Military Training Areas
The Coast Path passes through or around a small number of military training areas where use by the public is sometimes restricted. Care must be exercised within these areas at all times – you must keep to the footpath, stay away from all installations and avoid approaching or touching any objects lying on the ground.
Penhale Sands, south of Newquay, North Cornwall.
The South West Coast Path is seaward of the training area and is always available.
To supplement the Coast Path, the MOD has opened a permissive path which continues the route following the red and white range poles south above the beach to the MOD boundary. This provides the opportunity for a circular walk from Perranporth that takes in the beach, the dune ridge and the adjoining dune grassland around the Perran Sands Holiday Centre.
This walk can be extended to pass by the site of St Piran’s Oratory and the recently excavated St Piran’s Church which lies just south of the MOD boundary. Please pay attention to the signs around the training area and do not venture away from the waymarked routes as the training activities carried out on the site are hazardous. For further information please telephone 01637 832001. This information can also be found here.
Tregantle Fort east of Downderry, South-East Cornwall.
When the Ranges to the south of Tregantle Fort are not being used for live firing, the MOD owned beach is open for public use. Access is by the permissive path, which runs to the beach from the car park alongside the highway. The South West Coast Path runs through the Training Area alongside the B3247 so that access is not interrupted by the use of the Firing Ranges.
Firing and non-firing days are known up to 2 weeks in advance. For up to date information on training activities, or for more details go to this web page or – telephone Range Control on 01752 822516 during office hours to check. Live firing notices are issued to the local parish councils, Harbour Masters, Post Offices, coastguards, and published in two newspapers, The Cornish Times and The Western Morning News.
If live firing is in progress red flags will be raised and the access gates locked – do not proceed into the range. If open, keep close to the marked path and, at the far end of the range path, emerge through another security gate onto the National Trust’s Cliff-top path.
Live firing timings are: 01 April – 30 September 7 am – 11.30 pm and 01 October – 31 March 7 am– 11.30 pm. There is no live firing after 3 pm on Sundays. The red flags by day and the red lamp by night indicate that the Range is active and Live Firing is taking place. Please note that these dates and times may be subject to change due to unforeseen circumstances or operational requirements, therefore the only absolute guarantee that there is no firing is the absence of the Red Flags on the range on the day. Changes are posted on the noticeboards next to the sentry posts on the coast footpath.
Chickerell, near Weymouth, Dorset.
The South West Coast Path runs along the northern boundary of Wyke Regis Bridging Camp and the southern boundary of Chickerell Range. Two alternative routes are available, both of which are official routes of the South West Coast Path. Access is available using Fleet Lane alongside Chickerell Camp following the Camp fence line to Chickerell Rifle Range, on Tidmoor Point on FP33, or Coastal Path FP36. Access is available at all times, except when red flags are flying when walkers will be diverted inland around the back of the Range firing point, by signs and access restricting gates, before returning to the Coast Path. Further information is available by contacting 01305 831935. This information can also be found here.
Lulworth Ranges and Tyneham Village, Dorset.
This is the only range where there is not a simple diversion for use when firing is taking place. It is also along a really spectacular section of the coast, and so you should plan to reach this section when the path through is open. Within the range boundary and close to the Coast Path are the Lulworth fossilised forest and the Tyneham (a small village abandoned when the land was acquired by the military during World War 2) and these are both worth a visit.
The Lulworth Range walks and Tyneham Villages are open to the public every weekend in 2021 - with the exception of the following when they will be CLOSED:
- 20 to 21 February 2021
- 13 to 14 March 2021
- 19 to 20 June 2021
- 18 to 19 September 2021
- 02 to 03 October 2021
- 06 to 07 November 2021
In addition to the weekends they are OPEN every day during the following times; all dates are inclusive:
- Christmas: 19 December 2020 to 03 January 2021
- Easter: 02 to 18 April 2021
- May Day - 03 May 2021
- May Half Term: 29 May - 06 June 2021
- Summer: 29 July to 31 August 2021
- Christmas 18 December 2021 to 3 January 2022
The exhibitions in Tyneham School and Tyneham Church are open from 10 am until 4 pm. When no firing is taking place the gates to the walks are opened as near to 9 am on the Saturday morning as possible and remain open until 8 am on Monday morning. The Elmes Grove gate that allows vehicle access to Tyneham is opened at 9 am daily when no firing is taking place and is closed at dusk each evening.
There are car parking facilities at Whiteway and Tyneham. Picnic facilities are also available at Whiteway car park.
Worbarrow Beach is open to the public when the Ranges are open.
Red flags are flown/lamps are lit to indicate live firing during which time access is prohibited to the live firing Range Danger Area.
These firing times are subject to last-minute change, please phone 01929 404819 to listen to an answering machine that will give up-to-date access information to callers.
When the Lulworth Range is closed for firing, the alternatives are either a 13-mile detour around the ranges (partly on roads) or a more attractive option is to catch a bus from West Lulworth to Corfe Castle and then walk along the ridge (which has great views) to the road near Great Wood and then descend down to rejoin the Coast Path at Kimmeridge. Details of the Corfe Castle to Kimmeridge walk can be found here.