In the 13th century, Damme was the port for Bruges, linked to it by the Reie River.
The river has now been canalised into the long, straight, treelined and picturesque Damse Vaart, which continues across the Dutch border to Sluis.
The line of the town’s star-shaped fortifications can still be traced by rows of tall poplar trees and a moat.
It was the site of the Battle of Damme in 1213
Photograph: Murdo Macleod for the Guardian.