Open grassland that wraps around Harrogate has been harbouring a secret for many years that has been revealed after the builders moved in.
Beneath the Stray are forgotten vast underground caverns that were once used to store up to 20,000 gallons of mineral water for the town’s world famous spas which have been concealed from prying eyes for many years.
But now in an effort to ensure the giant chambers do not collapse work is underway to fill them in. A statement from The Duchy of Lancaster said: “The disused reservoir beneath the Stray has been stable over the last few years, however as with all structures, it is degrading over time. As part of its commitment to Harrogate, the Duchy has used its own private money to fill the reservoir and thereby safeguard the Stray’s continued use.”
Work has already begun on the project which has already seen the caverns excavated and yesterday lorries could be seen bringing material to the site to fill in the caverns on Harrogate’s Stray near Christ Church.
The Duchy said yesterday it expected the work to last a few weeks. Harrogate attracted people from far and wide who were keen to take the restorative waters to ease their aches and pains and other ailments.
The work currently being undertaken clearly reveal the vast chambers which were first built under the Stray in 1901. But for years they have lain abandoned and forgotten underground.
The exact location of the underground caverns was kept a secret as the authorities wanted to stop people getting in. The Duchy said: “For many years, the Duchy of Lancaster has provided the Stray as a public open space for the benefit of the people of Harrogate. Although maintained on a day-to-day basis by the council, as the landowner, the Duchy wishes to ensure the safety of people who use the land.”