The Trench Experience


Thousands of men ate, slept, lived, fought and died in the miles of trenches that stretched across the Western Front in World War I. In the 21st Century it is difficult for us to imagine the horror of daily life there but the “trench experience” may help us get a feel for just that.

Acclaimed historian Andy Robertshaw has created a replica First World War trench, as part of his new project – the Centre for Experimental Military Archaeology (CEMA), based at the Kent County Showground, Detling near Maidstone. The trench is open for filming and to school and army groups, offering a rare opportunity to experience trench life. (see separate page on CEMA for more information on the project)

  • Discover how soldiers really lived in the trenches
  • Handle real First World War uniforms, equipment and weapons
  • Learn about the dangers men faced daily on the frontline
  • Experience the cramped living conditions of the soldier

Andy’s former trench was regularly used as a film location –

-October 30 2019 saw the team from the popular primetime food science series , “Food  Unwrapped“,  filming a piece about WW1 sausages at the Elham trench. This will feature in the 17th series of the show which is sold around the world.

– Tom and Natasha Carron, working on the film “1000 Voices” for production company Zapp, write of their experience:-”

“We just wanted to thank you kindly for your amazing help and support with some of the best film sets for our scene.  The location was incredible, and worked out so well.  As you know we have worked on a very tight budget throughout, so the fact that we were able to film several sets – trenches, air raid shelter, field hospital, dig for victory, airfield – at the one location was a real bonus.

“Your help throughout was outstanding – in the upgrade works to the trenches, help & advice with uniforms and vital WW1 details, practical help with marching etc.  The filming day was action packed, but with the great support from yourself and Richard, we are very confident that the footage will be first class (though we’ve only seen a few snippets so far).  Richard’s focus on the field hospital was so helpful and his eye for detail very reassuring.  He told us that he’d seen the various props used many times, but never in such an authentic way – this was a great encouragement to us.

All in all, working with you and your team was a great experience, and we wish you all the best for the future with Battlefield Partnerships.”

Andy also has a growing collection of World War One uniforms, including nurse’s uniforms, for hire under the name ‘Mainly Military Hire’.  To book costumes, to inquire about visits to the trench or to express an interest in using the trench for filming purposes, please contact Andy at:-