The Topography of the Ypres Salient

Prompted by a comment from one of our newer readers (yes, that’s you, Meester Bond*), a little while back, here’s a topographical map of the Ypres Salient (scale at the bottom, the dates marked across the map referring to progress made during Third Ypres, British trenches in blue, German in red) which shows, first and foremost, the ring of low hills to the south and east of Ypres, the city itself marked in mauve, along with a few of the areas we have visited over the years.  Beginning at the bottom of the map, the light blue area is Ploegsteert Wood, site of our very first tour from ten years ago, with the Messines Ridge (Messines itself at the southern end, Wytschaete at the northern) in dark green directly above, and not so far to its left, at the edge of the map, the summit of Mont Kemmel, marked in light green.  Travelling north along the line of hills, passing the red dot (Hill 60), we arrive at the Menin Road, coloured in yellow, where the small beige oval marks the area around Hooge.  Just to its right Polygon Wood is marked in turquoisey-green, and the Passchendaele Ridge, with the eponymous village at its northern end, winds its way north in yellow.  The two blue squares to the north of Ypres mark Boesinghe (dark blue) and Langemark (light blue).  Down near the bottom right corner, Wervik, where I base myself, chez Baldrick, on my Flanders trips, is highlighted in dark brown.

*Alan, not James.

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9 Responses to The Topography of the Ypres Salient

  1. nicholas Kilner says:

    Very nicely done, thank you for this.

  2. Jon T says:

    This really does help to put the layout of the salient into perspective. My own deep interest in the War really stems from just a few years ago when on my first day in Ypres we scaled to the top of the Cloth Tower. It was a fine clear day and we could easily see the tower of Passchendaele church on the far horizon along with almost all the landmarks shown on the map above. The realisation of that relatively small area being the centre of four years of terrible conflict really brought home to me I had to know more and really get an understanding of what went on there (and elsewhere of course). Astonishing what happened there.

    • Magicfingers says:

      I have never been up there – I was going to once upon a time but developed a timely headache……..not great with heights any more – no idea why, really. Anyway, glad the map helps.

      • Jon T says:

        I know what you mean, its very high up, the walkway is very narrow and I doubt the parapet would meet modern Health and Safety height standards ! It is very illuminating being up there however and I managed it a second time on a following visit. That might well be enough now though !

        • Magicfingers says:

          Funnily enough, a book I was using for reference last night had a 1930s photo taken from the rebuilt Belfry looking towards Zonnebeke. Cracking view, as you say.

        • Peter Halls says:

          Hi Jon
          Yes I agree that it’s rather surprising how low the parapet is and particularly interesting traversing the corners .
          I’ve only been up there once but intend to go again now that the refurbishment is completed ( before it’s banned if not already )

  3. 007 and a half says:

    That’s Magic thank you I will print and use as a reference for any future virtual tours of the area.

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