ELMS Freedom Trails
The Freedom Trails are commemorative walks dedicated to the escape line helpers, and the escapers and evaders of World War 2. It would be impossible to walk the exact routes used during wartime, because for reasons of security, weather conditions, preferences of the guides etc, the routes varied, although the collecting points and final destinations were usually consistent.
The commemorative walking trails are chosen to be representative of the routes walked in WW2, and also to be accessible to as many people as possible who wish to follow in the steps of history. The trails are ‘tutorial’, taking in key historical locations, and they enable trail-walkers to experience some of the hardships and difficulties undertaken by the helpers and evaders.
The trails are open to anyone fit enough to participate – the difficulty of routes ranges between ‘moderate’ and ‘severe’. The walks are not competitive, and participants from several nations, and of varied walking experience, combine to support each other along the routes. On some events it is possible to arrange for veterans and non-walkers to accompany the walkers, using transport to meet up at pre-arranged locations.
The Trails are listed on the Events Diary page and also in the quarterly ELMS Newsletter. Please contact the Secretary to register your interest in specific trails.
If you are not an ELMS member and wish to join the Society and participate in any trails, please contact us for further information.
DISCLAIMER: If you undertake any activity using information contained in this website then you do so at your own risk. The WW2 Escape Lines Memorial Society cannot be held liable for any injury or loss howsoever incurred and by taking part in any activity, no matter how contractually remote, you absolve the WW2 Escape Lines Memorial Society of any liability. Escapers and evaders used many of these varied routes in their attempt to avoid detection or pursuit because, by their very nature, the routes were remote, rugged and hard. You should remember this and ensure that your personal fitness is of a sufficiently high level and that you carry appropriate equipment and personal insurance. Where guides are provided by the WW2 Escape Lines Memorial Society, or by other organisations, the same disclaimer applies.
INSURANCE: All participants must ensure that they have adequate insurance cover for the activities involved in the instructions issued for each specific event. [N.B. Many ordinary ‘holiday / travel insurance’ policies are unsuitable cover for trail walking activities.] In addition, participants will need an EHIC [European Health Insurance Card] for events within the European Community.
The WW2 Escape Lines Memorial Society [ELMS], and local organisers overseas, do not provide insurance cover for people attending events mentioned on this website. All participants therefore take part entirely at their own risk, and must have their own appropriate insurance.
EQUIPMENT: Climatic and terrain conditions can vary. Participants must have suitable weatherproof clothing and footwear. Participants registering for trails that are organised by ELMS are issued with recommended kit lists, together with a detailed risk assessment. Please ensure that you acquire similar details from other organisers.
FITNESS: As trails usually cover an average of 15 miles per day, over rugged, hilly/mountainous terrain and in varied and unpredictable climatic conditions, it is necessary to train for events in similar conditions – gym-based training is not a realistic substitute.
Commercial Organisations Providing Trails Related Walks
As the number of events we can support is limited we are willing to support organisations that can provide a similar experience, but on a commercial basis. However, although we are prepared to publish links to these organisation we must make it clear that we have no personal experience of the activities that they offer. If you are interested then please contact them directly.
Pyrenees Mountain Adventure. Web site here
SOMRIU Hiking A new venture, run by a small Spanish company is now also offering walks which follow some of the routes used by escapers/evaders during WW2. Based in the town of Sort they can offer a variety of walks/routes. For much more detailed information have a look here.