Flanders

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
skelo
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Flanders

Postby skelo » 13 Jul 2019, 12:16pm

Next Friday i am heading for a weeks tour- ferry from Hull to Europoort easy 300km 'circular'to Zeebrugge and back to Hull.

we are planning a penultimate day from Ghent to Bruges, probably via Ypres. other than the obvious Menin Gate, any tips for interesting WW1 memorials/sites to visit?

any tip/experiences appreciated.

cheers

simonhill
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Re: Flanders

Postby simonhill » 13 Jul 2019, 1:26pm

Maybe read up a bit about the Battles of Ypres - 3 of them. Wikki probably a good place to start.

Tyne Cot is the main cemetery and commemoration to Paschendale - The Third Battle of Ypres. Probably the worst battle for the British in the war. Lots of little trenches and mini museums in the area, but can't remember exactly where without maps, etc - sorry away at the moment.

Probably not so interesting, but if you follow the battlefront from Ypres towards the North Sea, you follow the river that was the front line. Fortifications, etc and a cycle path all the way to Nieuport. It was the flooding of this area that stopped the Germans advancing - a very strategic (defeat avoiding) holdup in the early days of the war.

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robgul
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Re: Flanders

Postby robgul » 14 Jul 2019, 7:44am

From Ypres there is a very well signposted route - called the Peace Route - that takes in loads of the sites, cemeteries etc - doable in a day but two would be better with some good bars along the way. You could incorporate asome of the route into your day.

Rob

skelo
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Re: Flanders

Postby skelo » 14 Jul 2019, 11:17am

robgul wrote:From Ypres there is a very well signposted route - called the Peace Route - that takes in loads of the sites, cemeteries etc - doable in a day but two would be better with some good bars along the way. You could incorporate asome of the route into your day.

Rob


Thanks Rob, that's really useful will look into that,

st599_uk
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Re: Flanders

Postby st599_uk » 15 Jul 2019, 5:59pm

simonhill wrote:Maybe read up a bit about the Battles of Ypres - 3 of them. Wikki probably a good place to start.

Tyne Cot is the main cemetery and commemoration to Paschendale - The Third Battle of Ypres. Probably the worst battle for the British in the war. Lots of little trenches and mini museums in the area, but can't remember exactly where without maps, etc - sorry away at the moment.

Probably not so interesting, but if you follow the battlefront from Ypres towards the North Sea, you follow the river that was the front line. Fortifications, etc and a cycle path all the way to Nieuport. It was the flooding of this area that stopped the Germans advancing - a very strategic (defeat avoiding) holdup in the early days of the war.


There's a book called something like Major Holt's Guide to the Ypres Salient that you can probably pick up for a couple of pounds second hand on Amazon. Gives you all the details of the places you see, maps showing how the action unfolded etc.

Remember that the French spellings aren't used much in Flanders (Vlaanderen) any more, so Ypres = Ieper, Paschendale = Passendale etc.

When I did it, I went to the "In Flanders Fields" museum in Ieper centre when it opened. They have maps of tourist routes. Avoid the A19, but the rest is great for cycling. Head through the Menin Gate and then out towards Hellfire Corner (now a roundabout). Then you can head off into the Salient.

https://www.flandersfields.be/en/inspir ... 18-cycling

Tyne Cot is a must see. Pashcendale museum is good as it has a recreation of a British Trench. There are lots of little private museums and museums to specific actions and small graveyards which you'll pass as you cycle around. It's all quite flat - Hill 62 was fought over to give artillery spotters the high ground - it's 62m high.

Langemarck is worth a visit.

Then head towards Poperinge and visit the Westvleteren Brewery - beer officianados say the Westvleteren XII is the best beer in the world and you can only buy it in the monastery.

Then back to Ieper where the Menin Gate ceremony worth a look.

Nieupoort looks like any other European coastal town - there's very little WW1 stuff left to see,.
A novice learning...
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skelo
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Re: Flanders

Postby skelo » 15 Jul 2019, 10:35pm

Thanks guys, had a look on Google and the plan is to cycle in the morning from Ghent to Tyne-Cot and Passendale, onto Ieper to have a look around the various monuments and Menin Gate, take in the last post before a couple of decent Belgian Beers. Yorkshire Trench ans dug-out in the morning before heading on to Bruges (maybe the odd Belgian Beer there too!)

last time I went to europe we took a Garmin, this time I have studied Cycle-travel and hopefully memorised the bones of the route and written a list of towns en-route and intend to rely on signs, friendly locals and, as a last resort, Google Maps on iPhone, what can co wrong? wish me luck! :lol:

simonhill
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Re: Flanders

Postby simonhill » 16 Jul 2019, 7:51pm

Not sure what other's views are, but my last visit to hear the Last Post at The Menin Gate was a bit upsetting.

I have been 3 times now, first about 25 years ago, second a wet Wednesday 10 years ago and the most recent was early July last year on the penultimate day of of my end to end of the whole WW1 battlefront (Basle to Nieuport). On my first 2 visits I found the whole experience very moving and respectful. Not so this last time.

I arrived at The Gate in the afternoon and laid my personal poppy - I was laying a few at main sites along the way. As ever I found the place very moving and did my bit while loaded bike was leaning against the bridge.

Then comes 8 o clock and the place was packed with wreath layers, tourists and hordes of schoolchildren, - no problem with that, but there seemed to be a distinct lack of respect. It was a sea of mobile phones snapping or videoing, with little regard to the solemnity of the event, although at least most were silent during the one minute's silence.

Maybe things were more hyper as it was the 100th anniversary year, but I thought that some of the other major sites had started to be 'Disney-fide' and respect was low on the list. Thiepval was a notable for the young British helpers who tried to guide me, but in reality they had very little knowledge and just got in the way. I was grateful when lunch time came and everyone left so I could pay my respects in silence in my own way.

I even thought what had once been the hallowed areas around Verdun had succumbed to the tourist throng.

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andrew_s
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Re: Flanders

Postby andrew_s » 17 Jul 2019, 12:03pm

skelo wrote:last time I went to europe we took a Garmin, this time I have studied Cycle-travel and hopefully memorised the bones of the route and written a list of towns en-route and intend to rely on signs, friendly locals and, as a last resort, Google Maps on iPhone, what can co wrong? wish me luck! :lol:

It may worth checking out the fietsknooppunten network, and replacing or supplementing your list of towns with a list of point numbers, which are signed at on-route junctions. The problem with town names is that you're likely to be diverted on to the nearest main road (not a major problem as there are roadside cycle tracks, but the minor roads are more pleasant).

https://www.fietsnet.be/routeplanner/default.aspx

jk49
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Re: Flanders

Postby jk49 » 19 Jul 2019, 5:34pm

+1 for the west vleteren brewery. There's a little campsite a couple of miles away that you can wobble back too after you have sampled all of their 3 beers. One is 12%! I was there last Saturday, it was full of cycle clubs enjoying a couple of post ride beers.

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andrew_s
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Re: Flanders

Postby andrew_s » 19 Jul 2019, 7:39pm

jk49 wrote:One is 12%!

It's 12 belgian degrees rather than % abv.
A mere 10.2 %

JakobW
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Re: Flanders

Postby JakobW » 19 Jul 2019, 8:34pm

IMHO Westvleteren is very nice, but there are many other Belgian beers that are just as good - AFAICS the 'best beer in the world' stuff is mainly a result of its exclusivity (having to buy it from the monastery in advance and pick it up at certain times &c.).

Not WWI, but on my next Flanders tour I'd like to try and visit the hops museum in Poperinge (between Ypres and Westvleteren) and the Belgian national cycling museum in Roeselare (between Ypres and Bruges).

chocjohn9
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Re: Flanders

Postby chocjohn9 » 22 Jul 2019, 2:43pm

This link might be interesting for you -

http://www.fietsroute.org/cycling/great ... y-flanders