Waymarking Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire
SPTA is the largest military training area and collection of range complexes in the United Kingdom. SPTA covers one ninth of the county of Wiltshire (94,000 acres) and has some 300 miles of public rights of way, approximately 70 miles of which are in range danger areas, to which access is denied when the ranges are active. The Plain can be very difficult to navigate as not all tracks are shown on Ordnance Survey maps. To make things even more difficult, MoD has inserted some 200 miles of Mendip stone tracks to protect the SSSI and they are not differentiated from unsurfaced tracks on OS maps.
The brief was simple – to waymark Salisbury Plain for the benefit of all users and also for the soldiers using SPTA on a daily basis so they are aware of where civilians have access. The project was enormous. Salisbury Plain covers an area the size of the Isle of Wight. The project was commended by Wiltshire Rights of Way, stating that the project would never had happened without volunteers. The MOD also awarded the Green Lane Association project leader a Sanctuary runner up Award in the Individual Achievement category – quite a rarity for a civilian. The project was completed in 2017 after running for nine years, covering two counties, and all classes of rights of way, where we inserted, repaired or replaced more than 1600 rights of way signs and way marks on the Plain on 50 working days. Volunteers have included Green Lane Association members, TRF members, equestrians, and other interested parties – all co-ordinated by our Wiltshire rep.