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Salisbury Plain Training Area

SPTASalisbury Plain Training Area (SPTA) is the only training area in the UK suitable for large unit and formation training with tracked and other armoured vehicles. Under the terms of the Nugent Report 1972 (enshrined in Salisbury Plain Military Lands Byelaws), members of the public have access to the area for recreational purposes when it is not in use for its primary purpose of training.

The area is governed by the Salisbury Plain Military Lands Byelaws and that part of it which lies within the Range Danger Areas is also governed by Range Byelaws (ie Bulford Ranges, Larkhill Artillery Range, and Imber Range) which are additional to the Military Lands Byelaws governing the manoeuvre area. A summary of the Byelaws is shown at the foot of this page.

People on foot may walk virtually anywhere, but see the prohibited activities that are shown below (dogs must be kept under control and respect must be shown for tenant farmers' livestock, which may be grazing in enclosures in the area), but civilian vehicles are restricted to Rights of Way (ROW) (Byeways) and military roads made up for vehicular use (these are classified as as Permissive Byeways) and the whole area is criss-crossed with Byeways, Bridleways, and Footpaths; the details of these ROW are complicated and too detailed to be shown on this website, but anyone who would like to know more should, in the first instance, contact the Councillor with Responsibility for Liaising with the Military or for ROW (as shown on the Contacts page of the website and at present the same person); it is also possible to access the Wiltshire Council mapping in which all ROW are shown – click on the following link :- ROW mapping

Members of the public must show respect for all military training activity and, where this is encountered, it must be given a wide berth wherever possible. Drivers of civilian vehicles driving on Range Roads must give way to military convoys.

HQ SPTA publishes a monthly Newsletter and the latest copy may be found under a separate tab on this website.

Important extracts from the Byelaws governing the area are shown below :-
(These extracts are a guide and full details are displayed on the Byelaw signs on the Plain. The paragraph numbers shown refer to the appropriate numbers of the Byelaws)

Control of Traffic – cyclists, riders, motor cyclists, & vehicle drivers are to:
2. (2). (a). Comply with all signs.
2. (2). (b). Drive with due care, attention and consideration for others.
2. (3). Use lights as if on a highway.
2. (4). (d). Be "road legal" (i.e. taxed, MOT, insured etc).

Prohibited Activities.
Unless on military duty or with specific permission to do something (eg. licensed shoots,SPTA licensed burger vans, and tenant farmers), the following activities are prohibited :-
1. a. Enter an area which is enclosed (Note 1), or has signs banning or restricting entry, or is under cultivation.
1. b. Enter any plantation of trees.
1. c. Ride/drive on anything but a road suitably constructed and made up for vehicular traffic (Notes 2 and 3).
1. d. Carry out a trade or business.
1. e. Gather for public meetings.
1. f. Camp, caravan, bivouac or sleep out.
1. g. Dump rubbish of any kind or abandon cars.
1. h. Damage, cut or remove plants, trees, wildflowers etc.
1. i. Remove sand.
1. j. Pasture any animal.
1. k. Pursue, kill, shoot, catch, snare or trap game, fish or other animals. Take eggs or destroy nests.
1. l. Damage, spoil, deface or remove anything.
1. m. Dig or search for anything.
1. n. Be in possession of a metal detector.
1. o. Post or affix bills or notices.
1. p. Possess cross bow, fire arm, air gun, ammunition or explosives.
1. q. Fly model aircraft.
1. r. Hang glide, parascend, or fly a kite.

2. a. Loiter, commit any nuisance, or behave in an indecent or unseemly manner.
2. b. Cause nuisance, annoyance, or injury to another.
2. c. Do anything liable to cause a fire.
2. d. Fail to keep a dog or any animal under control (provided a loose dog can be controlled, it is not necessary to keep it on a lead).

Notes :-
1. "Enclosed". Means "fenced, hedged or walled" and includes buildings.
2. Byelaw 10. Nothing in these byelaws shall affect the lawful use of a public right of way, or lay-by, or parking place provided for users of the right of way.
3. Driving Off Road. Under the Highways Act a driver may only leave a road (a ROW) by 15 yards and then only to park. This is also applied to permissive stone tracks, concrete and tarmac roads on SPTA. Mud or grass tracks are not "made up" and their use is therefore an offence unless on an appropriate ROW (eg. a Byway for vehicles).
4. These extracts refer only to items which apply to Schedule 3 (Training) Land.
5. Imber Ranges, Larkhill Artillery Range (SPTA West and Central) and Bulford Ranges (SPTA East) have additional byelaws which restrict unauthorised access. Details can be found on their range boundaries. When the ranges are in use, the boundaries of the Danger Area are marked by Red Flags (and red lanterns by night) and Warning Signs; members of the public must not cross inside these boundaries when the Red Flags (or red lanterns) are flying.
6. SPTA in its entirety is patrolled by Land Wardens (in Land Rovers) and, whenever one is encountered, his instructions must be obeyed. In addition, the instructions of any uniformed Army NCO, Warrant Officer, or Officer, any uniformed representative of the MOD Police, and any representative of the Military Police, must be similarly obeyed.
7. The full Byelaws for the Military lands, Bulford (which are at present under long term review) may be found by clicking on the following link :- Download

8. The word " Byeway" is used as shorthand for the full title "Byeway Open to All Traffic" (BOAT).

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