Latest News

As passionate hosts and historians, we’ll be writing regular articles about the past, present and future events at No.fifty6 and the Somme.

If you would like to know our latest news, as well as our insights into WW1, make sure you bookmark this page or sign up to our newsletter.

March 2024 News from No.fifty6, Spring is Here After a Busy Month

Posted on 31st March 2024 by Julie and David Thomson in General News.

March 2024 News from No.fifty6, Spring is Here After a Busy Month This comes with wishes that you have had a Happy Easter Weekend as we Spring forward an hour into the lighter evenings here in Europe.

Wow, where has March gone? It has been a busy, varied and rewarding month that has flown by, with so many interesting people and stories shared.

Weather-wise it has been a real mixed bag. Interminable rain, grey skies, with blue-sky days counted on one hand. Despite this the daffodils are defiantly showing Spring is here and the quality of the light improves, with a rich quality which illuminates the landscape when the sun peeps out from the clouds. Like a camera obscura revealing its magic.

We often think and remark that Nature does win over War. We see it here in the landscape  once so ravaged and witness to so much death and destruction has been taken back by nature, reclaimed as it were. It’s just humankind who messes things up. Sentiments echoed in this lovely, poem:

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February 2024  - News from No.fifty6 - Leaping into March!

Posted on 29th February 2024 by Julie and David Thomson in General News.

February 2024  - News from No.fifty6 - Leaping into March! Often February is a bridge between winter and spring  but this February has had it’s wild moments  - it has felt like the month has a life of its own, contrary, exerting authority over the weather. We have had stormy days, high winds, a lot of rain and very few blue-sky days with a chill still very much in the air. While our spring flowers are beginning to poke their heads above the soil, they are not yet brave enough to come out fully and expose their Spring glory.  Walks out have meant coats, boots, gloves, hats and a dogged determination. A trait which our loyal customers have had and it has been lovely to have them here exploring the battlefields and sharing stories. In return for braving the elements in February you get to share the battlefields in their pared back beauty. No high crop to spoil the view, nature and wildlife around you, silence, no footfall  other than your own, and of course the unique history can truly envelope you, giving up its secrets.

There has been a lot keeping us busy this month as well as finding time to go out and explore and discover new stories. Living on The Somme, we never get bored.

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January 2024 News from No.fifty6 - Snow, Hardy Visitors and More

Posted on 31st January 2024 by Julie and David Thomson in General News.

January 2024 News from No.fifty6  - Snow, Hardy Visitors and More January brings with it a feeling of of new beginnings, and we certainly hope 2024 is a good one for all the No.fifty6 community. The star this month has been the weather, ever changeable, defining the landscape. After a mild December, the temperatures plunged for most of January. Minus 10 on some nights and below freezing some days too with freezing rain. We had a considerable dump of snow mid month, which is more unusual these days. While it brings a new beauty to the landscape  it disrupts for a day or two.  It was lovely though to put the boots on and walk with the crunch of snow underfoot the only sound. So peaceful. Then a period of wetter and windy weather followed and the snow disappeared, but at month end it is more stable, with some blue sky days but still chilly. 

During January there is a stark beauty to the landscape here, it is laid bare and invites you in to explore even on the coldest day. David says it is the best time to see the historic landscape as the contours and topography are clearly visible. No crops to spoil the view.  Trench runs in the woods become visible, without their cover of undergrowth. Our walks take on a new dimesion as we spot new things, a shell hole here, a bunker there.

And in January, no matter the weather, the farmers continue to work, ploughing, seeding, and already some areas already have a green thin coat, new life emerging. Others have a rich deep brown of furrows of life-giving soil.

So as we trudged in snow and thought about all the history around us, the beautiful landcape and the cyclical nature of life around here, we couldn’t help but think of Wilfred Owen’s beautiful poem:

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Happy New Year from No.fifty6, Here’s to 2024

Posted on 31st December 2023 by Julie and David Thomson in General News.

Happy New Year from No.fifty6, Here’s to 2024 1st January,  the dawn of a New Year which we hope will be filled with good times for all, and above all health and happiness. Thank you to everyone who sent us cards and festive messages and we wish everyone a Happy New Year. We may not be able to single handedly eradicate war, suffering, grief, cost of living pressures, worries and loss, but if each of us does what we can to make this a better world, then that is worth a New Year wish.  And of course we will be here to do what we love best, to see guests and friends throughout 2024  - there is nothing we love more than sharing The Somme with you. 

We took time out in December as it has been such a busy 2023 so we had a little break away to recharge our batteries and also spent Christmas with family. As much as we love what we do, we needed time for reflection and “us time” before we gear up for what looks to be a busy 2024.

So, with thoughts of Christmas we re-read this poem.

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November 2023 News - All our News from The Somme

Posted on 30th November 2023 by Julie and David Thomson in General News.

November 2023 News - All our News from The Somme November, November, where did you go? The month has past by here in a blur of activity.

So, what has been going on this November?

The weather has been wet, wet, wet! The wettest November we can remember for ages. Oh, and not forgetting Storm Ciaran who blew in with a savage intensity. Luckily, no damage here, but the Pas De Calais just north of us has seen some of the worst flooding for a generation. It also blew down some of the large trees in Newfoundland Park. We have had the odd, chilly, blue-sky day thrown in and even our first frosts of the winter. The light has sometimes been exquisite, the rain bringing clouds and rainbows and the mists bringing a surreal, ethereal beauty as we look across our beautiful landscape. Still the farmers toil, the tractors clogged with mud, deep ploughing and reseeding in evidence. Final crops such as sugar beet have been collected. The landscape while the same, changes its quilt for winter, already a green hue from new seedlings.

What poetry has inspired us this month?

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