WW1 trenches at Canterbury Golf Club revealed in aerial photos

Aerial photographs have revealed hidden World War I trenches dug to train soldiers heading to the mainland.

The meandering ditches at Canterbury Golf Club have become much more visible due to the recent spell of very dry weather.

The zigzag patterns show the old trenches of the First World War. Photo: Tom Banbury

The scorched ground made the infills on a number of the course’s fairways more prominent.

The Kent County Council Archives portal details the history of the trenches.

He states: “These have been interpreted as training trenches since the early 20th century due to their similarity to the trench systems used in the First World War.

‘It is likely that they were used in training exercises for soldiers based at the Royal East Kent Regiment barracks to the east of the town.

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

The scorched ground has revealed the remains of Canterbury <a class=Golf Club‘s old practice trenches. Photo: Tom Banbury” data-root=”/_media/img/” data-path=”2JAI2Y4VBDDBPHWD75UW.jpg” data-ar=”1.33″/>
The scorched ground has revealed the remains of Canterbury Golf Club’s old practice trenches. Photo: Tom Banbury
Hidden trenches have become much more visible.  Photo: Tom Banbury
Hidden trenches have become much more visible. Photo: Tom Banbury

The ground type of the golf course is no different from that of northern France, making it ideal for war training for those heading to Europe.

Each of the third, fourth, fifth, seventh and ninth fairways hosts the winding and zigzag trenches.

“The trench systems cover an area of ​​several hundred meters and are visible between groves of trees on the fairways of the golf course.

“The visible western section consists of a line of fire running north-south and facing east for 67 meters and branches of lines of communication and facing east-west. The section is visible is similar although more visible, as it extends over a distance of over 100m.

A number of fairways house the old trenches.  Photo: Tom Banbury
A number of fairways house the old trenches. Photo: Tom Banbury
Soldiers in the Somme during WW1.  Photo: Canterbury Cathedral Archives
Soldiers in the Somme during WW1. Photo: Canterbury Cathedral Archives

“It is likely that similar traces of military activity extend throughout the site and are best preserved in forested areas.”

The golf course’s website also says the site is home to a reminder of World War II, with a bomb crater – now surrounded by willow trees – to the right of the sixth green. There is another crater in the woods between the seventh and ninth fairways.

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