Explore the Ypres Salient
From October 1914 to October 1918 the battlefield of the First World War was located a mile or two from the centre of Ypres. The trenches described a curve from north to south around Ypres. No fewer than five bloody battles were fought in that notorious Ypres Salient. More than 150 military cemeteries were built and monuments erected in and around the city in the 1920s, the most important of which is the Menin Gate. The monuments, sites, cemeteries and museums still remind us of the futility of war and the most tragic period in Ypres' history today. The complete story is poignantly narrated in the Ypres In Flanders Field Museum.
Three new entry points along the Ypres Salient are open for the public. There today's landscape is shown as a witness of the past, 100 years ago, in a historical film, three walking routes, a digital application and a cycling route that connects the three points.
The point of entry in the north is the reconstructed farm Klein Zwaanhof. The farm is located amidst the ruins of the Second Battle of Ypres, on 22 April 1915, known as the Gas Attack. The creation and development of the Northern Salient is presented together with a number of portraits of war poets such as Canadian doctor John McCrae and Irishman Francis Ledwidge. The walking route reccies the zone of Pilkem Ridge and runs along the Yorkshire Trench & Dug Out site (reconstructed trenches - Bargiestraat) and the Colne Valley and Caesar's Nose military cemeteries. .
In the east the entry point is located at Hooge Crater Museum along the Menin Road opposite Hooge Crater Cemetery. This entry point illustrates the creation of the front in the centre of the Salient near Bellewaerde Ridge. Besides the historical film the emphasis here is on the beautiful Castle parks that studded the landscape around Ypres before the destructive war. The walking route here passes - among other things - the monument to the Liverpool Scottish and Maple Copse military cemetery.
The south has two remarkable sites at the entry point. The entry point itself is located in the provincial domain De Palingbeek at the historical site The Bluff. There you can start your explorations on a recently installed walking path/platform through the former No man's land, along various craters. The historical film shows how the underground war built up in the southern Ypres Salient where numerous mines exploded. Along the extensive walking circuit, you will reach the second site, Hill 60. You will have stunning panoramic views of the centre of Ypres there and reach the large Caterpillar Crater.
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