Top positive review
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A very useful book for anyone exploring the Ypres Salient
on 25 September 2014
I bought this book whilst preparing for a 4-day walking holiday in June 2014. I traveled by train to Ypres (staying in the Albion Hotel), and walked from the city out to a different part of the Ypres Salient each day - I didn't use a car or bicycle at all.
I already had a copy of Paul Reed's book "Walking the Salient", which is full of excellent walks (but with dire maps), and I found that many of the walks in Battle Lines Ypres, rather than repeating Reed's walks, nicely complimented them, offering different routes which could be added on. In several cases they were a distinct improvement on Reed's routes: for instance, at Hooge, Cooksey and Murland take you down a path southwards alongside (the east side of) Hooge Crater Cemetery, and across the fields towards Sanctuary Wood, taking you from the German lines, across No-mans-land to the British lines - a really superb route, and one which is not apparent as a walkable path unless you are told. Likewise, I used Reed's excellent walk north to Boesinghe, and then switched to Cooksey and Murland's Pilkem Ridge walk which explores the British assault of 31/7/17. In other words, this book nicely complements Reed's book and I found it very useful indeed.
Cooksey and Murland have the same kind of schematic maps as Reed, but they are much easier to follow than Reed's infuriating maps - nevertheless, anyone undertaking such a walking holiday of the Salient needs to equip themselves with the excellent Belgian 1-20,000 maps as well (no 28, 1-2 is Ieper, 28, 3-4 is Zonnebeke and Passchendaele) which are readily available to purchase on the internet.
The book is well-bound, and on good-quality paper - mine is still in excellent condition after some rough treatment. It is not the kind of book that you would want to sit down and read, and (unlike the Battleground Europe series of books) assumes that you have done plenty of research on the area that you are exploring, although it has plenty of useful information to help you appreciate the cemeteries which you encounter.
I purchased Battle Lines Ypres from Amazon when they were selling it at an offer price of £8.96 (including postage etc), but even if I had paid the official price of £12.99 I think that it would have been money well spent.