Urban explorers stumble upon drug farm in hidden labyrinth under UK city streets

Urban explorers aren’t always venturing into abandoned mental hospitals or shopping malls. Sometimes they find themselves in much stranger places.

Daredevils Matthew Williams and Martin Gavin were picking their way through a buried network of Victorian alleyways when they discovered a hidden cannabis farm.

The veteran 'urbexers' both have YouTube channels where they upload footage of their claustrophobic adventures. Matthew's is called TheSecretVault, while Martin's is Explore With Gav.

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Matthew shared his video of the expedition with BristolLive but would not divulge where they snuck underground. Potential clues to the location are censored throughout the 20-minute recording – but close analysis of the footage reveals it to be under the Lawrence Hill area of Bristol.

"I've been looking for this place for literally about 20 years," Matthew says in the video as the pair descend through a manhole into an underground vaulted chamber.

They pick their way along a narrow alley with windows and vaulted chambers on each side, clambering over piles of broken wood, metal and plastic.

"This is it, an underground street in Bristol," he says.

"Everyone wants to know where this is. Ever since I've come to Bristol I've heard rumours about this and here we are."

Eventually they come to a modern-looking gate which has been forced off its hinges, with discarded cannabis growing equipment behind it.

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Clambering over, they enter an Anderson shelter-looking room with a roof of corrugated metal. In the back they find an abandoned grow room, still smelling of cannabis, with reflecting metal lampshades hanging from the ceiling.

Next door is an underground workshop with woodworking machines and a small kitchen and bathroom. Leaving this area they find a small hatch covered by plasterboard, close to where they first entered the tunnels.

Poking a hole through they find an active grow room with what looks like dozens of cannabis plants propagating under bright lamps.

"Let's get out of town quick," says Matthew, before the pair make their way back through the manhole cover to the surface.

The secret tunnels were the subject of a BBC news item several days earlier, he explains.

The urban explorer says in the beginning of his video that "some people" went back the following week and "all evidence… was taken away".

He adds that he left a few months between the date of the trip and posting the footage, so that "whoever's there has got rid of whatever they want to get rid of".


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