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.
- Tregantle Fort east of Downderry, south-east Cornwall. In 2013 non-firing weekends (Friday to Sunday inclusive) will normally alternate throughout the year starting with 4th, 5thand 6th January. But please note that live firing may still take place on these weekends if operational requirements demand. In addition there is no live firing on Bank Holiday weekends nor on any day in August. Other non-firing days are known up to 2 weeks in advance. Go to this web page or – telephone Range Control on 01752 822516 during office hours to check. 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 closely 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 0700hrs – 2330 hours and 01 October – 31 March 0700hrs – 2230 hours. There is no live firing after 1500 hours 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, 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 coastal footpath.
- Chickerell, near Weymouth, Dorset. Two alternative routes are available, both of which are official routes of the South West Coast Path. When the red flag is flying, firing is taking place and you must use the waymarked route around the landward side of the military ranges. When firing is not taking place, a more seaward route takes you through the ranges.
Lulworth, Dorset. The South West Coast Path follows a permissive route through the Army Ranges and this route is only available when firing is not taking place. Normally it is available during school holidays and at weekends.
In 2013 this section of the Coast Path is open between (all dates are inclusive)
Easter: 29th March - 7th April,
Bank Holiday: 4th -6th May,
Spring: 25th -2nd June,
Summer: 27th July - 1st September,
Christmas: 21st December - 5th January 2014.
Weekends when the Coast Path will not be available are 19th / 20th January, 9th/10th March, 20th/21st April, 15th / 16th June, 28th/29th September, and 16th/17th November.
However you should always phone the 24 hour answering service 01929 404819 to check that the route will be open. Information can also be found on this website.
If firing is taking place, red flags are flown and the gates are locked. When only open at the weekends, the gates to the walks are opened as near to 9am on the Saturday morning as possible and remain open until 8am on the Monday morning. The gate to Tyneham is locked each night at dusk. The exhibitions in Tyneham School and Tyneham Church (well worth a look) are open from 10am to 4pm.
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.