Kemmel & Bayernwald Trenches
'In Flanders Fields', 4 years three great battles & many lost
The view from Kemmel Trenches accross to Ypres
The first thing to bear in mind about visiting the Bayernwald Trenches is that, to get in, you need to go to the Kemmel Village Tourist Information Centre to collect an electronic key code for the Gate. Also, You then need to double back in the Ypres direction and you will find a signpost on the right hand side just past 'The American Memorial'. This takes you into very narrow lanes, but it is sign posted quite well.
The trenches are actually within a fenced off area about 50 meters square.
The first thing you notice is the construction of them. Rather than the normal corrugated iron or sandbag sides to the trenches, the Germans used wickered wood, with sandbags only used along the top.
The trenches meander their way through the area and have two bunkers built amid them.. There are also two mineshafts which were only discovered some 40 odd years ago.
Set on the top of a slight hill, you can see why this part of the front line was very important to those who occupied it. Inside the Shelter you will find a relief map of the area as it was in the Great War. There are some aerial view photographs and pictures of some German Soldiers who served there.
It was here that Adolf Hitler served during WW1 and received the Iron Cross. He visited the Site in 1940. The Trenches and adjoining area were captured by the Allied forces in June 1917, during the first battle of Messines.