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First visit to the Somme -planning ideas


mattcw

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Hello everyone

I am currently planning my first visit to the Somme/Arras, I have been to the Ypres area several times but have always followed the main tourist routes, now that I have a tiny bit more knowledge of the battlefields and some family history sites to visit I want to focus on a couple of sites in particular and visit maybe one or 2 of the more well known sites.

For my Somme visit I am thinking of 3 nights in Arras - day 1 head out to Gommecourt (main focus of visit as my Gt Grandfather was there) return to Arras and head out to Fampoux (another relative killed here) and then visit to Arras memorial later in the afternoon.

day 2 - visit Beaumont Hamel/Sunken Lane area and Thiepval.

Day 3 Arras in the morning perhaps do the tunnels then head for the ferry

Does that sound feasible - I am not too sure how long to spend at each place to get the most out of it.

Also this will be my first trip where I am planning to actually walk the fields a bit so would be interested in what others take with them - I am keen to get a perspective of where everyone was at Gommecourt /beaumont hamel which is easy with google earth and trench map overlays but do people take reproduction trench maps with them and if so where can I get them. I am just reading BMacs " A lack of Offensive Spirit" so that will be going in the luggage without doubt.

Cheers

Matt

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First, essential, question: what form of transport are you using? Advice can follow from that, as mode of transport determines all other possibilities, given time constraints and key objectives.

Second, when? This is important because of field conditions, amongst others - eg if the fields can be walked on or not, depending on harvesting.

Once clarified, advice can be offered. If you have a car, for example, have an early start and visit Fampoux and then the ferry on day 3, saving time on the backwards and forwards to Gommecourt on Day 1. If staying in Arras, why not visit the Memorial right at the start of the day or at the end of the day?

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Matt,

I think what you are planning is do-able (is that a word ?), what I normally do is split the day in half or thirds and spend 2-3 hours at each place, including time for a walk at the site I'm visiting.

Obviously the summer gives a massive amount of daylight if you don't mind being tired/lots of driving. I've visited places at 0430hrs on route from Calais to either Ypres or The Somme, and similarly finished walking at 2130hrs, so I can visit all the places I planned.

Mick

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Second, when? This is important because of field conditions, amongst others - eg if the fields can be walked on or not, depending on harvesting.

What's the protocol for tramping (N.Z. sense of the word, bushwalking doesn't seem right) over fields?

First time for us will be September.

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Matt

If you type Somme Visit into the search box there are a fair few threads with answers as well as this thread.

Michelle

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Taking trench maps with you & using google earth is good & relatively close but...... If you have the budget get yourself Linesman; especially of you intend to return.

Andy

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Thanks both

I haven't quite got the budget for linesman but have found a source on ebay to get some of the trench maps I want.

Michelle you were quite right - plenty of relevant posts on that search, maybe I was being a bit lazy :unsure:

Matt

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Also this will be my first trip where I am planning to actually walk the fields a bit so would be interested in what others take with them - I am keen to get a perspective of where everyone was at Gommecourt /beaumont hamel which is easy with google earth and trench map overlays but do people take reproduction trench maps with them

Hi Matt. When on a walking trip I have in the rucksack:

Guidebook or other covering the battle area I'm walking. Printed Google Earth page marked with the route. Packed lunch with ample water/juice. Camera with spare batteries. Any list of photos or such that I need to take specifically. Small compass because I like to know what way I'm pointing the camera. A watch. Bus timetable & routemap because I never have a car.

Sometimes I'll also take printed Trenchmaps or ones that I've overlayed on Google. Nothing fancy just on normal paper. Though having one of those plastic sleeves is handy.

Season dependant. Light waterproof coat & trousers. They fold up very easily and take up no room. Sun cream and a hat. As you are going in August I'd advise you to definitely pack these.

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Thanks Ulsterlad

excellent info - I have ordered one of the trench maps I am interested in and have been tinkering with overlays on google earth so will print some off and get some plastic wallets. Also good idea to take a list of photos wanted.

I've booked my ferry and hotel so roll on august !!!!!

Matt

Hi Matt. When on a walking trip I have in the rucksack:

Guidebook or other covering the battle area I'm walking. Printed Google Earth page marked with the route. Packed lunch with ample water/juice. Camera with spare batteries. Any list of photos or such that I need to take specifically. Small compass because I like to know what way I'm pointing the camera. A watch. Bus timetable & routemap because I never have a car.

Sometimes I'll also take printed Trenchmaps or ones that I've overlayed on Google. Nothing fancy just on normal paper. Though having one of those plastic sleeves is handy.

Season dependant. Light waterproof coat & trousers. They fold up very easily and take up no room. Sun cream and a hat. As you are going in August I'd advise you to definitely pack these.

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