In 2020, the Ministry of Defence began to resume military training on some of the MoD areas which had previously been open daily to the public.
Several of these areas are used on these walks. They are bleakly beautiful wildernesses and nature reserves with vast vistas, seemingly miles from habitation - and therefore the regions which many walkers often seek for solitude.
On days of training, access gates are closed and in some areas a red flag flies. Previously it was an uncertain affair as to when there was access and walkers would arrive with alternate plans in case their first choice was closed.
Now, the situation is much more certain, thanks to a Government website and 'phone; and now (starting in 2020), you can check before you travel.
There are now fewer days available, but they are clearly listed in the website with the words open to the public. Last-minute changes are possible and it is advisable to check the website before you go, and/or ring the number below.
Some areas, such as Weaver's Down, still have military usage but are always open to the public. You may see friendly troops very occasionally but their exercises are always 'dry'. Sometimes the sergeant may ask you to pause for a few moments. These are not danger areas and are well-used by riders, ramblers and dog walkers.
Areas affected are:
Aldershot: the Long Valley, featuring on our Aldershot Caesar's Camp walk and Aldershot and Canal walk. These glorious walks are both definitely open on many days, especially weekends.
Normandy (Ash Ranges). This walk has an alternative route avoiding the ranges which is always open. The guide notes tell you to look for the red flag. Now you can be sure.
Woolmer Forest (Longmoor Camp). This beautiful nature reserve features on the new walk that starts at Conford. The first version suggested that the red flag never flies. Starting in May 2020, MoD usage resumed. Now you can be sure.
South East Firing Times will give you a list of regions. Pull down the list to find your particular area.
The non-emergency number to ring is the South East Operations Room on 01420-483405. Please use it sparingly in case they get overloaded and stop answering.