March 1, 1940

On this day in south west Hertfordshire

On this day in south west Hertfordshire

First published in News Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author by , Nostalgia Editor

The people of Tring and district have been greatly interested in a remarkable subsidence of earth in the wood adjoining the Kiln Cottages on the right hand side of the Hastoe-Cholesbury road, going from Tring.

The space, formerly occupied by three larch trees, each almost 60 feet in height, now discloses a circular hole several yards in diameter, into the depths of which the three trees have gradually disappeared.

Only the most daring visitors to the spot may now, at the risk of their lives, be rewarded by a glimpse of the topmost branches of one of the trees about 30 feet below and this only by standing on the precarious rim of the cavity. It is estimated that the total depth of the pit must be approaching 100 feet.

Searching for a clue to the mystery, older inhabitants have recalled that in the 1890s, a lime or chalk pit was being worked in this neighbourhood and the presence of a kiln of some kind is also suggested by the name given to the cottages and farm.

It is suggested that when the chalk pit or kiln was abandoned it may have been filled in or timbered over and that an underground stream, of which there are said to be many in the neighbourhood, has gradually undermined the subsoil.

Some visitors have tested this latter theory by tossing stones into the pit and claim to have heard the faint splash of water.

It would certainly seem that only the presence of a very large cavity in the subsoil or of a subterranean stream, could account for the disappearance of so many tons of earth and three such tall trees.

[From the Watford Observer of March 1, 1940]

For more stories from the Watford Observer's archive, go to our Nostalgia section by clicking HERE

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