The trails

Each Western Front trail is based around a nearby town. From Ieper, Arras or Salisbury, you can begin your journey - choosing an itinerary that suits.
Near leper, Belgium

The New Zealand Division were in the Ypres Salient, preparing for the attack on Passchendaele. In Behind the Lines, you'll hear the overview of the New Zealand effort, how the hospitals and transport systems worked, and see evidence of their sacrifice in the many cemeteries.

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Getting there

Location Collection:
Location Name: 
Behind the lines
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Learn about the preparations for the New Zealand and British assault and see the landscape over which the soldiers advanced. Find out where the Germans were positioned, and why this became New Zealand's highest one-day death toll.

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Getting there

Location Collection:
Location Name: 
Passchendaele
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Hear how the New Zealand Division wintered and trained here after their defeat at Passchendaele, living in dugouts and underground complexes. You'll find out about British and German mining and countermining operations, the attack at Polderhoek Chateau, and visit the famous Hooge Crater.

Entry to the Hooge Crater grounds is by donation.

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Getting here

Location Collection:
Location Name: 
Polygon Wood
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See the remnants of German bunkers where much fighting took place, and hear about the huge mine explosions that rocked the area, destroying many German positions and signalling the start of the major attack by the British and New Zealanders.

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Getting here

Location Collection:
Location Name: 
Messines
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This is where the New Zealand Division lived and trained over 1916/17, learning warfare on the Western Front. You'll hear about the soldiers' lives, their battles with the nearby Germans, billeting near the town of Armentières, their interaction with locals, and the cost of the fighting, shown at the nearby cemeteries of Mud Corner and Cité Bonjean.

Remnants of trenches and bunkers are still visible in Plugstreet Wood and can be easily visited with a short walk.

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Getting here

Location Collection:
Location Name: 
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Near Arras, France

Hear about the New Zealand Tunnelling Company and the miners who worked underground, expanding the tunnels and caverns to later house thousands of Allied soldiers. Visit the memorial and the 17th century fortress walls, hear about the war in the skies, and see the cost of the fighting at the Faubourg d'Amiens Cemetery.

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Getting here

Location Collection:
Location Name: 
Arras
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The Somme is where the New Zealand Division saw its first major action. Stand near where the New Zealanders launched their attack, supported by tanks. Visit the outskirts of Flers where the battle continued, and the Warlencourt Cemetery where many of those who fought are buried.

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Getting here

Location Collection:
Location Name: 
Somme 1916
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Returning to the Somme in 1918, the New Zealand Division was needed to hold the line against the Spring Offensive. Learn about the battles to hold off the advancing Germans, and travel to where the New Zealanders pushed forward, fighting the Germans back, through Rossignol Wood and beyond.

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Getting here

Location Collection:
Location Name: 
Somme 1918
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In their last major action of the war, follow where the New Zealanders advanced, through Havrincourt and Crèvecœur fighting the Germans as they went, eventually taking the town of Le Quesnoy in a daring attack. End this trail in the town of Le Quesnoy, which remembers New Zealand, and those who fought, to this day.

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Getting here

Location Collection:
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Near Salisbury, England

Beginning at St Nicholas Church, and moving to the former site of the No. 1 New Zealand Hospital, hear about how Brockenhurst became an enormous medical complex run by New Zealanders, and how recruits were trained at Sling Camp in Bulford, before departing for the Western Front.

Walking & driving - 4 - 8 hours

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Getting here

Location Collection:
Location Name: 
Brockenhurst
Lat: 
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Itineraries

Use the suggested itineraries depending on how much time you have.

Belgium Highlights

Take all five of the Belgian trail overviews finishing at Ieper for the Last Post 8pm at the Menin Gate. Allow for one full day.

1. Passchendaele - Start Line 
The New Zealanders made it to here in a successful attack, this became their startline for the attack on Passchendaele.

2. Polygon Wood - Buttes New British Cemetery
After the defeat at Passchendaele, this area became part of the New Zealand sector.

3. Messines - New Zealand Memorial
The attack on Messines took months of Allied planning and preparation. On the 7 June the New Zealanders were ready to attack.

4. Plugstreet - Hyde Park Corner 
In 1917, the New Zealanders lived in deep dugouts here, preparing for the attack on Messines Ridge.

5. Behind the lines - Nine Elms 
Stand along the route where all the supplies and soldiers flooded into the besieged town of Ypres.

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2. Polygon Wood Trail
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3. Messines Trail
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4. Plugstreet Trail
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5. Behind the Lines trail
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France Highlights

Take all four of the French trail overviews. Allow for one full day. Lunch is recommended at Gueudecourt near Longueval and a visit to Thiepval along the way.

1. Arras - La Carrière Wellington
This is where the New Zealanders dug and expanded medieval quarries under Arras.

2. Somme 1916 - New Zealand Memorial at Longueval
The New Zealanders and the British attacked alongside tanks here for the first time in history.

3. Somme 1918 -  Grévillers 
The memorial here remembers those who died in the Battle of Bapaume when the New Zealand Division was brought back to the Somme in 1918.

4. Le Quesnoy - New Zealand Memorial at Le Quesnoy.
The Germans were almost surrounded and it became a race to see who could take the town.

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2. Somme 1916 Trail
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4. Road to Le Quesnoy Trail
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Calais to Ieper

If you are arriving in Calais by car, you can use this alternative route to Ieper. Note that this journey only features one audio story. Allow for one full day.

1. Drive from Calais to Wimille and visit the Terlincthun British Cemetery where 31 New Zealanders are buried.

2. From Wimille, drive to Étaples and visit the Étaples Military Cemetery where 261 New Zealanders are buried. Étaples was the site of a large British base during the First World War, including hospitals, training, and reinforcement campls.

3. From Étaples, drive to Montreuil-sur-Mer, Haig’s former General Headquarters and the see the Haig monument. This pleasant town is a perfect stop for lunch and if you have time you can visit the ramparts and two local museums. 

4. From Montreuil-sur-Mer, drive to Hazebrouck which was the location of the New Zealand Stationary Hospital, and visit Hazebrouck Communal Cemetery, where 30 New Zealand soldiers are buried. 

5. From Hazebrouck, drive to Bailleul and listen to the audio story ‘Bailleul Communal Cemetery’ in the Behind the Lines trail.

Hidden Data

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5. Bailleul
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Passchendaele & Messines

Using this itinerary is the best way to take in both the Passchendaele and Messines trails. Allow for one full day.


1. Morning
Take the complete Passchendaele trail, visiting the battlefields and key sites, stopping at In Flanders Field Museum by late morning.

2. Midday 
Stop for lunch in Zonnebeke.

3. Afternoon
Take the complete Messines trail, have dinner in Ieper, and attend the Last Post at the Menin Gate at 8pm.

Hidden Data

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2. Zonnebeke
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3. Messines Trail
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Places of interest

There are many worthwhile places to visit in the United Kingdom, France and Belgium before or after you complete a trail.
Museums

Museums

Musée de la Grande Guerre Meaux

The Museum of the Great War offers a unique and modern perspective on the war. It features tank and aircraft displays, plus games for kids. Look out for the Ngā Tapuwae diorama showing a rugby match between French and New Zealand army teams that took place in Paris in February 1918.

Address: 59530 Rue Lazare Ponticelli, 77100 Meaux, France

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Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917

Focusing on the Ypres Salient, this museum is a great introduction to Passchendaele.

Address: Berten Pilstraat 5a, 8980 Zonnebeke, Belgium

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La Carrière Wellington

The Wellington Quarry is an underground museum showing a section of the British Tunnels at Arras. The museum also features the Ngā Tapuwae display showing life for New Zealanders underground.

Address: Rue Arthur Deletoille, 62000 Arras, France

Website

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Musée de Cambrai

The Cambrai Museum features prehistory to present.

Address: 15 Rue de l'Épée, 59400 Cambrai, France

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Musée des Abris - Somme 1916 Albert

This museum focuses on life in the trenches and the Somme offensive in 1916. 

Address: Rue Anicet Godin 80300 Albert, France

Hidden Data

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In Flanders Fields Museum

Located on the second floor of Ieper Cloth Hall, this museum focuses on the story of the First World War in the Flanders region. On the ground floor of the Cloth Hall, look out for the Ngā Tapuwae digital interactive.

The Ieper Tourism office is also located in the Cloth Hall and is a helpful place to start to explore Ieper.

Address: Grote Markt 34, 8900 Ieper, Belgium

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Plugstreet 14-18 Experience

This interpretation centre tells how the war affected the surrounding area. The displays include the Ngā Tapuwae diorama, showing the living conditions of New Zealand soldiers stationed at Ploegsteert.

Address: Rue de Messines 156, 7782 Komen-Waasten, Belgium

Website - http://www.plugstreet1418.be/en

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Other areas of interest

Other areas of interest

New Zealand soldier statue, Mesen

Visit the statue of a New Zealand soldier in the Town Square at Mesen (Messines)

Address: Mesen Town Square, Mesen, Belgium

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Menin Gate

The Menin Gate Memorial is dedicated to the British and Commonwealth soldiers who were killed in the Ypres Salient.

Address: Menenstraat, 8900 Ieper, Belgium

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Talbot House

Also known as Toc H, Talbot House is a living museum where soldiers once relaxed and escaped the war.

Address: Gasthuisstraat 43, 8970 Poperinge, Belgium

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Vauban Citadel

Built by Vauban in 1668-72, the Citadel is a UNESCO World Heritage site. At the heart of the Citadel is the Mur des Fusilles that commemorates 218 members of La Résistance shot there during the Second World War.

Pedestrian access via the Boulevard du Général-de-Gaulle.

Address: Citadelle d'Arras, 62000 Arras, France

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Thiepval Interpretation centre

Featuring the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing, the visitor centre provides an overview of the First World War.

Address: Rue de l'Ancre, 80300 Thiepval, France

Hidden Data

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Stonehenge & Avebury World Heritage Site

These UNESCO World Heritage sites are among of the most famous prehistoric monuments in the world. 

Address: Stonehenge, Amesbury, Wiltshire SP4 7DE, United Kingdom
Avebury, Wiltshire, United Kingdom

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Salisbury Cathedral

Salisbury Cathedral dates back to the 13th century and holds one of the best surviving copies of the Magna Carta.

Address: 6 The Close, Salisbury, Wiltshire SP1 2EJ, United Kingdom

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New Forest National Park

This expansive park features an array of accommodation, museums, gardens and the impressive New Forest.

Address: Hampshire, United Kingdom

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Cemeteries & memorials

Cemeteries & memorials

Tyne Cot

Tyne Cot is the largest Commonwealth military cemetery in the world.

Address: Tynecotstraat, Tyne Cot, Belgium

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Langemark German Cemetery

Langemark is one of four German cemeteries in the Flanders region.

Address: Klerkenstraat 64, 8920 Poelkapelle, Belgium

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Explore the trails

Thinking about going?

If you are looking to visit the Western Front, our travel tips and planning information will help you to have the best trip possible.

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