Stunning beauty spot with dark secret that's been seen on Coronation Street

Underwater at Eccleston Delph
-Credit: (Image: Eccleston Delph)

Tucked away in the countryside less than an hour's drive from Liverpool is an attraction which harbours a dark secret.

Over 20 metres beneath the surface of Eccleston Delph, Chorley lies a children's playground, armoured personnel carriers and an aeroplane. With several cars and a speedboat that once belonged to comedians Dudley Moore and Peter Cook, the abandoned quarry is a haven for divers to explore.

It has even served as the backdrop for several dramatic TV scenes for shows including Hollyoaks and Coronation Street. In scenes filmed in 2014, Hollyoaks' shady detective Sonny Valentine - portrayed by Aaron Fontaine - was tied up in the boot of a car.

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As the show's McQueen family looked away, the car could be seen rolling into the quarry.

But Eccleston Delph has had its own real-life crime drama unfolding beneath the surface. Back in 1979, the tranquil spot on Halfpenny Lane was buzzing with activity when the body of a handless corpse was discovered floating near an underwater platform, reports Lancs Live.

As divers Jeff Ashcroft and Ian Reading approached the water's edge, they made the grim discovery that would connect the secluded location to an international crime ring.

The state of the body and the nature of the injuries led police to conclude this was no 'ordinary' murder - and this was not a local man, sparking an international murder investigation into the gangland execution.

These days, Eccleston Delph is a peaceful haven for wildlife and outdoor swimmers. The on-site dive shop offers a range of equipment for divers and swimmers, with facilities available for equipment hire and maintenance.

Underwater at Eccleston Delph
Underwater at Eccleston Delph

Marked by buoys on the surface, Eccleston Delph is a popular spot for swimmers training for triathlon or endurance events. However, it's also a great place for those who prefer a leisurely breaststroke surrounded by nature.

On Tuesday evenings, the air buzzes with the sound of engines and the scent of exhaust fumes as bikers gather from all around.

The café, open seven days a week, serves a selection of homemade food and cakes. Families can also buy fish food for £1 a bag, allowing younger visitors to enjoy the beauty of the Delph from the water's edge.

Divers and swimmers must register, with memberships costing £15 for the first two years. Subsequent two-year memberships are £10.

Swimmers are required to wear a full-length wetsuit and tow float, and must swim in pairs or more. Diving sessions cost £15 per day, while swimming costs £6 a day.

Eccleston Delph is open from 10am to 9pm on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, 10am to 4:30pm on Thursday and Friday, and 9am to 4:30pm on Saturday and Sunday. Please note that winter opening times may vary.

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