The Victorian tunnel uncovered in the Lake District after 50 years

A hidden tunnel has re-emerged in the Lake District as part of a multi-million pound project to create a new path.

The 80-metre long Victorian tunnel was filled in after the railway line was scrapped under the Beeching cuts in the early 1970s.

The arched underground passage was built in 1872 and was originally part of a mineral line bringing coal between west Cumbria and Durham.

Around 3,000 tonnes of debris was removed from the tunnel, uncovering original features. Credit: ITV News

A walking trail was created after that, which runs along the disused tracks, but it suffered extensive damage during Storm Desmond in 2015.

The path is now being upgraded at a cost of £8 million pounds to repair two of the old railway bridges that cross the River Greta and around 200 metres of the trail were washed away.

After weeks of hard work, thousands of tonnes of debris has been dug out of the tunnel uncovering original brick work and features that are in a remarkable condition.

It's not known why the tunnel was completely filled in. Tommy Cubby, the Managing Director of Cubby Construction, said: "There was about 3,000 tonne of material in here, which was 150,000 barrel loads.

“They built the whole line in two years, it’s phenomenal to see what was done in such a short time spell. We couldn’t match that now. I take enormous pride in being apart of this project.”

Workers are now lowering the ground by several metres as it will be an accessible route for cyclists, walkers and wheelchair users largely made from tarmac - a move that has caused controversy in the past.

Measures put in place means work has largely carried on throughout coronavirus and staff have thanked locals for their support.

If the good weather holds, the path is on course to open in December and the tunnel will be back in action nearly 150 years after it was built.

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