A popular Buckinghamshire playground had to be closed down when an unforeseen, pit hole appeared in the middle of the field. The shut down occurred before an unpleasant tragedy could take place thanks to a stunned dog-walker who stood shocked on coming across the enormous cavity.
While walking a dog, Lesley James was stopped in her tracks at Sappers Field when she happened to come across a gigantic hole on Saturday. Lesley, initially thought it was a rabbit hole but was petrified on realising that she was standing beside what appeared to her like a cavern in depth in the field.
Lesley explained: "It was only when I went right up to it that I saw how much the ground has given way. It was a bit scary, because I didn't know if there was anything underneath where I was standing. I could see that the ground was stable on the other side, because I could see a ridge supporting it - but I thought, 'Oh god, what if I'm standing on nothing?'" Lesley also added: "Luckily me and the dog were the only ones in the field at the time. "I put a wooden pallet over the top of the hole to warn other people, until the experts came along."
The sinkhole that appeared out of the blue, is around 40 feet deep and positioned in the middle of the popular Sappers Field, Woodburn Green. On being informed, personnel from Woodburn and Bourne End Parish Council immediately arrived to inspect the hole and shut down the entire playing field.
The council has planned installation of security fences around the hole until a solution is sought out. Even though, the dog walker initially convicted UK's stormy weather and rainfall being the reason behind the formation of the pithole, she was totally unaware of the history of the site.
The six-acre Sappers Field initially held numerous old wells which now stands as a creation of a group of Royal Engineers. The old pits were filled in by army engineers in an attempt to create a site for recreation, totally unaware of the tragedy that could follow in the years ahead - a gigantic pit.
Parish councillor Malcolm Silver said it will take a 'long, long time' to fix the hole - and that it is continuing to grow in depth. "The site was originally a brickworks, and after the war it was filled in by sappers - soldiers who did not have jobs," he explained. "However, there is running water underneath it, and we think that over time that water has washed away all the stuff used to fill in the site. "There is now a big cavern under the field - which is today used as a park, with a football field and playground. "We think it is now bigger than 40 foot deep. We threw something down it to see how long it would take to hit the bottom, and it took three seconds - so it is definitely growing. "It's probably a combination of the recent wet weather and the fact there were three old wells on the site that has led to the sinkhole."
While regular visitors are relieved, Lesley considers herself, her dog and the public lucky on escaping the tragedy that could have taken place.