Tar Tunnel


Useful Information

Location: Ironbridge
Open: All year daily 10-17.
Fee: Tar Tunnel only: Adults GBP 1, Child GBP 0.50, Seniors (60+) GBP 0.80
Ironbridge Passport: (all sights of Ironbridge) Adults GBP 9.50, Child GBP 5.50, Seniors (60+) GBP 8.50, Family (2 adults, max 5 children) GBP 29
Classification: MineOil Mine
Light: electric.
Guided tours: self guided tours.
Bibliography: I.J. Brown, B. Trinder (1972): The Coalport Tar Tunnel, Ironbridge: Ironbridge Museum and Shropshire Mining Club, 1972.
I.J. Brown, B. Trinder (1973): The Tar Tunnel, Ironbridge: Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust, 1973.
I.J. Brown (1977): The Tar Tunnel as a Public Show Mine, Journal of the Shropshire Mining Club, (1977), pp.1-3.
Address: Tar Tunnel, The Ironbridge Gorge Museum, Ironbridge, Telford, Shropshire. TF8 7AW, Tel: +44-1952-884391. Tel: +44-1952-433522 (weekdays) or +44-1952-432166 (seven days a week), Fax: +44-1952-432204. E-mail: contact
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


OCT-1786 miners began to drive a tunnel into the side of the Severn Gorge under the direction of the ironmaster William Reynolds.



The Tar Tunnel lies on the north bank of the River Severn at Coalport, some kilometers east from Ironbridge. It was probably driven with the intention of assisting in the transportation of coal from the Blists Hill Pits. The nearby canal system was used to transport the coal and it is really impressing, what enormous elevators were necessary to transport the coal from the hilltop down to the canal. It would have been much easier to bring the coal to the lower exit of the mine with a direct connection to the canal.

But the drivage crossed a layer of natural bitumen and the "tar" in this layer flew into the tunnel as if they had hit a spring. So they realized that this tar was valuable as itself. After some years of an impressive flow of tar, the spring run dry. The tar was still pumped for many years with declining flow rate until the tunnel was closed in 18??.