- MOD land access
I’m sure many of you, especially those in the south ride on MOD land. As you know, access is governed by the byelaws in place for each area, but typically they allow open access for recreational purposes on foot, and cycle access on roads made up for vehicles. As most MOD ranges are criss-crossed with stone topped tracks, this gives pretty good access, although officially, anything else is off-limits.
Regular cyclists in these area are also aware and respectful of training exercises, so use conflict is minimised. So overall, a reasonable status quo.
BUT recently, I and others have been told to leave MOD land by the wardens – Landmark, who are stating that cycling is not tolerated at all. We have also been informed that as of this April, the MOD will be carrying out patrols and issuing 1 strike notices if we are caught. A 2nd offence will lead to a £500 fine. 😯
But this does seem to contravene the byelaws governing access. The CTC are aware of this as they believe an ongoing byelaw review may be driving a change in approach to cyclists.
The CTC are urging a response to them directly if you are challenged or removed from MOD land. Link to contact them here:
Please do so if this has happened.
My concern is that the stance of the MOD has moved from tolerant straight to no-cyclists whatsoever regardless of the byelaws that do grant access. I am also concerned that whilst I believe the byelaws support access, I’m probably not going to argue much with a man with a gun who is threatening £500 fines, which seems to be the likely situation in 4 weeks time.
So anyone else in the same boat? About to lose access to an area you’ve ridden for years? Any thoughts on how to proceed. I’ll see what the CTC say and hopefully there will be some movement here.Posted 4 years ago
pressure on training area’s is only going to increase as troops return from Germany, the Army is also developing centre’s in UK for particular activities and so the use of the area may be changing
I suggest that the Local Access Forum is also informed. They are a statutory body and therefore should have more cloutPosted 4 years ago
It’s because of the review that is being carried out
either way you look at it access to MOD land is always going to be iffy, you can’t just wander through an exercise (it will also stop the pizza delivery man delivering to grid ref on training areas).
Also remember the byelaws on MOD land are “military” and not “civilian”, as such mean different restrictions.Posted 4 years ago
here you go a bit of googling gives very clear guidance and reasonPosted 4 years ago
Yes, I’m aware of the review, and it is a concern of the CTC. But the current situation is that cyclists are being removed regardless of what the byelaw states.
Most folk are sensible enough not to interfere with military training too, so I doubt there has been a sudden spate of that happening.Posted 4 years ago
Sui – the areas concerned are not subject to Section 28 Directions. They are areas identified for the byelaw review though:Posted 4 years ago
notice that the CTC are taking an interest in the issue, British Cycling wouldn’t know what to do with it.
What’s the problem? BC are working hard to poach the member base from CTC, less CTC members then less money and influence and the more we get “represented” by an organisation that hasn’t got a scooby on mountain biking/ off road access issuesPosted 4 years agoEwanMember
The bylaw review has been on the back burner for ages. I did a FOI request for the project plan and was told there wasn’t one :-/
Have you had anything in writing to say that Landmarc will be operating a two strike policy? TAG (trail action group) who (try) to look at access issues on the aldershot military lands haven’t heard this on the grapevine.Posted 4 years agovariflexSubscriber
Will be interesting as I walk and cycle on Bramshott (almost daily) and Hankley both MOD, near Longmoor and popular with dog walkers, horse riders and cyclists. Would be a real pain if they try to stop us there too. I agree, most of their land is used so infrequently it doesnt make much sense.Posted 4 years ago
The MOD clearly need to realise that as the population of the UK is increasing said population need somewhere to play too.
How much bloody land do they need FCOL.
In their defence, there’s a lot of empty land in this country. You or I are no more restricted from going upto Scotland for a ride than the MOD is for training. We just happen to live in the same area as the barraks. Be greatfull for what we’ve got, if it wasn’t MOD land it would probably have been built on by now, like every other square foot of the area.Posted 4 years ago
How much bloody land do they need
lots, even land that doesn’t have troops physically on it has a role in training as you need space to watch and then move into as an exercise progresses
all this at the same time not standing on the rare flowers, digging up the archaeology and firing things that kill people over long distances in a realistic training environmentPosted 4 years ago
I, and I’m sure most folk here agree that MOD training land is essential for the viability of the armed services. It’s not the amount of land that’s the issue; its how access is agreed between the MOD and stakeholders, and then once agreed and published as byelaws, then how the byelaws are interpreted and upheld that’s now open to question. I’m trying to find a consultee list for the review at the moment so we know who the likely user group stakeholders are that represent the interests of cyclists – hopefully the Local Access Forum amongst others.Posted 4 years agobugpowderdustMember
I’ve had run-ins with Landmarc twice on Longmoor but never on Bramshott (currently completely trashed as they seem to be removing 9 out of 10 trees there and destroying any habitat for anything that existed) and also never on any hassle on Hankley either (troops, film crews all seem friendly there). My wife has also had a heated exchange on Longmoor with the same Landmark employee who has some issues, she was walking the dogs at the time with daughter and grandchild in a pushchair, the fact the dog was off its lead an more than 20ft from them! I’m guessing its the same guy who took stopped you this weekend.
Personally just I just avoid Longmoor these days both for walking and riding as much as I can as its far more relaxing not checking over your shoulder every 30 seconds your out there.Posted 4 years agoparkesieMember
Cycling Ban on permissive tracks
The MoD has now issued a ban on cycling off the bridleways on Hankley Common following an incident involving 15 cyclists and a Landmarc warden:
“From: DIO Ops South
Sent: 04 April 2013 13:37
Subject: Cycling on the DTE Estate
We have received a report this morning that despite one of our Land Wardens asking a group of 20 cyclists to move onto other tracks – particularly as SSE were cutting trees in the vicinity – this warning was ignored.
As a result of this, we can confirm that the default position now applies and that all cyclists must abide by the Byelaws. That is to say, cyclists should stick purely to bridleways and any other public rights of way to which cyclists are entitled to use. No other tracks should be used.”
Cyclists involved in this incident and a walker who witnessed it state that there was no tree cutting going on in the area at the time. The tracks that the cyclists were asked to move to were said to be steep, sandy and unsuitable for cycling.
In 2012 Col. Dickie Bishop gave limited permission for cyclists to use some permissive tracks as well as bridleways on Hankley Common in these words:
“The MoD had no objection to ‘made-up’ permissive paths being used by cyclists, but the use of sand tracks (other than rights-of-way) was not normally permitted, partly for conservation reasons.”
Since then efforts have been made to find out just what was meant by “made up” paths. Unfortunately one Landmarc warden has interpreted this in the strictest possible way and has challenged cyclists on tracks that appeared perfectly suitable for their use, so that it has been difficult to tell just where they can go.
This year an Elstead Councillor attended a meeting with the MoD and reported their response on Cycling:
“I explained that cycling groups needed to know why it would not be possible for them to be able to use all the tracks on Hankley which were currently used by MoD vehicles. The answer I was given was that Hankley was not primarily a recreation area – its main function was military training. To open up all vehicular routes to cyclists would seriously compromise training operations. Furthermore, the MoD would not be able to ensure the safety of cyclists using the tracks, given the current and expected intensity of training in the areas concerned. There was also the question of liability and duty of care – would the MoD be responsible if cyclists injured themselves on poorly maintained permissive tracks?
Lt Col Bishop again made it clear that the MoD’s default position was that cyclists should be confined to using the bridleways and that the concession on the use of ‘made up tracks’ was limited essentially to hardened surfaces which could be used by normal vehicular traffic (not 4WDs). It was up to the Parish Councils and cycling groups to try and identify the boundaries of this concession in ways which would enable effective training to continue in a manner which was safe for both troops and cyclists. I am afraid I do not detect any flexibility in the MoD position on this point, particularly in the light of the information on future troop deployment and their concerns about the increased presence of mountain bikers on the permissive pedestrian routes.”
ADVICE TO CYCLISTS
Given these rules and the known active application of them by the Landmarc Warden, cyclists should do their best to follow them to avoid the sort of problem that has now arisen.
from herePosted 4 years agosomoukSubscriber
As someone who uses MOD land for exercises I can confirm we don’t have enough if anything.
I have an exercise booked over a coming weekend and have to share access to the land with 4 other units. The way the land is managed by Landmarc means they try and get as much footfall on to sections of land as possible to show that it is in use and the funding for that land from the MOD will continue.
As a cyclist we have lots of places to play and I’m sure the MOD won’t ban cyclists completely but may restrict their movements to certain paths so as the ranges can operate and use the land a bit more efficiently.Posted 4 years agotheotherjonvSubscriber
agree in general, it’s their land and we should avoid conflict where possible. arguing the toss, when most of what we do is permissive in nature, is not a good idea.
However, that was a year ago, and the dust has (had) largely settled on that one.
These new ‘initiatives’ by Landmarc seem to be largely unrelated to that incident. As Ewan said, would be good to get some hard evidence on this (not disputing what the warden said to Yak, but you don’t know whether they are always correct with their information, I’ve heard conflicting advice from wardens time and again) which groups like the CTC and other local access groups can then take up through official channels.Posted 4 years ago
theotherjonv – You could be right. This could be a warden with a different take on applying the byelaws. So it would be good to hear from other recent encounters, or if there is any hard evidence about a change in ‘initiatives’. We’ll find out in 4 weeks time regardless though.Posted 4 years ago
Defence Infrastructure Organisation
Byelaws Review Team
PO Box 349
tel: 01252 361986 (answer phone)
For further information on access to the Commons telephone 01420 483375.
for Hankely and Elstead commons
at most you’ll get re-directed, or told to do one, but if you don’t ask you don’t get (just as you have done!!)Posted 4 years ago
Never tried. I think as an individual you’ll get nowhere. If your concern is part of a wider argument put together by the Local Access Forum (South Downs for here) then they, as a consultee to the MOD for purposes of public land use, should have some influence.
So I’m trying this route at present.Posted 4 years agomartibSubscriber
Interesting I was chatting to a LandMarc warden the other week on Salisbury Plain and he was telling me about the issues they have with 4×4’s going off piste and having to call the Police when they ‘gob off’. They don’t seem to have a problem with people using the MoD land along as they stick to the Rights of Way. Also over the last couple of months they have asked people especially 4×4’s to stay off the off road tracks and stay on the hardcore tracks due to the damage that is being caused with the rain. A group of 4×4’s have even trashed an operational rough runway on the Plain.Posted 4 years ago
I also noticed that they had notices up closing some of the ‘dead end’ Rights of Way around the Larkhill impact area but were putting in Rights of Way to link up paths around the perimeter. Which I will be keeping an eye on.
It could just be a minority ruining for the majority, but we must remember that the MoD allow us to use ‘their’ land and having run in’s when they ask people to use alternate routes or to stay away from area’s is only going to put their backs up and lead to them restricting access and coercing people to go elsewhere i.e. fines etc. Apparently this was done at Deptford Down a few years back when too many photographers started turning up at the airstrip and obstructing air operations, apparently they were not sticking to the byway that runs alongside and wandering all over the airstrip, causing aircraft to abort landings and training. The MoD Police started issuing tickets for cars parked obstructing the byway allegedly.pantsMember
I can confirm that a meeting was held in Longmoor Camp Liss, at the latter end of last year about the MoD’s Estate and it’s “Recreational use by Cyclists” in the South East.
The Commander Col Dickie Bishop stated to his Training Area Marshals (Uniformed) and Land Wardens (Non UniformedLandmarc) That ALL Cyclists were to be removed from all local Training Areas with immediate effect, however after the meeting the boots on the ground were not prepared to enforce this and is still the case.
The Hankley Common incident did stir things up a great deal for Cyclists and yes it did not help with the over Zealous aggressive Warden.
Cyclists are Tolerated on The MoD Estate at the moment but incidents like Hankley do not help , so please sign up to these guys TAG who are working to secure access on MoD Land.
If Cyclists don’t help themselves you could see the Estate getting fenced off.
Happy Cycling! 😀Posted 4 years ago
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