Walking the Somme (Second Edition), Paul Reed

Walking the Somme (Second Edition), Paul Reed

This is a greatly revised second edition of one of the earliest battlefield walking guides and covers the British parts of the Somme battlefield. The book is divided into sixteen walks, ranging in length from three to ten miles. Each is supported by a sketch map showing the area that is probably best used alongside more detailed maps. Almost every page is illustrated in some way, with a mix of contemporary photographs, trench maps, and some modern photographs. There is also a section of modern colour photographs that give an idea of what the area looks like on a beautiful summer day.

I must admit I haven’t been able to visit the Somme battlefield to test out these walks, but the instructions seem clear and consistent (both with each other and with the maps). The sketch maps look to contain enough information to be useful. The text is well written and the author's knowledge of the battlefield shines through. The pictures are very varied and include many types of picture that I hadn’t seen before, including some sobering pictures of the earliest war cemeteries as they were immediately after the war and a genuine picture of one of the Somme attacks (tiny dots in a ragged line advancing across the landscape).

This is a superb battlefield guide, benefiting both from the author's clear knowledge of the battlefield and from being a single volume covering the entire area.

Gommecort, 1 July 1916 Walk
The Pals Walk - Serre
Ancre Valley
Aif-Pozières Battlefield Walk
The Yorkshire Walk - Fricourt, 1 July 1916
The Poet's Walk - Bois Français and Mametz
Montauban, 1 July 1916
Behind the Lines Walk
The Dawn Attack - Longueval, 14 July 1916
Mametz Wood - Contalmaison Walk, July 1916
High Wood
The Tank Walk - Longueval-Ginchy-Flers
Butte de Warlencourt
Guillemont Road

Author: Paul Reed
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 246
Publisher: Pen & Sword Military
Year: 2011

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