World War I practice trenches created on Kent golf course after heatwave scorched the earth

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Britain’s underground battle lines: World War I training trenches form on Kent’s golf course after a heat wave scorched the earth, revealing a 100-year-old training ground beneath the surface

  • Aerial photos show the deep winding paths, stretching for hundreds of meters at Canterbury Golf Club
  • Soil similar to that of northern France, making it an ideal war training ground for those going to Europe
  • The third, fourth, fifth, seventh and ninth fairways all play host to the meandering and zigzagging trenches
  • Land also has a bomb crater and three concrete anchor points for underground barrage balloons

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World War I training trenches dug to mimic those in France were created on a golf course after the recent heat wave scorched the ground.

Spectacular aerial photos show the deep winding paths stretching hundreds of meters at Canterbury Golf Club in Kent.

The bottom of the club is strikingly similar to that of northern France, making it an ideal war training ground for those heading to the continent.

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Each of the third, fourth, fifth, seventh and ninth fairways is the scene of the meandering and zigzagging trenches.

The Kent County Council archive portal describing the history of the trenches reads: ‘These have been interpreted as early 20th century training trenches due to their resemblance to trench systems used in the First World War.

‘It is likely they were used in training exercises for soldiers stationed at the Royal East Kent Regiment barracks on the nearby eastern edge of the town.

“The golf course itself was built in 1927 and the condition of the trenches could imply that the area was under cultivation for some time before that date.”

The remains of early 20th century practice ditches under a golf course have emerged after recent warm weather dried up the grass

The bottom of the club is strikingly similar to that of northern France, making it an ideal war training ground for those heading to Europe

The bottom of the club is strikingly similar to that of northern France, making it an ideal war training ground for those heading to Europe

Each of the third, fourth, fifth, seventh and ninth fairways is the scene of the meandering and zigzagging trenches

Each of the third, fourth, fifth, seventh and ninth fairways is the scene of the meandering and zigzagging trenches

The 160-acre land leased from the war bureau has a bomb crater now surrounded by willow trees, another crater in the forest, and three round concrete anchor points for barrage balloons just below the ground.

The 160-acre land leased from the war bureau has a bomb crater now surrounded by willow trees, another crater in the forest, and three round concrete anchor points for barrage balloons just below the ground.

Pictured: The trenches at Keycol Hill, near Bobbing, Kent, in World War I

Pictured: The trenches at Keycol Hill, near Bobbing, Kent, in World War I

The 160-acre land leased from the War Office has a bomb crater now surrounded by willow trees, another crater in the forest, and three round concrete anchor points for barrage balloons just below ground.

The KCC archive portal adds: ‘The trench systems cover an area of ​​several hundred meters and are visible between the trees on the fairways of the golf course.

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“The visible western part consists of a line of fire running north-south and 67 meters eastwards and branches of communication lines of 35 metres, 35 meters and 21 meters running east-west.

‘The visible eastern part is similar, but there is more visible, as it extends over 100 meters.

“It is likely that similar traces of military activity extend across the site and may be better preserved in the wooded areas.

Much of the west side is covered in a legible trench system consisting of fore and aft lines with firing bays and interconnecting zigzag communication trenches.

“Over the rest of the area, ditches are visible only fragmentarily and do not appear to form coherent systems. Recorded features include zigzag features and lines of fire bays.”

KCC said they were identified by crop marks captured on 1940s RAF vertical aerial photographs and 1980s Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England (RCHME) aerial photographs.

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