The Polygoonbos (Polygon Forest) is located on the Mid-West Flemish ridge. It is a paradise for people and animals. Children can romp around in the play area. You can take lovely walks along the beautiful avenues. The forest even has a patch of heathland, where sheep graze lushly. This forest is also the place-to-be to spot many animals: birds of prey, hares, foxes, … . Indeed, it is one of the most important nesting places in the region for birds of prey. At night, bats watch over the forest. The forest even contains an area of heathland, where sheep graze lushly. In turn, the pools are the ideal biotope for frogs, salamanders and dragonflies.
In our region, World War I is never far away. This serene setting is home to the Buttes New British Cemetery. Across the street is the smaller Polygon Wood Cemetery. Tucked deep in the greenery, you’ll even discover remnants of some bunkers: Scott Post and the New Zealand Bunkers.
Pinch of history
The Polygoon forest is a remnant of a large forest that was once owned by the Augustinian abbey of Zonnebeke and the Benedictine abbey of the Nonnebossen. In the 19th century, it was already being used by the military and a shooting range was built and a large horse race track was established. During the first year of the war, the front ran aground here. The Germans built bunkers and shelters here. In 1917, this site was taken by the 1st Australian Division and the 5th Australian Division.
In the forest, which today is ecologically managed by the Agency for Nature and Forests, some bunkers remain as reminders of the Great War.