At the same time as the Prime Minister announced the start of a national lock-down to slowdown the COVID-19 pandemic on 16th March 2020, the MoD decided to lock all gates that allow access to Ash Ranges. They placed signs on the gates stating that the closure was due to COVID-19, yet we have subsequently discovered that this was not their reason.
Local residents have enjoyed recreational access to the ranges, when not in military use (denoted by red flags on the boundaries), since 1854 when the ranges were first established. Recreational use when the land is not in active military use is protected by Aldershot and District Military Lands Byelaws 1976 section 2 For more info see Background.
The closure of 330 acres (12%) or the total area of the ranges prompted me, a few other like-minded locals to question these actions. There had long been rumours that the MoD were going to block access to local residents. This despite a long and harmonious history of sharing this valuable natural resource between MoD and civilians.
I setup this website and the “Save Ash Ranges” Facebook page to pull the community together to campaign against the closure and the wall of silence from the MoD or more specifically the DIO (Defence Infrastructure Organisation).
What has transpired over the months since is a story of misinformation and an attitude of unaccountability from the DIO to ministers and the public. All from an organisation funded by the taxpayer.
I must point out that we are 100% supportive of our serving troops and their needs to train. They do a vital job, protecting our country, that many of us can’t or won’t do. See We Support our Troops.
This site contains a lot of information, the truth behind a lot of the misinformation and some personal stories from individuals of how the closure has affected them. We regularly post updates which are displayed in reverse date order.
I welcome input from local residents so if you would like to post a story, your views on the ranges situation or something you are doing to help the cause, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We DO NOT condone vandalism of any property or the behaviour of irresponsible dog owners who feel they don’t need to clear up their dog’s poo.
We DO condone the adherence to all laws, byelaws and due process, both legal & constitutional.
We DO support our troops and serving personnel.