AS YOU TRAVEL north from Beaminster towards Mosterton and Crewkerne the road takes you through Beaminster tunnel formerly known as Horn Hill tunnel. This civil engineering project was completed in 1832 taking less than three years from the application for the necessary Act of Parliament. That the construction went so quickly was due in a large part to the efforts of one man – Giles Russell. Russell was a respected Beaminster attorney who was involved in the Bridport 2nd District Turnpike Trust which controlled the road from Bridport through Beaminster to Misterton where it joined the road from Dorchester to Crewkerne. He was determined to increase the traffic on the Bridport to Crewkerne route for the benefit of local trade.
The tunnel opened with great celebrations but within a few years the spread of the railways had started to undermine its commercial importance. In 1881 the Bridport 2nd District Turnpike Trust was wound up as the turnpike era came to an end, but it has left us with a fine tunnel still in continuous use today.
Photo: Jonathan Hudston – www.realwestdorset.co.uk
See article on the Workers memorial pictured above at www.bridportradio.co.uk/bridport-news/2003-workers-memorial