Walking Tour of The Somme

We went on an fascinating walking tour of the Somme in Northern France last week. The tour was organised by Battle Honours Europe.  Our guide, Clive Harris was exceptionally good and made the trip really interesting and memorable.

The tour was over 4 nights and we stayed in a lovely boutique hotel in Cambrai called Hotel Beatus
 Here’s our itinerary:

Day 1

Pick up at Ebbsfleet International or Dover and onwards to our tour Hotel in Cambrai, a visit to Vimy Ridge is made on route.

Day 2

Walk 1 – Serre French Cemetery to Beaumont Hamel – Starting at the French National Cemetery we learn how the Somme front was shaped in the autumn of 1914 & spring of 1915. We then venture along forgotten tracks as we chart the extremities of the Somme battle in November 1917, passing Waggon Road & Ten Tree Alley Cemetery we also visit Munich & Frankfurt Trench before arriving on the outskirts of Beaumont Hamel.  

Walk 2 – Sucerie to the Sunken Lane – From the Sucerie cemetery we walk towards Serre visiting Serre No2 Cemetery before striding over the Redan Ridge to pause at the isolated small cemeteries that tell the story of the 1st July “old front line” of the 4th Division before entering the Sunken Lane held by the 29th Division and ending the day in Beaumont Hamel   

Day 3

Walk 3 – Lonsdale Cemetery to Mouquet Farm – Starting at Lonsdale Cemetery we look at the 32nd Divisional attack on Theipval before following the line of Nab Valley

along the wood line before emerging up onto the road to Pozieres and the Mouquet Farm Memorial. Here we study the Australian assaults from the vilage on the farm alongside its eventual capture by the 11th Northern Division in late September 1916  

Walk 4 – Contalmaison to Bazentin – This walk starting at Contalmaison Chateau Cemetery starts with the capture of the village in July 1918 and visits the McCrae Battalion memorials before taking the old supply track to Pozieres & Courcelette passing two isolated cemeteries before we study both the “Dawn Attack” of July 14th and the capture of Pozieres in the August of 1916. We then walk into Bazentin ending with the tale of the “Nine Brave Men” of the Royal Engineers and the Wallace Memorial overlooking High Wood.    

Day 4

Walk 5 – Carnoy to Carnoy – Starting at Carnoy CWGC we look at the role of the Field Ambulance on the 1st july 1918, we continue through the 18th Eastern Division rear areas along Tallus Bois to the startline of the 8th East Surrey Regiment, we then cross into the sector attacked by the 30th Division, captors of Montauban before ending in the French sector at Maricourt Wood to consider Anglo/French co-operation in July 1916    

Walk 6 – Happy Valley – August 1918 – An area that has been a fascination of Clive’s for many years, we follow the 47th London Division attack in August 1918 that proved that the BEF were not pushing against an open door in August 1918 as is often suggested. Starting at Grove Town CWGC we walk to Bray Vale, along the heights of Happy Valley to hear the problems with resupply of men and materials that were encountered before crossing to the German gun line and ending at Bray Hill CWGC.  

Day 5

Home via Calais to Dover with a visit to the Louverval Memorial & Rancourt French Cemetery on route.

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