An Interview With Steve Higgins On His Book 'Hidden, Forbidden & Off-Limits'
In his new book, 'Hidden, Forbidden & Off-Limits', Steve Higgins takes readers on a journey through the secret bunkers and underground places of the UK. From the conspiracy theories of his youth to his two-decade long exploration of these forgotten places, Steve shares his personal adventures and the history behind these mysterious locations.
In this interview, Steve talks about his inspiration for the book, the research and exploration process, and the surprising discoveries he made along the way, including the existence of Burlington Bunker, a nuclear hideout that would have been the alternative seat of government in the event of a nuclear war.
Join us as we delve into the underground world of 'Hidden, Forbidden & Off-Limits' and learn about the secrets that lie beneath the British countryside.
Can you tell me more about what inspired you to write it?
Well, I first got into bunkers in the 90s when there were lots of conspiracy theories about UFOs being researched and even stored in secret bunkers in Wiltshire. As I grew up I realised that the stories were wildly exaggerated, but it turns out the tales of the tunnels weren't. So me and some friends would basically spend every day off exploring the tunnels beneath Corsham and the surrounding area.
That's quite an interesting backstory. How did you go about researching and exploring these underground places for your book and did you face any challenges?
Well, the research sort of happened naturally over the two decades I was exploring these places. Although they were formerly top secret, I was able to find out quite a bit of information through the Freedom of Information Act. It was really a case of working out the right questions to ask, and I got back everything from VHS tapes and photos of the tunnels, to maps and pages of information. The biggest challenge was getting permission to visit these Ministry of Defence owned bunkers.
That's quite an impressive accomplishment. Were there any particularly interesting or surprising discoveries you made while researching and exploring for your book?
The biggest revelation was the existence of Burlington Bunker, a nuclear hideout that would have been the alternative seat of government in the event of a nuclear war. It was huge, big enough to house 4,000 officials safely under the Wiltshire countryside.
Can you tell me about the structure of your book and what kind of information it contains?
The book follows my journey from my first underground trip to the rare opportunity to get to look around Burlington, something very few civilians have been given the opportunity to do. The book obviously does include a lot of the history of these places, but it's not just a boring history textbook. It's about my own adventures in these forgotten places, the situations I encountered and heard about, and the people I met along the way.
Are there any underground places that are not featured in the book that you would like to explore in the future?
Yes, in fact there's a chapter in the book the details my "bunker bucket list" and includes some fascinating secret and formerly classified underground hideouts around the world that I'd love to one day visit. The list includes the Cheyenne Mountain Complex in Colorado, France's Maginot Line and the catacombs under Paris, and the impressively preserved Diefenbunker in Canada. There are also a few locations in the UK that are still designated top secret that I'd love to get inside of some day.
Do you have any advice for people who are interested in exploring underground places themselves?
It's not really the intention of the book to encourage people to explore these places themselves. In fact, I would actively advise against this pursuit as many can be quite dangerous places. But if you're going to venture into a subterranean space, then the key thing is to never go alone and always tell someone where you're going. I'd recommend wearing suitable clothing including sturdy footwear. It's also really important that every member of your party has a good torch with fresh batteries and a back up. Where possible, take maps and plans of the underground space and if you can, ask someone with some experience of the underground place to visit with you.
If this all sounds a bit much for you, then the book also contains a list of 10 great underground attractions across the country that you can visit today.
That's some good advice. It's important for people to understand the potential dangers and precautions to take when exploring underground places.
How can readers get their hands on a copy of your book?
The book is available now from Amazon in paperback, hard cover and for Kindle. There's also an audio book coming next month.
Great, thank you for sharing that information. I'm sure many readers will be interested in purchasing your book and reading about your underground adventures.
'Hidden, Forbidden & Off-Limits' sounds like a very interesting and unique book. It's not just about the history of these underground places, but also about Steve's personal experiences and adventures.
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