Landmarc Support Services (Landmarc), the international provider of training and infrastructure solutions, has been recognised in the Environment category of the prestigious Ministry of Defence (MOD) Sanctuary awards, for its conservation work on the Elstead Common Bridleway in Surrey.


The Sanctuary Awards aim to recognise and encourage initiatives that benefit wildlife, archaeology, environmental improvement or community awareness of conservation on MOD property.


The Elstead Common project involved the restoration of an old flooded bridleway and track to provide year-round access by the local community, whilst preserving the protected habitats of a diverse range of wildlife. Landmarc worked closely with Natural England (NE) and the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) to restore the bridleway, which is also used for military training.


The team working on the project delivered a simple but creative solution by excavating and re-using the existing green sand from alongside the bridleway to create a series of linked shallow swales or drainage ponds. The excavated sand was then compacted in layers to form a strong base that raised the bridleway by six feet in the worst areas.


The Award Board was greatly impressed with the innovation and best practise demonstrated through the use of a traditional, low cost and low impact technique to improve the bridleway, and commented that the joint benefits to biodiversity, flood relief and access were highly commendable.

The project has enabled adequate access to the area for a wide range of users, whilst ensuring no negative impacts on the SSSI; and the Award Board also noted that this had clearly been achieved through strong collaborative working.


DIO’s Richard Brooks, Sanctuary Award panel member, said: “The Elstead bridleway project is a great example of the MOD and its partners working to provide access to the training estate for members of the public and in particular local communities. Not only has the work created a sustainable and useable route for visitors but it has also created valuable wetland which adds to the ecological value of the area. The project used simple, traditional techniques to restore the old track thus ensuring that the local community can continue to enjoy this fascinating area”.


Robert Hodson, rural manager at Landmarc, said,  “We’re proud to have been recognised in these prestigious awards for the second year running, this time for our conservation work on Elstead Common. We utilised existing natural resources in order to restore and enhance the bridleway, and we hope to implement more techniques such as this for future conservation projects.”