Arnhem battlefield walks

Discussion in 'WW2 Battlefields Today' started by nigel barrett, Mar 20, 2018.

  1. nigel barrett

    nigel barrett Member

    I will be visiting Arnhem with my wife and youngest son this Easter for 3 full days to visit the battlefield.

    We have done similar trips to Normandy several times, and much prefer to walk (10-15 miles/day is ok for us) rather than tour in a car, getting out for 10 mins, then back in to see the next point of interest. Walking is time intensive but far more immersive I find.

    I have the Holts Guide to Market Garden (we are planning on just Arnhem this time though), and John Waddy's 'Tour of The Arnhem Battlefields', but can anyone recommend any other guide books, or specific walking routes? Or anything of interest that's maybe not mentioned in the guidebooks or off the beaten track.

    Also any good restaurant recommendations, (medium priced, locals places)?

    In addition we may stop off at Dunkirk on the way.
    CL1 likes this.
  2. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    Why not try a bicycle ...??

    It's real fun and travels a bit faster than going on foot. It allows you to make the trip from the Drop- and Landing zones to the bridge at Arnhem in an hour or so ... and, like on foot, you have easy access to all the sites. There are bikes for hire at the railway station at Arnhem, but probably also in Oosterbeek.
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2018
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  3. horsapassenger

    horsapassenger Senior Member

    John Waddy's book is by far the best - there is a fairly good map that comes with it. Your best bet is to pick a particular Battalion and follow their route from the LZ. The Oude Herbergh (On the roundabout a bit further west of the Airborne Museum) is good for lunchtime and evening food. It can get busy at the weekends.
    I agree with Stolpi re using bikes - most of the routes have good cycle tracks nearby allowing you to cover a lot more ground. Some of the hotels (Bilderberg etc) rent bikes by the day.
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  4. nigel barrett

    nigel barrett Member

    A quick round up of our trip, for anyone that is interested:

    We had one full day in Dunkirk; visited the museum which was just ok, but interesting from a French point of view and day-by-day analysis (I didn't realise that no French troops were taken off the beach, just the harbour/mole if I understood correctly), walked along the beach from Zuydcoote to Bray Dunes and back, then had a very nice lunch in L'Horizon, which overlooks the beach at Zuydcoote and stopped off at the CWGC at Zuydcoote which seemed to contain Commonwealth graves from the First War and French graves from both wars. Interesting to see many graves of soldiers from Senegal there too. The next day on our way to Arnhem we stopped off at De Panne beach too; didn't have a lot of time to look round, but seemed a nice town. I need to do a lot more reading on Dunkirk. There's a great discussion on here regarding the location of the jetties made from BEF vehicles.

    Arnhem was the main event for us, and the weather held up for some thoroughly absorbing walks. In addition to the Waddy and Holt guides I found 'Arnhem: The Landing Grounds and Oosterbeek (Battlegound Europe)' by Frank Steer to be especially useful with great detail and useful sketch maps to really explain the layout and events of every action. Bar the considerable distance from the landing grounds to the bridge I hadn't appreciated just how compact the battleground is, with several locations witnessing 2 or 3 key events in the ebb and flow of the fighting.

    We visited the small museum at the bridge in Arnhem and walked the area, identifying various locations pointed out in the Waddy guide. The immediate vicinity of the bridge of course is completely changed (to be replaced by some terrible post war monstrosities) but the ramps and the replacement bridge were evocative.

    There is a self guided walk of the Oosterbeek perimeter, about 4km long, easy to follow with some information stands, which we augmented with the Waddy and Steer guides for greater detail. You have to walk the ground to really appreciate how small the perimeter was and the open country to the south. The highlight for me was a long walk to trace the actions of 156 and 10 Para together with the KOSB's, starting off with a drive down Sportslaan for a view of the battleground then parking at Oosterbeek station and following the track along the railway to Wolfheze, passing the culvert and a small memorial that doesn't seem to be mentioned in the guide books, lunch at the De Tijd restaurant by Wolfheze station is recommended, then through the Wolfheze woods (the Steer guide was particularly good here) to the hollow and back through Oosterbeek to the station, followed by a visit to the Airborne Cemetery. There's another interesting discussion on here regarding the Beatle's visit and my son was intrigued to see the (not so) famous photo. We live in Maidenhead so the work of our friends at the CWGC is always appreciated and admired. The Airborne Museum was good although the refurbishment seemed to be ongoing. Personally, I think the museum at Pegasus Bridge is better. The 'experience' in the basement brought the battle to life, similar to Casemate 1 at Merville. A highlight for me was the wallpaper scorecard 'F the Jerries'. Also visited; Ginkel Heath, Urquhart house, Lonsdale Church, Tiger/Lion route crossroads.

    All in all a wonderful and moving trip, lots of walking, great food, real insight and appreciation together with an opportunity to pass on to a younger generation 'lest they forget'. We are already planning to return for the annual commemorative jump in September!
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2018

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