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Chance to walk through replica First World War trenches in Shropshire (25th February 2014)

Visitors to a Shropshire tourist attraction will be able to walk through replica First World War trenches to mark the 100th anniversary of the conflict’s outbreak.

The Trenches through the Ages centre will open at Park Hall Countryside Experience, near Oswestry, in August.

Park Hall was the site of one of the largest training camps in the country.

Large numbers of soldiers, including poet Wilfred Owen, spent time at the camp on their way to the front.

Funding for the £15,000 project, which will also include replica trench systems from the Second World War and modern conflicts, such as Iraq and Afghanistan, has been agreed by Shropshire Council.

Mark Hignett, of Oswestry Museum, who is helping to lead the project, said: “We are trying to include everything you could have come across in the trenches. The main trench will be 150 feet (45 metres) long and the idea is to show what we have learned from 100 years of trench warfare.

“People will be able to explore front-line trenches, with machine gun posts, to the basic shelters men used to cut into banks.”

Richard Powell, a director at Park Hall, said he hoped the free attraction would appeal to schools.

“There are lots of children who visit Park Hall anyway, so it will be a good opportunity for them to learn about the war,” he said.

At the outbreak of the First World War, Major Wynne Corrie moved into Shrewsbury, and handed over the hall to the military as its headquarters.

Some 14,000 troops were stationed there, which had risen to 21,000 troops within a fortnight.