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Thread: Do's and don'ts of Salisbury Plain

  1. #1
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    Do's and don'ts of Salisbury Plain

    I, along with a number of others from this parish often go and have a day on the plain, normally at weekends and always when there are no flags / beacons flying. There are a number of legal byways that crisscross the plain which you can occasionally miss and inadvertantly travel down trails that appear identical but not actually legal byways. Does anyone know what the range wardens will let you do and what they wont?

    I have seen public vehicles travelling down most of the tracks and the range wardens not appear to be concerned, is it ok to travel across the plain (including non byways) as long as you stick to defined tracks? I appreciate that off-piste activity ruins is a no-no due to the possibilty of military debris and damaging flora/fauna.

    The Salisbury plain MOD access website is scarce with information (presumably so not to publicise the fact) , e.g. is it possible to ride through to imber along the trails on non-firing days?

    I would like to ensure that the riding I have been doing has not been causing undue attention, Is there a website address/contact for the warden who I can talk to and then post the information up?

  2. #2
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    Ordnance Survey maps show all the legal paths/tracks.
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  3. #3
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    Ordnance Survey maps show all the legal paths/tracks.
    Yup, but I wanted to know whether the other 90% of tracks on and around the plain are accessible with permission from the Land Warden.

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    Join the local TRF group.
    Off piste riding, ie, on non-ROW threatens the lawful use of the byways across that area.
    The warden does not have the poke to give you permissive use. They are meant to be enforcers not governers. I wouldn't trust their word as far as it wouldn't stand up in court if a sec.59 comes your way.
    Be proactive when your out trail riding, as the law has made it very difficult when needing to be reactive.

    T.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DollyRocket View Post
    Yup, but I wanted to know whether the other 90% of tracks on and around the plain are accessible with permission from the Land Warden.
    IME no, only clubs and associations can get permission to hold special events and even they are very limited by local bylaws IIRC. Get to know a farmer and he may be able to allow access as long as you are on his land.

    Shep

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steptoe View Post
    Ordnance Survey maps show all the legal paths/tracks.
    lol... now it's ironic that Steptoe is the first to reply and says that

    I don't know what's happened out there lately, I've not riden the plains for a couple of months, but on the whole the wardens have always been great with me. Yes there are byways out there and no they don't look any different to any other track.

    On the whole I've found if you aren't being a male chicken and you talk to them politely they are happy to point you in the right direction. They won't give you permission to ride anything other than the byways but I've never found myself having too serious a conversation with them for being in the wrong place either...

    basically don't take the p*ss

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    Quote Originally Posted by LiquidLAN View Post
    lol... now it's ironic that Steptoe is the first to reply and says that

    I don't know what's happened out there lately, I've not riden the plains for a couple of months, but on the whole the wardens have always been great with me. Yes there are byways out there and no they don't look any different to any other track.

    On the whole I've found if you aren't being a male chicken and you talk to them politely they are happy to point you in the right direction. They won't give you permission to ride anything other than the byways but I've never found myself having too serious a conversation with them for being in the wrong place either...

    basically don't take the p*ss
    Yes, and producing a map if your stopped by wardens while "lost" always goes down well.
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    all you need to do is spend as much time as you can up there in all weathers.

    Its taken me sometime now and I have been very lucky to have had 4 years following someone.

    If you think of the road around the outside of the IMPACTE AREA as the M25 with many off shoots ( BYWAYS), like M11, M4, M3, and so on thats how I have navagated my away around.

    Remembering BYWAYS off at certain angels as roads off the M25 I know it sounds silly but its worked for me.

    Its the way I find my way home in the worst of weathers and to me SALISBURY PLAIN is best when its at its worst

    Range wardens don`t mind bikers it the 4X4ers that cause bamage.

    Tip, if you see a RANGE WARDEN and your not sure if your in the right, STOP get off bike remove helmet, apoligies get out map, make friends.

  9. #9
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    Sound advice from a man who knows

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    Quote Originally Posted by BAKERMAN View Post

    Range wardens don`t mind bikers it the 4X4ers that cause bamage.

    I might take issue with you over that one - as a frequent SP 4x4 user and occasional (because it scares me) bike user.

    For the most part, the range wardens and local police in 4x4s are not that bothered about damage to the ground, unless it is intentional and excessive, their remit is really about safety and preventing people from straying into the impact and other danger areas. They are just as keen to prevent abuse by bikers as they are 4x4 users. For the most part their big problem seems to be groups of MXers with no or tiny number plates riding off-piste. Unlike 4x4s, they are all but impossible to catch, though occasionally the police heli or an army heli operates a joint exercise/operation to track and catch abusers of all types.

    On topic, you may have noticed that many of the tracks on SP are what are described as 'Cat1' or 'All weather' tracks - the ones made of graded stone. Many of these follow the historic routes of RUPPs and BOATs and can, of course, be driven on. It is also that case that any other graded 'All weather' track is a permissive ROW and can be used as a regular road, subject to the SP Bylaws printed on the boards at most entry points to the Training Area - mainly if the flags are down. There are also many BOATs which run off these graded tracks and which can be legally driven if you can find/stick to them, a feat often easier said than done. Using a PDA with GPS and MemoryMap is the best way I have found but I have never tired it on a bike. That said, with a little care and reference to a handheld GPS it should not pose a problem to those familiar with maps. Beware though, the tracks on the ground, whether made or unmade, are often NOT representative of the public ROWs and can lead you off piste - which is when you have to be able to smile and wave a map at range wardens and policemen.

    Imber ranges, in other words, the whole of the Western third of SP to the west of the A360 (excluding Copehill Down and Deptford Down) and all the way to Warminster is closed, full stop. You may not use any road on there other than the old Wessex Ridgeway along the northern edge from Westbury to Gore Cross and, IIRC, one dead end BOAT on the southern edge and one on the Eastern edge. The paved Imber range roads (E/W and N/S) are open occasionally, usually Easter, July/August and Christmas.

    See here for details, including when Imber is open and when the flags are down on the Bulford (Eastern) and Larkhill (central) ranges.

    HTSH

    Chris

  11. #11
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    Thanks for the info Chris. That clears up a few points - Good to know that the Western End is OOB at all times (irrespective of flags / beacons) except for access to Imber during certain times of the year.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gbmud View Post
    I might take issue with you over that one - as a frequent SP 4x4 user and occasional (because it scares me) bike user.

    For the most part, the range wardens and local police in 4x4s are not that bothered about damage to the ground, unless it is intentional and excessive, their remit is really about safety and preventing people from straying into the impact and other danger areas. They are just as keen to prevent abuse by bikers as they are 4x4 users. For the most part their big problem seems to be groups of MXers with no or tiny number plates riding off-piste. Unlike 4x4s, they are all but impossible to catch, though occasionally the police heli or an army heli operates a joint exercise/operation to track and catch abusers of all types.

    On topic, you may have noticed that many of the tracks on SP are what are described as 'Cat1' or 'All weather' tracks - the ones made of graded stone. Many of these follow the historic routes of RUPPs and BOATs and can, of course, be driven on. It is also that case that any other graded 'All weather' track is a permissive ROW and can be used as a regular road, subject to the SP Bylaws printed on the boards at most entry points to the Training Area - mainly if the flags are down. There are also many BOATs which run off these graded tracks and which can be legally driven if you can find/stick to them, a feat often easier said than done. Using a PDA with GPS and MemoryMap is the best way I have found but I have never tired it on a bike. That said, with a little care and reference to a handheld GPS it should not pose a problem to those familiar with maps. Beware though, the tracks on the ground, whether made or unmade, are often NOT representative of the public ROWs and can lead you off piste - which is when you have to be able to smile and wave a map at range wardens and policemen.

    Imber ranges, in other words, the whole of the Western third of SP to the west of the A360 (excluding Copehill Down and Deptford Down) and all the way to Warminster is closed, full stop. You may not use any road on there other than the old Wessex Ridgeway along the northern edge from Westbury to Gore Cross and, IIRC, one dead end BOAT on the southern edge and one on the Eastern edge. The paved Imber range roads (E/W and N/S) are open occasionally, usually Easter, July/August and Christmas.

    See here for details, including when Imber is open and when the flags are down on the Bulford (Eastern) and Larkhill (central) ranges.

    HTSH

    Chris

    Hi Chris,
    I might have to take issue with you over some of these points too...

    without it turning into a pissing contest, there is more concern over 4x4s than bikes generally and historically (having spoken to a few wardens and my neighbours who's husband was a warden for many years). Bikes and MXers tend to get away with a lot more, because they do less damage (relitively and yes are harder to catch). I think it all depends on where you are and what you are doing, if you are taking the piss someone will have a chat with you.

    As an MXer with a small plate (the big ones just fall off honest ) I can assure you the wardens are ok and a smile, helmet off and a chat goes a hell of a long way. I passed the same warden four or five times one day on various tracks and he didnt bat an eye-lid. Talking to another the last time I was out there, it seems there is one individual they are interested in near Everleigh/Tidworth, but that's about it (not me I hasten to add )

    Finally I have had it pointed out to me (specifically pointed out) that not all weather tracks are byways and therefor we/you do not have rights to ride all of them. I can give you a specific example between here and Luddershaw where the byway and the all weather track are completely seperate... I'm not saying you arent ok on the all weather tracks, but be prepared to stop and talk to a warden as his opinion might differ.

    I've only lived around here for a couple of years, but my experience is that nothing it cut and dry and they are all pretty reasonable and sensible people to talk to. I think living on the edge of the plains has got me out of a little trouble in the past, but I don't know

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by gbmud View Post
    I might take issue with you over that one - as a frequent SP 4x4 user and occasional (because it scares me) bike user.

    For the most part, the range wardens and local police in 4x4s are not that bothered about damage to the ground, unless it is intentional and excessive, their remit is really about safety and preventing people from straying into the impact and other danger areas. They are just as keen to prevent abuse by bikers as they are 4x4 users. For the most part their big problem seems to be groups of MXers with no or tiny number plates riding off-piste. Unlike 4x4s, they are all but impossible to catch, though occasionally the police heli or an army heli operates a joint exercise/operation to track and catch abusers of all types.

    On topic, you may have noticed that many of the tracks on SP are what are described as 'Cat1' or 'All weather' tracks - the ones made of graded stone. Many of these follow the historic routes of RUPPs and BOATs and can, of course, be driven on. It is also that case that any other graded 'All weather' track is a permissive ROW and can be used as a regular road, subject to the SP Bylaws printed on the boards at most entry points to the Training Area - mainly if the flags are down. There are also many BOATs which run off these graded tracks and which can be legally driven if you can find/stick to them, a feat often easier said than done. Using a PDA with GPS and MemoryMap is the best way I have found but I have never tired it on a bike. That said, with a little care and reference to a handheld GPS it should not pose a problem to those familiar with maps. Beware though, the tracks on the ground, whether made or unmade, are often NOT representative of the public ROWs and can lead you off piste - which is when you have to be able to smile and wave a map at range wardens and policemen.

    Imber ranges, in other words, the whole of the Western third of SP to the west of the A360 (excluding Copehill Down and Deptford Down) and all the way to Warminster is closed, full stop. You may not use any road on there other than the old Wessex Ridgeway along the northern edge from Westbury to Gore Cross and, IIRC, one dead end BOAT on the southern edge and one on the Eastern edge. The paved Imber range roads (E/W and N/S) are open occasionally, usually Easter, July/August and Christmas.

    See here for details, including when Imber is open and when the flags are down on the Bulford (Eastern) and Larkhill (central) ranges.

    HTSH

    Chris
    Sorry but rarely see them on the BYWAY, normally suck in farmers crops and spinning around ancient grass land areas or stuck in massive water logged holes in THE OUT OF BOUNDS area.

    On speaking to range wardens they say we don`t have problems with bikers its the 4x4ers we have problems with.

    That`s just what I`ve heard and seen for myself.

    Weather you and your friends stick to the BYWAY and all is fantastic but I can assure you that you are in the minority.

    Many routes were closed last year due to this 4X4 damage,

    The wardens only have curtain powers and I have seen those abused on a number of occasions, to say they like motorcycles is a bit tall of me , as there`s a few groups of locals that bait them as I know from first hand experience, and left the groups A.S.A.P

    Another reason for me buying a side car outfit for green laneing

    I`m no saint but there`s DRIVING a 4X4 and there`s shear out and out vandalism, I`m sure your not in this catagree.

    Yours is sound advice and I have learn`t from the above

    Chris

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by BAKERMAN View Post
    Chris
    But I thought your name was Steve???

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    I was on a trail ride a couple of weeks ago and one of our members contacted someone at the MOD and was told that as long as you stick to the tracks, they are not worried. I know that sort of second hand info is no use in a court your honour !

    The Plains are a paradise for BOATS, so loads of fun, but it is so easy to get lost. I use my Zumo set to British National Grid and cross reference frequently to the OS map...Love the place and have only seen one tenth of it.
    Too shiny and clean to use it properly.

  16. #16
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    It sounds like the wardens tell the 4x4s it is the bikes that are a problem and the bikers that the 4x4s are a problem! From a purely legal standpoint, we all need to keep the the ROWs and cause minimum damage whether 4x4 or not.

    My own personal experience is that I have seen both 4x4s and bikes off piste but the MXers seem to be the worst offenders I have seen, though I have seen 4x4s and countless ramblers where they should not have been. Unfortunately there are nobbers in all camps and regardless of what vehicle we use on unmetalled roads (my current fave is a quad ) it is the nobbers that will spoil it for all of us.

    I am not aware of any lanes on the TA which were closed last year?

    My point about the 'All weather' tracks, was that those which are not built on BOATs are permissive ROWs anyway, as long as there are no red flags up. Sorry if that was not clear.

    Chris

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