Access to MoD land for cyclists - the big picture

MOD Access Signage
Surrey and Hampshire cyclists are finding that the MoD (Ministry of Defence) are increasingly restricting access to their land for cyclists (and also making life much harder for horseriders and walkers). Is this happening in other parts of the country?

CTC would like to know if cyclists elsewhere in the country are experiencing problems accessing MoD land. If you are, please get in touch. This will help us not only when we are negotiating about local problems (as in the case of Hankley Common - see below), but also in the national discussions that CTC has with MoD.

MoD Bylelaw Review

An MoD Byelaw Review has been under way since 2003, but little progress has been made. We understand that the timetable is being accelerated with a view to completing the process within three years, but there are pressing issues that cannot wait that long. It is vital for CTC to ensure its voice is heard in the review process: the new byelaws must take proper account of cycling as a legitimate activity on MoD land and ensure that unnecessary restrictions are lifted.

What's happening at Hankley Common, Surrey

Cyclists in Surrey and Hampshire - and from elsewhere - have long enjoyed cycling on Hankley Common. Over the last couple of years, however, the managers of the land (Landmark) have been stopping cyclists and asking them to leave. CTC local campaigner John Johns has taken the matter up with his MP and as a result met with the MoD and other interested parties. In consequence, MoD and user groups will meet to discuss the situation and, we hope, reach a compromise.

Why CTC needs to hear from you

CTC needs to be fully informed about the present situation across the country so that it can speak with authority to the MoD. We do not know if the problems in Surrey are purely local or a symptom of wider issues that have first surfaced here. We certainly do not want the restriction of longstanding tolerated access to become a template for the byelaw review.

Access problems are not restricted to cyclists. Walkers, who traditionally have had greater rights than cyclists, and horseriders are now experiencing problems too. It is, therefore, an important issue for all non-motorised users whenever MoD actions on the ground run counter to the MoD's presumption of access.

Cyclists, walkers and horseriders will all wish to ensure that this presumption is not eroded during the review process, and we will have the best chance of success if we all present a united front.

What CTC would like to know

If you have MoD training land in your area, please can you let us know both the formal position regarding cyclists and what happens in practice if this is different? It would be really helpful to hear from anyone with relevant experience, knowledge or suggestions. We would be happy to tell you more about our experience in Surrey, if that is of interest to you.

Please e-mail us (, letting us know both the formal position on access to your local MoD land, and what happens in practice if this is different.

Many thanks in advance for your help.