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MoD Enforcing 1976 Public Right Of Way Bylaw

BloggingFitBloggingFit Posts: 919
edited August 2015 in MTB general
This is quite important for anyone riding on MoD land at the moment. I'm sure many are aware that last year the MoD said about stepping up it's policing of the public using their land for riding, dog walking etc and for a while all went quiet and largely forgotten about.

I went out for a quick lunchtime ride today and got stopped by an MoD LandRover as I was going into Deepcut and was asked if I was aware of the Bylaw and that I shouldn't be riding on the land. He didn't tell me to leave but did point out that should I have an accident then I wouldn't be covered by any insurance on their part. I could have easily carried on with my ride into Deepcut but felt as I had been advised politely I wouldn't cause any issues as I will continue to try and ride there.

Had a pleasant chat with the guy for around 10 mins about the whole issue and the situation appears to be that the MoD is now starting to ramp up enforcing the Bylaw. This is due to more troops coming back into the UK and more training exercises being run as a result. In Deepcut they have been building new housing for months now.

Apparently they had looked into issuing a permit system but decided against it as they have seen how it failed at Swinley and that they simply don't have the resources to police it effectively. This makes me think that in reality they won't be able to enforce the Bylaw in terms of actively patrolling the area. It may well be a case of pot luck if you run into anyone patrolling, like I did today, or if you stumble upon troops on exercise which is far more common. In the past a blind eye tended to be cast but I think now they will be enforcing and asking you to leave instead.

Locally this seems to be in the following areas:

Deepcut
Tunnel Hill
Ash Ranges
St Catherine's Wood
Paschal Wood
Caesars Camp
Pirbright Ranges
Any other associated MoD land in and around these areas.

Nationally it may be worth for those that ride on MoD land to be aware that things may be stepped up for you too.
Bird Aeris : Trek Remedy 9.9 29er : Trek Procaliber 9.8 SL
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Posts

  • RockmonkeySCRockmonkeySC Posts: 15,247
    I used to ride around Salisbury plain when they were enforcing it before. The worst they ever did was escort people off the land. Never heard of them prosecuting and I don't think they can.
  • Antm81Antm81 Posts: 1,406
    I'm pretty certain the wouldn't prosecute, I've used Salisbury plain a lot and know people even drive across it as a short cut. Also the aldershot training area is used a lot by cyclists and I know that they aren't being discouraged from riding there, plus I believe they've been allowing event out the back of Minley.
  • BloggingFitBloggingFit Posts: 919
    Antm81 wrote:
    I'm pretty certain the wouldn't prosecute, I've used Salisbury plain a lot and know people even drive across it as a short cut. Also the aldershot training area is used a lot by cyclists and I know that they aren't being discouraged from riding there, plus I believe they've been allowing event out the back of Minley.
    Aldershot is part of the area being clamped down (Caesars Camp and Rushmore Arena).

    I asked about the racing that goes on in these areas and they are exempt due to being organised events using pre-cut and approved trails. One organisation got in trouble recently for not sticking to pre-approved trails in their race on MoD land and they have now banned them from organising races on their land.
    Bird Aeris : Trek Remedy 9.9 29er : Trek Procaliber 9.8 SL
  • Antm81Antm81 Posts: 1,406
    Was it the military who stopped you or one of the White land rovers that are used by the range wardens etc?

    Strange as I've spent a fair bit of time in and around Caesars camp in the last couple of months and we've had no direction to move people away, in fact we just gave a friendly hello and let them get on (not just cyclists but runners etc.)

    Unless they were going to impact on a training scenario or for safety reasons I've never known of people generally being turned away from MoD land.
  • BloggingFitBloggingFit Posts: 919
    Antm81 wrote:
    Was it the military who stopped you or one of the White land rovers that are used by the range wardens etc?

    Strange as I've spent a fair bit of time in and around Caesars camp in the last couple of months and we've had no direction to move people away, in fact we just gave a friendly hello and let them get on (not just cyclists but runners etc.)

    Unless they were going to impact on a training scenario or for safety reasons I've never known of people generally being turned away from MoD land.
    Was military not landmarc.

    This was a first for me too today as I saw a few training exercises up till a couple of weeks ago with no issue. I usually ask roughly where they will be and then just avoid. I imagine some are enforcing and others aren't but is looking like it may now escalate.
    Bird Aeris : Trek Remedy 9.9 29er : Trek Procaliber 9.8 SL
  • Antm81Antm81 Posts: 1,406
    I'd just play it by ear for now. I've not heard anything about it at work and it's usually a job for landmarc and not the military themselves.
  • NairnsterNairnster Posts: 602
    Ah, the joys of living in Scotland.
  • Monty DogMonty Dog Posts: 20,614
    I live in Fleet and have been regularly riding the ranges for 25 years - I've never been stopped once in this time, but have changed my route to avoid riding through an exercise. I walk my dogs every morning and ride across as part of my commute to work. There have been a couple of local meetings between MOD and interest groups such as horse riders, ramblers and cyclists - the problem is the local byelaws are badly written, can be shot full of holes and have never been effectively enforced. The MOD's more pressing issues are motorbikes, fly-tipping and dog-poo. If you stick to existing tracks / trails and don't get in the way of the military you're unlikely to have problems IME.
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • FishFishFishFish Posts: 2,152
    I use Thetford quite a bit and good sense as well as some very obvious boundary signage keeps you away from live firing areas - but there is enough space to avoid MOD land. I think that the MOD byelaws are a bit less vague than 'local' bye laws and can be enforced.
    ...take your pickelf on your holibobs.... :D

    jeez :roll:
  • schmakoschmako Posts: 1,982
    Only problem I have is there is a firing range on my local hills, we're not meant to enter the area when the red flags are up. Although I have done many times and have met plenty of approachable soldiers. Again Scotland, so the law may be different..
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,748
    Go to https://www.gov.uk/ministry-of-defence-byelaws and pick the relevant county, each MOD area has it's own byelaw.

    In general they mostly state that any horse riding, cycling or using any other vehicle is banned from anywhere except the designated roads such as in section 3-(1) (c) of this one https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/s ... _plain.pdf for Salisbury Plain
  • Antm81Antm81 Posts: 1,406
    The Rookie wrote:
    Go to https://www.gov.uk/ministry-of-defence-byelaws and pick the relevant county, each MOD area has it's own byelaw.

    In general they mostly state that any horse riding, cycling or using any other vehicle is banned from anywhere except the designated roads such as in section 3-(1) (c) of this one https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/s ... _plain.pdf for Salisbury Plain

    Salisbury plain is a huge live firing area so there is always a chance that there is unexploded ordnance around, hence why they state you need to stick to the roads.

    Generally as long as it's safe I've never seen a problem with civilians using the training areas of they don't interfere with any training etc.
    schmako wrote:
    Only problem I have is there is a firing range on my local hills, we're not meant to enter the area when the red flags are up. Although I have done many times and have met plenty of approachable soldiers. Again Scotland, so the law may be different..

    I'd think twice about entering under red flags, that area will be dangerous should something go wrong.
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,748
    Antm81 wrote:
    Salisbury plain is a huge live firing area so there is always a chance that there is unexploded ordnance around, hence why they state you need to stick to the roads.
    Hmm, well it doesnt say you can't walk, so I guess that's safe when coming across unexploded ordnance while a bike is not....

    I checked a few of the byelaws, most said similar, e'g' 4-(2) in this one https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/s ... _lands.pdf where there are no live ranges.
  • Antm81Antm81 Posts: 1,406
    It's not just live though, even blank munitions would have the same controls.

    There is a difference between walking at a couple of miles an hour though and cycling in terms of just how much you'll see.

    Most of it is to cover their backs though, if they can say you aren't supposed to be there, they have far less responsibilities should anything happen. I'd never ignore red flags though when a round from a standard rifle is more than capable of travelling 3km+
  • Ask them what powers do they have to enforce it? And if you ride what can they do about it?

    Almost certain they have no more powers that you or I.
    "The Prince of Wales is now the King of France" - Calton Kirby
  • grenwgrenw Posts: 788
    I ride the Deepcut area (Tunnel, Porridgepot) twice a week or so and have never had more than a polite 'Hi' from the squaddies and only been asked to move along once. It was done in a friendly way and even came with suggestions on where there would be no troops. I will always avoid groups of troops though. It's their playground after all.

    To be honest, if they were really serious about stopping mountain biking then they wouldn't allow all of the races to be held there. About 10 or so a year are held in the area (one last week) and in many eyes it's a statement that the area is open access. It also draws more of people to the area - for the weeks after a race the number of riders grows massively.

    It's all a bit of a mess with conflicting stories from lots of riders. Positive sounds are coming from the Army though after meetings with a local rider group although I've also heard that they are now more likely to enforce the byelaws which state that you're only supposed to ride the fireroads.
  • peaukpeauk Posts: 3
    I live around the Camberley / Deepcut area and use to enter the Ash Ranges / Aldershot and District site from the Mytchett Place Road, near the Tunnel area. I find these days that the Red Flags are up all the time and therefore cannot enter.
    I've tried to look to see if there is an actual schedule that they have. Does anyone know?

    I did find a 2015 article:

    https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/425347/20150302-FOI01304-Annex_A.pdf

    The article mentions that this whole area is meant to be out of bounds even when the red flags are down.
    But then the 1983 bylaws that have not been updated say otherwise:

    https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/39513/ash_ranges.pdf

    Do you guys have any information about the red flags, times or schedules of this area?
  • Monty DogMonty Dog Posts: 20,614
    The MoD refuse to provide times / schedules for exercises for security reasons. They do anticipate increased use of the ranges / training areas in the next few years as they bring more soldiers back from Germany. The Trail Action Group has been lobbying for controlled access - a public campaign successfully forced MoD to change it's position to users on Hankley Common.
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • peaukpeauk Posts: 3
    The MoD refuse to provide times / schedules for exercises for security reasons. They do anticipate increased use of the ranges / training areas in the next few years as they bring more soldiers back from Germany. The Trail Action Group has been lobbying for controlled access - a public campaign successfully forced MoD to change it's position to users on Hankley Common.

    Thanks for the reply.
    Yeah that is what I thought (security reasons). It would be good to know an estimated time of day or day of the week that they are not using it. Even if it was from our own experience of when it is not being used.
    I've been down several times this week with every time having to turn around as red flags are up.
    I've tried Wednesday, Friday and today (saturday) all around the noon to 2pm time.

    I did read somewhere that is was not used on Mondays & Thursdays and then not used after 4pm, but i'm not so sure how accurate that is considering i've heard it being used at 10:30pm.
  • RockmonkeySCRockmonkeySC Posts: 15,247
    It seems to be completely random times on the ranges around Warminster
  • During the week Landmarc tend to start locking the Ash Ranges gates from around 7.30am and open up around 5pm onwards depending on what event is running. Weekends are more likely to be open through the day although I have noticed on a Sunday they are closed through the day. You can call the Senior Range Officer the same day to see whether they is anything on.

    You're not missing much in the way of riding there though as the better riding is in the Tunnel Hill side. If you are using it to access Ash Woods on the other side then you can get to those via the canal instead. Otherwise there is a route that follows to the west of the ranges and can be accessed from the firing range off Grange Road and comes out at the one at Henley Gate off the Aldershot Road
    Bird Aeris : Trek Remedy 9.9 29er : Trek Procaliber 9.8 SL
  • Antm81Antm81 Posts: 1,406
    All depends on the range as to times it will be open/closed. Usually most day ranges have a last round time of about 4.30pm, although night ranges can run through to midnight, not all are available for night firing though. Units can quite often finish early so then it all depends on landmarc opening up the access again.

    As for days of the week it's very hard to predict when they will be used as they have to be booked by individual units and cancellations and last minute bookings can happen frequently.

    It's highly unlikely that areas covered by red flags would be changed as each range has a safety template which they won't allow people to encroach on to.
  • FishFishFishFish Posts: 2,152
    The only time I've been stopped - ie no room for discussion was in Thetford and it was at the boundary of a live firing area. Only a very small proportion of military land is used for live firing and it is very good sense to keep well away of it. Live firing is signified by red flags - and of course a lot of noise. There is a safety zone of a couple of km around the firing point to reduce risk of stray munitions. Military land is really good for biking excursions..
    ...take your pickelf on your holibobs.... :D

    jeez :roll:
  • Angus YoungAngus Young Posts: 3,063
    I see tanks and armoured vehicles quite often on Salisbury Plain and the most I've ever got is a friendly wave from a low flying helicopter.
    All the gear, no idea and loving the smell of jealousy in the morning.
    Kona Process 134 viewtopic.php?f=10017&t=12994607
  • cooldadcooldad Posts: 32,601
    I see tanks and armoured vehicles quite often on Salisbury Plain and the most I've ever got is a friendly wave from a low flying helicopter.
    Are you this guy?

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/naked-rambler-could-face-a-lifetime-of-imprisonments-after-european-court-ruling-9823945.html
    I don't do smileys.

    There is no secret ingredient - Kung Fu Panda

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    Parktools
  • Antm81Antm81 Posts: 1,406
    I see tanks and armoured vehicles quite often on Salisbury Plain and the most I've ever got is a friendly wave from a low flying helicopter.

    Salisbury plain is different, very small areas for live firing (relative to the size of the training area) and certainly not for challengers and afvs. Just keep an eye out for stray artillery
  • peaukpeauk Posts: 3
    During the week Landmarc tend to start locking the Ash Ranges gates from around 7.30am and open up around 5pm onwards depending on what event is running. Weekends are more likely to be open through the day although I have noticed on a Sunday they are closed through the day. You can call the Senior Range Officer the same day to see whether they is anything on.

    You're not missing much in the way of riding there though as the better riding is in the Tunnel Hill side. If you are using it to access Ash Woods on the other side then you can get to those via the canal instead. Otherwise there is a route that follows to the west of the ranges and can be accessed from the firing range off Grange Road and comes out at the one at Henley Gate off the Aldershot Road

    Great to get all the replies!

    I'll try out after 5pm and see what happens.
    If I figure out a rough routine that they have I'll post back and let everyone know.

    I quite like the scenery there and the landscape feels like a place somewhere abroad.
  • Angus YoungAngus Young Posts: 3,063
    I see tanks and armoured vehicles quite often on Salisbury Plain and the most I've ever got is a friendly wave from a low flying helicopter.
    Are you this guy?

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/naked-rambler-could-face-a-lifetime-of-imprisonments-after-european-court-ruling-9823945.html

    If it were me the guy in the picture would be pushing a wheelbarrow in front of him.
    All the gear, no idea and loving the smell of jealousy in the morning.
    Kona Process 134 viewtopic.php?f=10017&t=12994607
  • Rode Ash Ranges yesterday, flags were out at the bottom, near the Doctors, got to the top using the side trails and no flags at the top!
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