)


Trust Chair, William Leetham, showing the Beverley Arch to visitors.
20190518_111607 (Medium)
20190518_111920 (Medium)20190518_112155 (Medium)

Embankment Clear-up Whitstable

The Crab and Winkle Line Trust and Local Residents carried out a clear-up of the old railway embankment in Whitstable on the weekend of 2nd March 2019. About 20 bags of rubbish, a shopping trolley and tyre. Thank you to all involved.

20190302_123712 (Medium)


We had around 168 visitors to our exhibition in Whitstable on Friday 22nd and Saturday 23rd of June. Representatives from The Crab and Winkle Line Trust and Canterbury City Council were on hand to answer questions and hear peoples views on our proposals to extend the Crab and Winkle Way further into Whitstable. We have started to put up documents relating to the pans here. If you have not provided feedback yet or have any questions then please do get in contact via

CW Exhibition 9 23_6_18

CW Exhibition 9 23_6_18

CW Exhibition 6 23_6_18