Take a WW2 walking tour this Easter

Lifestyle / Thu 2nd Apr 2015 at 09:37am

IF you are looking for outdoor activities during the Easter holidays, why not take in some of the many heritage trails in Essex?

Six scenic trails, taking in views along the stunning Essex coast and countryside, have been put together for walkers, tourists and school children to explore as a part of the World War Two Heritage Project.

Take the kids out to walk the trails and discover the surprising sites and stories about Essex’s Second World War past – and if you take photos on your walk you could win a prize by uploading them to the Facebook site at https://www.facebook.com/arts.essex1

Judged on their quality, four photos will be chosen from the ones entered and the four winning photographers will each win a copy of the book published by the WWII Heritage Project – THE OCCUPIED COAST Living in the Shadow of the Atlantic Wall.

Anyone can enter the competition. All the photographer needs to do is identify the name of the trail on which the photo was taken when uploading it.

The photo competition will be open throughout April.

John Meehan, Essex County Council’s Environment Manager, said: “The trails are a welcome addition along the Essex coast and countryside and tell an interesting story about WWII in Essex.

“Why not find a trail nearby to you, take along your camera or phone and take a photo of something that inspires you. Your photo could be of a view point, or wildlife, or even a pillbox along the route – the choice is yours and we look forward to seeing them all.”

Essex as a county has a rich heritage from the Second World War, and the county council has been recording sites since the early 1990s.

The trails are part of an EU-funded WWII heritage project that provides funds for Essex County Council to promote this heritage while at the same time learning from the experiences and good practices of European partners.

Did you know that more than 3,000 defence sites were built in Essex during World War Two? Around 750 still survive, some in surprisingly good condition, others as concrete and steel remains. They are strung across the county, many half-hidden in hedgerows, woods and fields, guarding quiet country lanes, beaches and open marshes.

The World War Two Heritage Project has enabled this important part of Essex’s history to be interpreted for walkers, tourists, and school children. A number of trails have been compiled where survival is high or where the sites have their own particular resonance.

All the trails are on footpaths, roadsides or publically-accessible land. Information boards, leaflets and, for Smartphone users, an app provide interpretation and historical detail. Reconstruction paintings, and many wartime photographs that have been tracked down from surviving archives, help bring the sites to life.

The six trails are:

Bowers Gifford WWII trail
Cudmore Grove WWII trail
Fobbing WWII trail
Ford End/ Hartford WWII trail
Saffron Walden WWII trail
Walton-on-the-Naze trail
For more information, go to: http://www.worldwar2heritage.com/en/routes

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