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Training areas as wildlife reserves

IIRC Salisbury Plain is the only unspoilt area of chalk downland in the country
It’s not ‘unspoilt’ because ‘Natural England’ decreed that hedges and undergrowth should be grubbed out to make the biggest lawn in Europe. Consequently, most of the wildlife has moved out and squaddies are training on a billiard table.
 
I believe they are Chalk Uplands rather than downlands, a technical distinction between the two areas of which I don’t know the details, I could ask my son who did hid degree dissertation on the affect of farming upon the uplands but he has probably forgotten it all by now.
A distinction lost on me and probably the entire Royal Regiment. I seem to recall that they employ a conservation expert at Larkhill, it’s probably a whole department now. I also recall that there is someone in Range Control, employed full time calculating and plotting the noise template
 
It’s not ‘unspoilt’ because ‘Natural England’ decreed that hedges and undergrowth should be grubbed out to make the biggest lawn in Europe. Consequently, most of the wildlife has moved out and squaddies are training on a billiard table.
When was that?
 
When was that?
At least the last decade. My FIL runs a shoot on the plain and is forever chuntering about it. I’ve been occasionally walking on the plains since the 80s and the lack of wildlife is noticeable.
 
If you ever had access to the database showing all MOD owned land and properties you’d see the MOD is a huge land owner and in surprising places (e.g. barns on a small square of land in the middle of nowhere).

Also, I used to live adjacent to Ash Ranges (just to the east of Aldershot) - miles upon miles of poor quality soil, heathland, marshy ground, low quality woodland. When the ranges weren’t in use, they were open to the public.

The wildlife I found (apart from the everyday garden creatures) included lizards, slowworms, adders, grass snakes, toads, squaddies, kingfishers, woodpeckers (two different types), squirrels, deer, and various odd beetles, moths and BFO ants.

I’d say MOD lands are bastions for obscure wildlife.
Funny you should say that, in todays DT - A giant spider which was feared extinct in the UK has been rediscovered at an army training centre after not being spotted for over 25 years.
 
At MVEE Kirkcudbright, the boffins who came from Chobham and Fort Halstead to use our facilities used to say that it was the only pheasant shoot with an Army range on it!
Something to do with our priorities, you can’t use that area as that is where the release pens are.
As was Otterburn!
 
I grew up with my nearest bus stop on the northwest corner of the site. Many's the time I spent there as a child, and in 1977 it was the base for 15/19H and our Newcastle Freedom Celebration Parade. Because the camp was oversubscribed, I slept at home.
Was that the barracks with the WW2 German anti tank gun by the camp guard room. I remember the ranges from when 72 (V) Engr Reg used to do their shooting camps back in the early 70s.
 
Enough years have passed for me to now admit to (and apologise for) parking my lump of a CVR(T) on a patch of range that is home to the last example of a certain species of moss.

Sorry.




. . . and also for the neutral left stick turn as we drove off.


Sorry.



. . . and for the coolant leak.




Sorry.



I feel better for that :)
Please free to mention the boxes of belted link you buried. We did all over the now conservation area on SPTA. Soon some little Saxon body will be dug up by Wessex archaeology clutching a smoke grenade!
 
Is that public ally available?, just thinking some conservation groups might be interested in it
I last saw it when working as a teacher in matters environmental, when it could be acquired by subscription iirc.
Is that public ally available?, just thinking some conservation groups might be interested in it
Sanctuary magazine, now available online as PDF downloads from gov. uk
 
Please free to mention the boxes of belted link you buried. We did all over the now conservation area on SPTA. Soon some little Saxon body will be dug up by Wessex archaeology clutching a smoke grenade!

Link? Buried?

Never!

Always returned with empty bullet cans, working on the premise that cold and huddled masses of my people had sacrificed so much to provide me and mine with the tools to ensure their protection, we were duty bound to ensure that no sand dune survived the encounter :)
 

AlienFTM

MIA
Book Reviewer
Was that the barracks with the WW2 German anti tank gun by the camp guard room. I remember the ranges from when 72 (V) Engr Reg used to do their shooting camps back in the early 70s.
I don't remember one, but I was a teenager. Who knows?
 
And the Pentlands. That was a cracking walk up grouse shoot.
What! I used to be the Secretary of the shoot that used that land, it was poor, very poor in the last years. It was over grazed, walked and cycled over by half of Edinburgh and if we saw more five brace we were surprised.
 

9.414

Old-Salt
The range area at Magilligan also had a SSSI in the last century and I was the MOD representative with the relevant worthies who occasionally came to do surveys and needed access so they would not get shot or arrested. There was a small section of monitored land where they checked from year to year in the danger area.

Flying bullets successfully kept away all walkers who would pluck all the rare flowers and spoil the environment. The soldiers seldom troubled the flora and fauna, although a few of us did hammer the rabbits in the training area :)
 
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