History buff builds 100-metre replica World War One trench in British wood

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A history lover has built a replica World War One moat in a British wood.

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The 100-metre excavation took Andy Robertshaw and his eight-strong team three months and cost £9,000.

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The WW1 replica trench is 8 feet deep and includes a dugout, machine gun post, no man’s land, listening post and firing post.
Andy Robertshaw with his band of brothers who helped build the incredible 100m tall structure

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Andy Robertshaw with his band of brothers who helped build the incredible 100m tall structure

It is 8 feet deep and includes a dugout, machine gun post, no man’s land, listening post and firing post.

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The ditch at the Center for Experimental Military Archeology in Detling, Kent is the fourth they have built and is based on a British network excavated at Railway Wood near Ypres, Belgium, during the Great War.

Andy, 65, a consultant on the Hollywood films 1917 and War Horse, said: “It’s the biggest gap we’ve ever created and it’s as close to the real thing as possible.

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“It’s the cherry on top in terms of everything I’ve done. It gives you the closest possible taste of what it was like for our great-grandfathers in the Great War and how hellish it must have been.

“It also shows you what World War I was like and how vast the battlefield was. The geology here in Kent is very similar to Ypres, so it all adds to the authenticity.”

The moat at Railway Wood saw bitter skirmishes from the Second Battle of Ypres in 1915 until the Battle of Passchendaele two years later.

And Faversham’s Andy says he’s not done.

He said: “We are looking forward to building a German trench on the other side of No Man’s Land. The idea would be that you can come here to understand both sides of the war.

“I don’t think it will ever stop growing, there’s a lot we can do here.”

A bird's eye view of the ditch at the Center for Experimental Military Archeology in Detling, Kento

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A bird’s eye view of the ditch at the Center for Experimental Military Archeology in Detling, Kento
Andy, 65, was a consultant on the Hollywood films 1917 and War Horse

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Andy, 65, was a consultant on the Hollywood films 1917 and War Horse

WW1 history buff, 61, spends 18 months excavating a one-acre trench network in the Kent area and invites the public to stay there

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