Public access enhancements around the Ash Ranges fence line
Further to the announcement concerning measures taken at Ash Ranges in relation to COVID-19, the MOD can now provide further detail concerning the ongoing programme of works to improve public access. Additional funding has been secured via DIO’s Conservation Stewardship Fund (CSF), which in addition to improving access to the west of Ash Ranges will also support a CSF-led project to provide a permissive circular route for cyclists, walkers and, where practical, equestrians around the full perimeter of the Range Danger Area. This will be available to the public 24/7, even when firing is taking place. It will provide a continuous off-road circular route of some 8.7 miles, one of the largest in Surrey and, subject to the current situation, will be complete in the next few months.
As regards Ash Parish specifically, these works also include improvements to the paths running north off Heathvale Bridge Road, adjacent to the old St John’s Ambulance, and further south off Chandlers Road, adjacent to the Health Centre, as well as improvements to existing ditch crossings and surface repair. This work will not only improve access from Ash Vale to the training areas immediately outside the range, but will also link existing perimeter gates, thus enabling access to the wider Range Danger Area. Of course subject to Byelaws, and when the flags are down and no live firing is taking place.
For reference see the maps below. The black lines represent usable paths, with the grey/green sections showing where Landmarc, DIO’s industry partner, have carried out vegetation clearance in order to ensure easier compliance with social distancing requirements. Where applicable Landmarc have also confirmed that site lines are clear so where social distancing is difficult, for example around the Landmarc workshops near Greatbottom Flash, improved visibility along the paths should make it easier to take appropriate and timely action to maintain the specified two metres distance from other persons on the route.
Defence Infrastucture Organisation
Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) are responsible for the Security and Public Access at Ash Ranges.