Tuesday 26 September - Catch afternoon ferry at Hull (6.30pm)
Wednesday 27 September - Arrive Zeebrugge 8.45am - head to the Somme, arrive early afternoon. Spend afternoon on Somme battlefield, probably visiting Bouzincourt Ridge (which has superb views of the northern part of the battlefield) and Thiepval.
Thursday 28 September
Walk 1 – Touvent Farm to Beaumont Hamel - July 1916 - This walk begins at Touvent Farm, the scene of bitter fighting when the French held this sector. It is also the same location that Roland Leighton, fiancée of Vera Brittain was killed in December 1915 after the British had taken over the line. From here we walk through Serre Memorial Park, looking at the story of the famous ‘Pals’ units and their involvement on the day. We cross no-man’s-land and ascend the Redan Ridge, visiting numerous secluded Battlefield Cemeteries before dropping down the infamous Sunken Lane to end our walk.
Distance 4/5KM – on tracks through woodland, over slightly rising ground.
Walk 2 - Trones Wood – July 1916 - Here we study how ‘Shooting from the hip' the 18th Eastern Division tour up the manual and captured the previously impregnable Trones Wood in the nick of time for the Dawn Attack to proceed. Starting at Maltz Horn Farm we circum-navigate the wood and here of Neil Chavasse’s work, discuss Sgt Boulter's Victoria Cross action before ending at the site of Camp 24, made famous by Sidney Roberson’s magnificent memoir “Twelve Days” & Bernafay Wood Cemetery.
Distance 4/5KM – on tracks through woodland, over mainly flat ground
Friday 29 September
Walk 3 - Peake Wood to Pozieres – August 1916 - starting on the outskirts of Contalmaison passing private memorials, through the village and onto the sunken lane, used by so many Canadians in the September of 1916. After passing the remote cemeteries that mark the old approach route we emerge into Pozieres and study the Australian battle over this ground in the late summer of 1916. We then visit the Tank Corps Memorial to study their introduction and impact on the battle before ending on the site of Pozieres Windmill and its impressive views to the north and east of the battlefield.
Distance 4/5KM - on roads, tracks and through some woodland, over mainly flat ground
Walk 4 – High Wood – September 1916 - Starting in the cemetery at Bazentin, we visit memorials to the 82 Field Coy Royal Engineers and Captain Wallace of the Worcester’s before walking the sunken lane that leads to the northern edge of High Wood, we walk around the wood visiting its numerous memorials and take in the views and actions at Martinpuich, the Butte de Warlencourt before ending in the Shadow of High Wood on the Starfish Line.
Distance 4/5KM – along tracks and around woodland, over mainly flat ground
Saturday 30 September
Walk 5 – Ligny to Lesboufs – October 1916 - starting at the memorial to Lanoe Hawker VC we walk to Gueudecourt to study I Anzac Corps actions in the village in October of 1916. We end by walking to Lesboeufs and the Guards Cemetery on the outskirt of the village.
Distance 4/5KM – along roads across open ground, following field tracks and slightly rising ground
Walk 6 - Regina Trench to Boom Ravine – February 1917 - The afternoon shifts focus to the efforts of the Canadian Corps and the struggle for Courcellete and Regina Trench, starting at Courcelette British Cemetery we walk through the village and rise to the site of Regina Trench, a major German supply system for Thiepval that by September had switched to become an imposing barrier to the Canadian Corps. We walk across this shell torn land to the seldom visited Regina Trench Cemetery, often inaccessible to vehicles except in the driest of weather it contains over 2000 burials. We end the walk by traversing and discovering the story of Boom Ravine, a last operational effort on the Somme before the German withdrawal to the Hindenburg Line. This impressive geographical feature was the scene for a bloody attack by the 18th Eastern Division in February 1917 as the Royal Naval Division advanced on Miramount, we end in Ancre Valley close to the entrance to the village.
Distance - 4/5KM - on roads, tracks and through some woodland, over mainly flat ground.
Sunday 1 October - Head back to Zeebrugge - (with visit(s) en route - these to be decided/confirmed) in order to catch the evening ferry to Hull (7.00pm).
Monday 2 October - Arrive Hull 9.00am