- THE WALK
- THE NORMANDY BEACHES
- THE WESTERN FRONT
- The Virtual Frontline Walk
Sign up & trek the beaches of Normandy or the battlefields of the Western Front.
It is an amazing experience, meeting lovely people and raising funds for a good cause - Sandra Smith, 2019
Walk 100km, following in the footsteps of those who fought for our freedom in WWI or WWII whilst supporting the soldiers and veterans of today.
Choose The Western Front walk to follow in the footsteps of those who fought on the Somme and Passchendaele battlefields during the First World War or sign up to The Normandy Beaches walk to trek the coastline stormed as part of Operation Overlord during the D-Day landings of the Second World War.
Dates: 6th October - 10th October 2021 (The Normandy Beaches) or 13th - 17th October 2021 (The Western Front) (sold out).
Cost: £150 registration fee
Fundraising: £1,250, with £600 due by the 31st July 2021.
The Normandy Beaches
What is it?
A 100km walk passing the infamous beaches of Normandy, including Utah, Omaha and Sword Beaches and finishing at Pegasus Bridge.
When is it?
6th – 10th October 2021.
The Western Front Sold out!
What is it?
Covering 100km of the Western Front, the Walk starts at Lochnagar Crater, the location of the start of the Battle of the Somme, and finishes at the Menin Gate, with the Ceremony of the Last Post.
When is it?
13th – 17th October 2021.
- Return transport from London
- All transfers whilst on the trip
- Accommodation throughout on a twin room basis (single rooms available at an additional cost)
- All meals and snacks, except breakfast on day 1 and lunch on day 5
- Trip historian
- Experienced tour guides and support crew, including medics
- A full bespoke training guide
- Discounts on equipment
- Frontline Walk t-shirt and finishers medal
See a selection of photos from the two walks below.
Humbling to remember those in whose footsteps we were walking whilst being part of The Soldiers' Charity family - Philippa Calcutt, 2019 participant
Photography © Ed Smith Photography: http://edsmithphotography.com/
It was incredible. The highlight for me was walking across Pegasus bridge with the rest of the Frontline Walk family - Wesley Smith, 2019 participant
The itinerary for the Normandy Beaches route is below. Please note this is subject to change.
Day 1: London – Caen
Day 2: Sainte-Mère-Église – Utah Beach
Starting at Sainte-Mère-Église, the drop zone for American paratroopers over D-Day. After this the route joins the infamous Normandy coastline at Utah Beach – the westernmost beach involved in the Normandy Landings taken by the U.S. 4th Infantry Division.
Distance approx. 34km
Day 3: Saint Laurent Sur Mer – Omaha Beach – Bayeux
This day commences in the village of Saint Laurent sur Mer, at the grave of Major March-Phillipps, the founder of the precursor to the SAS. The route continues along Omaha Beach, stopping at the American Military Cemetery before finishing at Arromanches and the home of the Mulberry Harbour, an artificial harbour which was key to the invasion and allowed the landing of 2.5 million men, 500,000 vehicles, and 4 million tons of material.
Distance approx. 35km
Day 4: Gold Beach – Sword Beach – Pegasus Bridge
The final day of walking starts at the end of Gold Beach, at the landing point of 6thBattalion The Green Howards, and CSM Stan Hollis – the only VC recipient of D-Day. The walk then continues past Juno and Sword Beaches before finishing at the famed Pegasus Bridge.
Distance approx. 31km
Day 5: Caen – London
We leave France to drive back to London, aiming to arrive in late afternoon (traffic dependent).
I can't put it into words - it's one of those things you need to experience. As ever, the highlight is walking together under the Menin Gate, very few things can top that. - Guy Sudron, 2019 participant
The full itinerary for the Western Front route is below.
The top three fundraisers will have the opportunity to be part of The Soldiers’ Charity Frontline Walk team to lay a wreath at the Menin Gate, a once in a lifetime chance to take part in the emotional final salute to the fallen.
Day 1: London – Arras
We meet at Wellington Barracks, London just as thousands of soldiers did between 1914 and 1918. We will travel by coach to Arras, France
Day 2: Lochnagar Crater – Thiepval – Beaumont Hamel
We set off at dawn from the Lochnagar Crater, passing the stunning 38th Welsh Division Memorial. After a short break and historical talk at Flatiron Copse Cemetery we push on to Thiepval Memorial to the Missing and lunch.
After lunch we pass the Ulster Tower and walk through the preserved trenches at Beaumont Hamel. Passing the crater at Hawthorne Ridge, the site of one of the most famous videos from WWI we continue through the French countryside passing Sheffield Memorial Park before finishing in the French village of Hébuterne.
Distance approx. 34km
Day 3: Neuville St Vaast – Mont St Eloi – Vimy Ridge
Today’s start line is Neuville St Vaast German Military Cemetery – which contains the remains of over 44,000 German casualties. We follow the French country lanes past La Targette memorial, Ecoivres Military Cemetery before tackling the first major hill of the trip to Mont St Eloi. The route then continues uphill to Notre Dame de Lorette and the stunning ring of remembrance, where we break for lunch. We finish by passing through the trenches at Vimy, before finishing at the Canadian Monument at Vimy Ridge.
Trek approx. 35km
Day 4: Vancouver Corner– Tyne Cot – Ypres
Today we enter Belgium. Starting at St Julien Canadian Memorial at Vancouver Corner, we stop at Poelcapelle Cemetery before heading on to Tyne Cot Cemetery, the largest Commonwealth War Cemetery in the world and breaking for lunch just outside of Zonnebeke.
After lunch the route goes through Polygon Wood, taking in Buttes New British Cemetery and the preserved bunkers before passing Black Watch Corner before regrouping outside of Ypres for the final march to the Menin Gate.
Trek approx. 31km
Day 5: Ypres – London
We leave Ypres to drive back to London, aiming to arrive in late afternoon (traffic dependent).
What is the itinerary of The Frontline Walk?
The Frontline Walk takes place over 5 days. We meet in London on day 1 and return to London on day 5. The actual walking takes place over days 2-4.
The itinerary for each walk can be found on the specific tabs for The Normandy Beaches and The Western Front above
What route will we walk?
The exact route varies each year and will be released closer to the Walk. You can see the route outline by clicking on the specific tabs above
How far will we walk each day?
This depends on the route, but we will walk an average of 33km a day. The first two days of walking are usually further than the last day.
Where do we meet?
We meet in Wellington Barracks early on the morning of the first day (either 6th October or the 13th October depending on the walk you have chosen).
The exact meeting time will be confirmed closer to the event, but please be aware it will be very early and if you do not live close to London you may wish to book a hotel the night before.
Where do we return to?
We will return to Wellington Barracks on the fifth day (either 10th or 17th October depending on which dates you are registered for).
What are the timings of the Walk?
Meeting times for Wellington Barracks will be confirmed closer to the date, but we will depart very early in the morning of the first day and return in late afternoon of the fifth day.
Specific timings for each walking day will be confirmed on The Frontline Walk, as they are subject to change dependent on weather. However we can confirm it will be an early start each day.
What is included in the cost?
Your minimum sponsorship target, of £1,250, covers your transport (from London), accommodation and meals from lunch on day 1 to breakfast on day 5, water on trekking days, snacks, medical support and a charity t-shirt.
Why do I need to have raised £600 by the 31st July?
The Soldiers’ Charity covers your travel, accommodation and food, plus other expenses such as medical cover and support staff. We ask you to have raised £600 by the 31st July to ensure these costs are covered.
What happens if I do not reach £600 by the 31st July?
Unfortunately, you will not be able to take part.
What happens if I do not reach the minimum sponsorship target?
We will do everything we can to help you raise the minimum sponsorship but failure to do so may prevent you from taking part in future events for The Soldiers’ Charity.
Is there an age restriction?
The minimum age is 18 for the Frontline Walk. There is no upper age limit, but if you are over 65 at the start of the Walk you will need a doctor’s note from your GP confirming you are fit and healthy and there is no medical reason that you should not take part in the Walk.
Is Gift Aid included in my sponsorship target?
Gift Aid is not included in minimum sponsorship targets.
I'm worried about fundraising right now
Fundraising has certainly changed during these unprecedented times. Many events which people previously relied on to make their fundraising targets have been cancelled.
Once you've signed up you'll have access to all The Soldiers' Charity's virtual fundraising resources - including virtual quizzes, bingo cards & plenty of other tips. You'll also be able to join The Frontline Walk facebook group which is full of Frontline Walkers past and present who have plenty of imaginative tips - they've been running virtual challenges, bingo, quizzes, raffles, character cards & even a snail race.
Can we fundraise jointly as a team?
Yes, absolutely – it can make your fundraising target easier to meet if you fundraise together. You can even have a team fundraising page. Just remember that the sponsorship target is per person, so if your individual target is £1,250 and you fundraise as a pair, you’ll need to raise £2,500 together.
How do I apply for matched funding from my employer?
Many companies will match up to 100% of the donations you collect. Each company has a different policy and so please contact your HR or CSR teams to find out more.
Can you supply Charity materials to help with fundraising?
Yes, simply e-mail us at email@example.com for a list of available materials. Unfortunatley we cannot provide an exhaustive list due to stock level changes.
The 2021 Frontline Walk will be sponsored by Annington.
Annington is one of the largest private landlords in the UK following the purchase of over 57,000 homes from the Ministry of Defence in 1996. Most of these properties are leased back to the MOD and provide homes for Service personnel and their families. A significant number, however, have been handed back to Annington.
In the years since 1996, Annington has invested time, money and expertise in regenerating thousands of these homes and returned them to the national housing stock. To date, Annington has helped over 18,000 homebuyers, many of whom were first time buyers and key workers.
In 2019 a team of five Annington employees completed the Frontline Walk and raised £43,000 for ABF The Soldiers' Charity. In 2020 Annington came on board as the headline sponsor of the event.
You can read more about the partnership here.
Steve Roberts is the historical guide on The Frontline Walk.
Steve Roberts Military Ancestry offers a reliable, bespoke research service based on twenty years’ experience at numerous archives and repositories throughout the United Kingdom.
Steve is an ex-serviceman with a keen interest in military history, he holds a Masters Degree in British First World War Studies and has a proven track record in researching Britain’s armed forces for individual clients and a number of television documentaries.
Classic Challenge has been leading the way in charity challenges since they originated the concept in 1992. Since then more than £100 million has been raised for hundreds of charities. 65,000 people have cycled, trekked, run, climbed mountains and ridden horses to all corners of the globe while taking part in a charity challenge event for Classic Challenge.
Terry offers a research service for people interested in finding out about their family connections to the First World War. He does not charge for his service, but asks for a donation to be made to The Soldiers' Charity instead.
Terry is also a tour guide, having previously worked with Leger, Holts and RBL. Terry offers a bespoke tour package, either following your relative's First World War journey or the key landmarks on the WWI battlefields.