Dungeons and dragons are not just the thing of fairytales in Tottington after a mysterious landmark was opened once again.

Tottington Dungeon, in Harwood Road, is now accessible to the public on request, after years representing no more than a passing curiosity.

The history of the building is unclear, but it is thought that the dungeon was used to house drunkards from the area who were causing trouble.

There are also stories that the constable would open the doors of the dungeon to let the prisoners escape so he did not have to take them to court. The keys to the landmark were held in the adjacent Old Dungeon Inn, but were lost after several changes of landlords.

But now Tottington District Civic Society has managed to track them down and open it to the public. Andrew Eccles, landlord of the nearby Old Dungeon Inn on Turton Road, said: “Hopefully it will bring people to the village.

“There are very few public dungeons in this country and I think even a lot of people in the area don’t know what it is, so it could become a real tourist attraction.”

The unusual landmark was built during the time of the Industrial Revolution and was opened in 1835.

It is a small triangular shaped room with a small steel door which could hold about six people, and was attached to the old police station and an old pub.

Mystery still surrounds the dungeon: it is not known who built it, who the carved faces on the brick wall represent and who carved them.

Ronald Schwarz, chairman of the civic society, said: “This is a key monument in Tottington and it is now available for anybody to come and have a look.”

Anyone who is interested in viewing the landmark should call Ronald Schwarz on tel 01204 884842.