National Memorial Arboretum launches World War I Centenary trails

Memorials will help provide a better understanding of war.

The National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire will launch its new World War I Centenary trails on Saturday 29th March. The trails have been designed to mark this significant historical milestone and enable visitors of all ages to discover the trees and memorials linked to the Great War by people and their stories.

The family-friendly Discovery Trail (2km) will give visitors to the Arboretum, which is part of The Royal British Legion family of charities, the opportunity to explore some of the key memorials linked to the First World War and the remarkable stories behind them.  It will enable young visitors to better understand some of the key events that took place during the war and the role of various regiments and individuals.

History enthusiasts will enjoy the more detailed Shot at Dawn Trail (2km), created to provide a deeper understanding of many of the trees and memorials connected to World War I by fascinating stories and symbolism. This trail takes about an hour and a half to complete and incorporates the iconic Shot at Dawn memorial, which commemorates the 306 British and Commonwealth soldiers shot for cowardice or desertion during the war.

The third route, known as the Poppy Field Trail (2.5 km) passes though some of the Arboretum’s woodland avenues, the poppy field and alongside the beautiful River Tame. Incorporating a number of significant World War I memorials, it is ideal for those interested in exploring the outlying areas of the grounds, particularly during the summer months when the poppies are in bloom.

Managing director of the National Memorial Arboretum, Sarah Montgomery, said: “We are very excited to be launching our three World War One Trails, which have been carefully created with all our visitors in mind.  We are sure that people will be captivated by the stories behind the trees and memorials which link them to this incredible period in history”.

The Arboretum is free to enter and printed trail guides are available from the Visitor Centre for a small charge.  Route markers are positioned in the grounds to help show the way, while the Arboretum’s volunteer guides will be on hand to answer questions and share their knowledge of the trees and memorials. For further information visit:

In addition, the Arboretum is part of the Staffordshire Great War Trail; an interactive trail which takes in key World War I related sites across the county.