WE park up next to blocks of faceless grey units behind high railings. It looks like any other industrial estate.

Taking a fenced off path, we walk pass a scrapheap piled high with rusting cars. We reach a road, and on the other side, behind some trees, is a grassy site where two or three poppies bend in the breeze. The noise of passing traffic seems to fade, and we can hear birds chirping in the trees.

Here, a stone’s thrown from the industrial units, is a corner of a field that is forever Yorkshire.

We are a short drive from Ypres, standing at the edge of a shallow trench. Dug more than a century ago, and manned by Yorkshire servicemen, it is the only British trench in the Ypres Salient still preserved on its original alignment.

Discovered by a farmer in the 1990s, the trench was excavated by a group of amateur archaeologists and has now been restored, thanks to a remarkable crowdfunding project - largely supported by people in Yorkshire.

This week I attended the opening of the Yorkshire Trench and Dugout. The event was attended by schoolchildren from the Flemish village of Boezinge, where the trench is located, local dignitaries, a team from In Flanders Fields Museum, which has overseen the restoration, cartoonist Dave Chisholm, who has created two wonderful panoramic illustrations of the site, and John Morrison, a reservist at the Yorkshire Officers’ Training Regiment, who co-ordinated the crowdfunding which has made the project a reality.

The shallow trench was created in spring 1915, on the northern stretch of the Ypres Salient, one of the bloodiest battle sites on the Western Front. Initially dug by French soldiers, the trench was managed by the British. In 1917 a new trench was dug on site, named the ‘Yorkshire Trench’ after the 49th (West Riding) Infantry Division that had manned it from 1915-1916.

Trenches weren’t built to last, and after the war the site was forgotten and became overgrown. But there are countless relics of the Western Front buried beneath fields, gardens and houses of towns and villages in that region of Belgium and France. Even today, our guide told us, people are finding weapons, wire and bullets, alongside toothbrushes, spoons, bottles and other everyday items that once belonged to First World War soldiers.

In 1992 a farmer accidentally came across the remains of the Yorkshire Trench. A team of archaeologists known as The Diggers discovered that the site also included an underground shelter. Further excavations took place in 1998, ahead of a planned expansion of the neighbouring industrial estate, and the remains of more than 200 bodies were recovered. They were buried in cemeteries in the region. Many of the items found in the trench, including the complete toolkit of a weapons repairman, are now at In Flanders Fields Museum in Ypres.

By 2002 The Diggers had restored about 70 metres of the trench, and both dugout entrances. But the fragility of a trench built over 100 years ago meant it was in danger of being lost once again. Its wooden duckboards and sandbags wouldn’t last forever, and earlier this year one of the dugout entrances collapsed.

John Morrison, a softly spoken military man who served in Bosnia, launched a crowdfunding campaign which raised more than £17,000 from Yorkshire donations. Further crowdfunding by the Friends of In Flanders Fields Museum, and grants from Visit Flanders raised funds needed for the restoration. But it’s an ongoing project. For the Yorkshire Trench to survive, it will need further support.

Walking through the trench, running my hand along the sandbags, I tried to imagine the movement of trench life; soldiers polishing boots, maybe writing a letter home, playing a game of cards - before ultimately dying in the mud, a long way from home. Ahead of me were the local schoolchildren, peering into the deep dugout. In this trench is history they can touch, so they remember those who were here before them - the boys who never made it back to Yorkshire.