.

Somme Battlefields Weekend

Shortest Day - 30 miles
Longest Day - 35 miles
Total: 3 days' cycling, 30 - 35 miles a day. 4 nights in comfortable hotels with breakfast, 3 picnic lunches, 3 evening meals included.

What you can expect

Experience the major and minor sights of the 1916 Battle of the the Somme. seeing places the tourist buses simply cannot go. 1 July 1916 is etched on the national conscience and we examine the actions of that day, as well as the remainder of the battle which lasted into November 1916.

More detail

For 2017 we have enhanced and extended this tour to give you a superb insight into the entirety of the Battle of the Somme. Along the way we will visit sites large and small, and hear a few war poems in the places they were written.

The terrain in the Somme region is ideal for cycling; this is chalk farmland and the hills are neither too steep nor too long. Many novice cyclists have happily ridden our routes here! Because of the amount to see the days can be long although the time on the bike can represent less than half of the time spent out and about. For this reason we've graded it moderate, not because the riding is hard. The support van will be in close contact so will ensure that you have everything you need, meaning you can travel light and benefit from all of its refreshments too!

Day 1 (Friday): Arrival. Arras is easily accessible by train with a change at Lille, or if you are driving, we can tell you where you can park as this is a round-trip tour.

Day 2 (Saturday): Heading south from Arras we arrive before long at the northernmost point of the attack of 1 July 1916, the diversionary attack at Gommecourt. Here we pause for coffee before examining the battlefield and gaining an overview introduction of the battle, which is best done out 'on the ground' as it has so much more relevance. Throughout the tour there will be maps and illustrations to help explain what your guide is telling you as you ride between stops. This first section to Gommecourt is the longest of the day and takes approximately 1 - 1.5 hours; after this the stops are all only a couple of miles, at most, apart. We visit the Pals Battalions memorial at Serre and see the largest of the Somme cemeteries, before crossing Redan Ridge and dropping down into Beaumont Hamel. This village was an objective on 1 July but was not captured until 13 November. There are a great many infamous places in this area, including the Sunken Lane, Newfoundland Memorial Park and the Hawthorn Ridge crater. We stop for lunch and then visit the Ulster Tower and the incomparable Thiepval Memorial, which has the names of over 72,000 soldiers whose bodies were never found. Overnight in Albert. 35 miles.

Day 3 (Sunday): A couple of miles outside Albert lies the famous crater at La Boiselle, the result of a mine explosion at the outset of the battle on 1 July. Still following the front line, we pass where the Red Baron was buried before seeing the beautiful small cemetery with its famous epitaph 'The Devonshires held this trench, the Devonshire hold it still', words as poignant today as they were 100 years ago. Mametz Wood is many people's favourite place on the Somme - it's very beautiful and very quiet, a far cry from how it was in 1916, and the monument there is very impressive. We then head for Delville Wood where we see how the South Africans fought bravely, before riding to the northern extent of the advance on our way to our overnight stop in Bapaume. 30 miles.

Day 4 (Monday): Riding back south from Bapaume we see how innovation was introduced to the battle in an attempt to break the deadlock; Flers Courcelette is where tanks were used for the first time. The very last actions of 'The Big Push' took place on 18 November during the Battle of the Ancre - one of the constituent battle of the larger Somme offensive - and after which proceedings were halted for winter; here the Royal Naval Division served. It's a pleasant ride back to Arras to finish, passing other places of interest along the way. 33 miles.

Day 5 (Tuesday): Departure. 

NB: It is possible to arrive late on the Friday and depart on the Monday evening for those needing to get back for work etc.

Single supplement (for those requiring guaranteed single occupancy): £175.

BOOK ONLINE NOW

or enquire about specific dates by clicking 'Booking Enquiry' below.

 

Current dates for this tour:

Starts:
25.05.18
Ends:
29.05.18
Rating:
Moderate
Price:
£650

Travel Information

Start: Arras
Finish: Arras

Click here for our Travel Information page

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