Clearer signs on Salisbury Plain

From Wiltshire Council : Clearer signs on Salisbury Plain

Thursday 21 March 2013

Area: South

More people will be able to explore the raw beauty of Salisbury Plain after a successful partnership has improved signs and access to the 280 miles of public rights of way there.

The plain is often busy with military operations as soldiers prepare for operations, however the MoD, working in partnership with Wiltshire Council and Tread Lightly, are making the routes for walkers and vehicles much clearer so the plain can be used responsibly by all.

Tread Lightly, a group that encourages responsible car and motorbike use on byways, has provided 40 volunteers to help with this large project. They have so far installed more than 350 signposts in their work with Wiltshire Council and the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO).

Dale Wyatt, of Tread Lightly, said:

“This project is key to keeping recreational vehicular users on the legal public rights of way. Driving vehicles where they are not legally allowed tars the responsible user with the same brush and only ends up giving us bad press or risks losing our rights altogether. Salisbury Plain is a great resource, we’ve been signing not only byways open to all traffic, which can be used by all types of user, but also bridleways and footpaths as well, so it’s a win-win situation for everyone.”

At the same time, the MoD has been working with the council to improve the public rights of way network on Salisbury Plain. New routes have been created and some routes have been diverted. Many of these routes have the option of a hard surface for vehicles and cyclists or an adjacent green surface for walkers and horse riders. In areas where red flag restrictions apply, the MoD has moved these boundaries where possible to reduce the number of rights of way closures necessary. Overall, these changes are making the network much easier to follow on the ground.

Dick Tonge, Wiltshire Council’s cabinet member for highways and transport, said:

“This partnership between all three parties is making a real difference in improving countryside access for many communities around Salisbury Plain. We hope to continue this positive work in the future.”

Lieutenant Colonel (retired) Nigel Linge, of the DIO, said:

“DIO’s priority is to support our Armed Forces as they prepare for operations. However, we have a declared presumption in favour of safe public enjoyment of the estate wherever this is compatible with military training and operational requirements, safety, security, conservation and the interests of our tenants. Project UBIQUE seeks to impart certainty, clarity and consistency and to improve the rights of way network. That will enable our soldiers to continue training and the public to safely enjoy Salisbury Plain.”

The work has so far been focused on the Larkhill Ranges, which covers the middle part of the Salisbury Plain Training Area.

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