Experiments were carried out to investigate the combustion propagation phenomenon in a horizontal channel partially filled with ceramic-oxide spherical beads. A 1.22 m long, 43 mm nominally thick layer of spherical beads is located at the ignition end of a 2.44 m long, 76 mm square channel. Tests were performed with 6.4 and 12.7 mm diameter beads. A flame is ignited at the bead end wall by an automotive spark ignition system. Flame propagation and pressure measurements are obtained via ionization probes and piezoelectric pressure transducers mounted on the top and bottom surfaces of the channel. High-speed schlieren video was used to visualize the structure of the explosion front. Experiments were performed with a 31% nitrogen diluted stoichiometric methane–oxygen mixture at room temperature and at an initial pressure in the range of 15–50 kPa. For initial pressures of 15 and 20 kPa the flame accelerates to a velocity close to the speed of sound in the combustion products. For initial pressure of 30 kPa and higher DDT occurs in the gap above the bead layer. An explosion front propagating at a velocity just under the CJ detonation velocity is detected in the bead layer even though the bead layer pore size is much smaller than the detonation cell size. It is demonstrated that flame propagation within the bead layer is the driving force behind the very rapid flame acceleration observed, however the DDT event occurring in the gap above the bead layer is not affected by the bead layer porosity. Schlieren video indicates that the structure of the explosion front varies across the channel height and with propagation distance down the channel.