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Remembered Today:

Newfoundland Park


Mick D
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Does anyone know if the restrictions are still in place at Newfoundland Park ?

I visited twice last year and found several paths taped off for 'health & safety' reasons.

Wet grass was the risk I believe !

Mick

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A couple of weeks ago, you could get a map in the visitors' centre of where was available. The front line trench was ok, and you could walk as far as the Danger tree, but no further. This meant that you had to walk all the way around the side of the park to get at Y Ravine and the cemetery, and then back again. It was "muddy".

I can understand that there is a fine balance to be drawn between history and conservation, but it does seem that one is beginning to dominate the other.

Bruce

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The decision wasn't made for H&S reasons, it was made because of the increasing numbers of visitors and the deterioration of the lanscape, especially the trench sides and the cratered areas. The current warden of the site is very aware of peoples thoughts about the subject and quite willing to justify her decision which was taken in the best interest of preserving the park.

Mick

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With the strong winds in France last week, the Park was closed. It was re-opened mid-week with access as far as the Danger Tree only.

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I didn't mean unlimited access, the closed path I saw last year was the path running from the Caribou memorial, down the left side of the park, eventually coming to the 51st memorial/ Y ravine.

Is this path still in use ?

Mick

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Mick, as I mentioned above, only the area around the Caribou was open. The rest of the park is closed.

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Thanks for replying Paul, It's a shame that the path I mention is closed, I thought it was only a temporary measure !

Mick

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  • 4 weeks later...

Many of the paths in Newfoundland Park are now open again, but not the one beyond the Danger Tree

Moriaty

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I was there on Saturday 5th April, and the path to the cemetery was taped off :( The photo attached shows how close one can get to the cemetery.

Linda

post-4627-1207852781.jpg

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I assume you can get to the Cemeteries etc via the entrance at the far end of the Park. Otherwise access to them has been cut completely which cannot be right. What reasons are now being given, the earlier foul weather being understandable?

Jim

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Last time I visited was about 12 years ago, but I seem to remember there is a gate in the fenceline near to Y Ravine, also remembering walking into the bottom of the part from the bottom aspect, but don't whether that would still be possible.

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My original post refers to what I thought was a temporary restriction to the footpaths of the park. What I understand now, is that the restriction is permanent, access even to the footpaths drastically reduced.

I understand the need to prevent unrestricted access to the park, but what does limiting access to the footpaths achieve ?

In my opinion ( as a visitor & WW1 enthusiast) I feel that the 'sense' or 'feel' of the place will be reduced.

I am in no way criticising the decision of the warden, but cannot see see the benefits of closing the perimeter path.

Mick

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Hi,

since yesterday (thursday 10th April) the path from the Danger tree is open, it's now possible to go to Y ravine, 51st division memorial, etc...

Enjoy it, until the next closure !

Sly

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Unless there is something really extraordinary happening, you can always get to the cemeteries by following the made up paths/tracks - either from the track running along the south side of the site and in by the gate at the bottom or by walking up from Beaumont (note walking in both cases). Other paths do remain, but if the weather means that they have been cut up - or will be cut up - by overuse, then they are closed. Health and safety is very much an issue, as well as battlefield preservation, I might add. I have been around on at least three occasions in the past when people have taken a tumble, mainly on the grass path from the Danger Tree to Y Ravine. In these litigious days I am not sure what alternatives there might be - mean, someone tried to se the CWGC because a stiletto heel (I ask you!!) sank into the ground in a cemetery and the person fell and 'damaged' herself. No room for common sense anymore, just for a huge list of hazard warnings and unsightly (and often incomprehensible) equivalents in some form of pictogram.

Baah Humbug!! But not really the fault of VAC!!

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Will be there next week, hope all stays open................first timer and want to see it all !! Peter

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What a shame that they have to worry about the wet grass on the way down to Y ravine. Nigel's right, I can see the point there. The decisions are difficult; find some money and create a hardcore path thus spoiling the impression in that area, keep grass but close when slippy or keep open the whole time and risk a high heel incident! I still think you can go around outside the park on the east and get to the gate above Y ravine should the path from the main entrance be closed. Maybe a clearer notice advising people how to do that is required when they close the grass paths.

Jim

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They do try and put up an advisory notice at the entrance, indicating to head along the road towards Hamel and the head down the track (it is diagrammatic as well). The problem with putting down a path is, of course, one of cost and also one of presentation. In recent years the road/track past Y Ravine cemetery to the 51st Memorial and beyond has been made up quite tastefully, as well as a temporary surface from the British trenches to the Danger Tree (not t mention 'duckboarding' the trenches themselves; but this does not come cheap and money has to be found from very limited resources. The intention I think is to make a solid path down to Y Ravine cemetery, but it has to be done so as not to spoil what the site is all about - ie a place of great significance to the Newfoundland Regiment purchased by Newfoundland as a memorial to its fallen and not as a theme park (I am sure you know what I mean!).

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Some years ago, whilst taking a party of pupils from my school around the park, the area from the front line across towards the Danger Tree was wet and muddy. I was chatting with a group of pupils, with others strung out behind. One of those with me said,

"Sir, It's very muddly over there and I think Mrs H (she was promoted to teacher status) might slip and fall."

They seemed quite shocked at my reply,

"Great" Who has got a camera?"

That was a school trip in 1985. I was asked last week if I remembered the occasion by one of the pupils, now in her 30's. Apparently my question spread like wildfire around the school and must have stuck in the memory.

It even got back to Mrs H. I'm not sure i have been forgiven yet!

Bruce

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  • 2 weeks later...

just returned and found access to all the paths unlimited !

Mick D

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What a shame that they have to worry about the wet grass on the way down to Y ravine. Nigel's right, I can see the point there. The decisions are difficult; find some money and create a hardcore path thus spoiling the impression in that area, keep grass but close when slippy or keep open the whole time and risk a high heel incident! I still think you can go around outside the park on the east and get to the gate above Y ravine should the path from the main entrance be closed. Maybe a clearer notice advising people how to do that is required when they close the grass paths.

Jim

I see the problem, yet I believe that those who choose to visit these places should go dressed accordingly, and wear the proper shoes.

You can't pretend to visit trenches and battlefields in high heels! Or, if you choose to do so, you do it at your own risk.

I think the park responsibles shoud place a sign in a very visible place, suggesting that only people with the right kind of shoes are suggested to follows some paths...This would be enough IMHO.

It's not the same thing, but for example the tunnels under Verdun are very cold, and attached to the ticked office there is a sign saying "Temperature inside is costant 6°C"....Then people in T-shirts can choose whether to enter and freeze or come back with heavier clothes.

Elena

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I agree with you Elena but I just put the whole thing to my lawyer daughter and she says the park is between a rock and a hard place. If they suggest 'suitable footware' and someone slips and falls on wet grass, let's say in a pair of standard shoes with a leather sole, the park could be liable for damages. She says that the park did the most sensible thing it could in closing paths. Sad really. As a senior member of staff in a secondary school I have met this new culture and put simply you have to now try and cover everything and everybody, knowing that it is not enough, then pray nothing happens.

Jim

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