Subterranean Britain: The Tunnels of the Bradford Beck

(Images: Joe Stenson, reproduced with permission)

In British urbex circles, the Yorkshire city of Bradford is known as the drain capital of the north. The tunnels of the Bradford Beck run underneath the city streets, providing a fearsome challenge for photographers and other urban explorers. Known as ‘Macro’ by those who have visited the vast network, the tunnels are considered a gold mine for those seeking an urban adventure.

(Image: philld, cc-sa-3.0)

When the city of Bradford was founded, there was no substantial body of water nearby. The Beck runs from the Pennine hills and joins with other nearby water sources before running through the tunnels underneath the city. It flows directly underneath the city hall before emerging near to the Valley Parade football ground, north of the city centre.

(Image: philld, cc-sa-3.0)

These stunning pictures show the extent of the network, which is made up of tunnels from many different ages. There are several fairly long open sections with beautiful arched foundations dating back to the 19 th century. The Beck flows through the tunnels for around four miles, through a varied range of architecture and building foundations.

(Images: Joe Stenson, reproduced with permission)

Shown above, urban explorer Joe Stenson used LEDs to create a striking series of light art images in the subterranean passages.

Keep reading – explore 6 Creepy Underground Tunnels, Subways and Sewers, and venture into Glasgow’s Subterranean Botanic Gardens Railway Station.



  • Good place for a swim, eh?

  • Paul Gaskell

    Hi I’m just in the process of writing a river habitat report on the Bradford Beck and I wondered if there is anyone who would be willing to correspond on the underground features of the Beck? My blog is at