Landmarc Support Services has worked with the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) to upgrade footpaths at Chickerell Range to improve coastal walks for locals and visitors.

Chickerell RangesPictured left to right – Andy Wallace Landmarc Training Area Operative, James Nevitt DIO Senior Access & Recreation Advisor, Alec Fitton Landmarc Training Area Operative.

The public footpaths on the site of Chickerell Range, which overlooks East Fleet and Chesil Bank, are links within the popular South West Coast Path and provide routes for local dog walkers, runners and wildlife enthusiasts.

The coastal path passes through the range, meaning the section within the range is closed when firing is taking place. Permissive paths which run along the east and west boundaries were installed several years ago by the MOD. Linking the footpaths together allowed the public to divert off the coastal path and around the range when it is live, and walkers have enjoyed safe, uninterrupted walking along the coast for many years.

Over the last three years, using its Countryside Stewardship Funding, DIO has invested £30,000 in improvements to the permissive paths and footpaths on site. As well as general surfacing work and gate repairs, DIO has also installed a new boardwalk.
The broader, single stretch boardwalk offers easier passage through a wet section of path that would otherwise be impassable.

Recent work has also included the conversion of an old range hut into a picnic shelter, allowing walkers to rest in shelter during wetter days.

Bran Acres, Coastal Ranger for Dorset County Council said, “We have received positive feedback from several local people about the improvement work that has taken place on the paths at Chickerell Range. This has been a great collaborative effort, and the work of everyone involved in this project has resulted in a dramatic improvement to the coastal experience for both visitors and local people.”

The improvement work at Chickerell Range has been prompted by a national project – the England Coast Path – which hopes to see a coastal path run along the length of the English coast. Implementation of the England Coast Path in Dorset awaits approval by the Secretary of State, but it prompted DIO to assess the state of the public footpaths and permissive links in the area to see if improvements could be made.

Talking about the new improvements James Nevitt, DIO’s Senior Access & Recreation Adviser said, “DIO is pleased to be supporting the roll out of the new England Coast Path and we hope that the improvements we’ve made to the permissive paths and footpaths on site, and the fantastic new boardwalk we’ve installed, will improve the visitor experience and keep the public safe for many years to come.”

Jason Spicer, Landmarc’s Area Delivery Manager said, “Landmarc works in partnership with DIO to manage the UK Defence Training Estate. It’s therefore been great to collaborate on this important project to establish access routes and improve the boardwalk around Chickerell Ranges. The work means that the public can now safely enjoy the fantastic South West Coast Path, even when military live firing is taking place. Our teams take great pride in their work so having the opportunity to see our local communities enjoying the scenery and wildlife as a result of these projects is especially rewarding.”