The following is also available as a leaflet from the DE at http://www.mod.uk/NR/rdonlyres/7835DCFB-E9A3-48C3-A2BA-0F991AB31FFA/0/dte_info_leaflet_homecounties.pdf
Defence Training Estate
The Defence Training Estate (DTE ) in the UK is controlled by Headquarters DTE, based at Headquarters Training Support Command (Land) at Warminster, near Salisbury.The Estate is sub-divided into 12 regionally-based areas, many of which have been used for training by the military for periods of well over 100 years.
Each has its own headquarters and staff. DTE Home Counties (DTE HC) includes training areas around ‘The Home of The British Army’ – Aldershot – and manages sites from the Isle of Wight in the south, to Ot Moor in Oxfordshire to the north, Barton Stacey in Hampshire to the west, and Ash, Pirbright and Hankley to the east. The Estate covers an area in excess of 26,000 acres (10,500 hectares).
Why the Army Needs to Train
The British Army is held in the highest regard around the world. This respect has been hard-won over recent years in Northern Ireland, the Falkland Islands, the Gulf, the Balkans – and countless peacekeeping operations. But such professionalism does not happen by chance. It is attained by constant, thorough and tough training, in realistic conditions. The Defence Training Estate (DTE) provides the principal facilities to achieve this.
Training in the Home Counties
DTE HC is responsible for the military estate and its contents, both natural and man-made, in the Home Counties. Much of it is shared with farmers, who enjoy normal agricultural usage or grazing rights. The Army’s requirement to use the land for training is paramount, but sensible arrangements are negotiated to ensure that farmers’ animals and crops, and the indigenous flora and fauna, are not subjected to any unnecessary damage.
The Home Counties Training Estate has long been used for live firing of a variety of weapons and – understandably during the years of 2 World Wars – clearance of these areas was not given any priority and large areas of land were fenced off. Many are still off limits to the general public, and it will be many years before they can be cleared to such a degree of certainty that visitors will be permitted. Visitors must therefore never touch any object they find on the military estate.
Strategic Defence Review
The training on many areas has changed or is changing because of the options taken during the Strategic Defence Review. Many units are being re-roled and moved from traditional locations. As a result, areas that have been exclusively used by the infantry and logistical units may now have mechanised regiments carrying out manoeuvres and harbour drills on them. Change is necessarily continuous in the Armed Forces and the pressure on the training areas is relentless. It is essential that they continue to train, as a vital element in maintaining their proud heritage.
Recreation on Training Areas
There is a presumption in favour of public access to the Defence Training Estate, on Public Rights of Way, balanced against the over-riding national requirement for safe and sustainable military training and conservation. This shared use for civilian recreation and the working military means that it is vital that visitors are considerate of the working nature of the areas and behave accordingly.
When visiting a training area that provides access please respect the sites by not causing any disturbance to plants, animals and other visitors. Dog owners should also spare a thought for the soldiers crawling through the undergrowth during training. DTE HC’s bill for clearing ‘fly-tipping’ runs close to £100,000 per year so please take your litter home and help to keep the training areas as clean as possible.
Great care is taken to ensure the safety of these areas, although any land used by the Armed Forces for training can obviously be dangerous – and this applies throughout the DTE HC. Anyone walking on MoD land must obey all signs and bylaws relevant to the area being visited. Remember! Unexploded Ordnance: do not touch any military debris.
Always comply with the following:
- Do not enter areas where there is an obvious military presence.
- Do not approach, touch, or pick up any objects lying on the ground
- Keep to the footpaths and do not deviate from them
- The use of metal detectors is prohibited
- Keep away from all buildings, bunkers and military installations except where it is clearly shown that public access is permitted
- No camping or fires are permitted
- Follow the ‘Country Code’