News Archive


In 2012 the MoD claimed ownership of the lane leading up from Truxford on the Thursley Road, past the Hankley Common central car park to the Lions Mouth. It has never been owned by them and was excluded from the 1978 Military Byelaws but they tried to take it over in 2012 by registering ownership by "adverse possession" at the Land Registry.  Research by members of PATH showed that this is an ancient public highway from Farnham to Thursley, on a separate area of land allocated in the 1857 Elstead Inclosures. It could not be taken over in this way, so the registration has been cancelled by the Land Registry. In 2013 Landmarc started installing a gate on the highway at the Houndown Lane / Woolfords Lane junction but this was stopped by Surrey CC as it would have obstructed Bridleway 101 on this land.

The same research showed that Houndown Lane and Woolfords Lane are also parts of an ancient highway, allotted a separate plot of land in the 1857 Elstead Inclosures. In October 2012 the MOD claimed extensions to the historic boundaries of Houndown (SY 806827) which included public highway land along Houndown Lane and we asked them for proof that they had legal title to the land claimed. They could not provide it and we took steps to ensure that any errors in the Land Register were corrected. The ditches dug in 2013 
by Landmarc on this highway land were filled in again, thanks to prompt action by Surrey CC Rights of Way Dept. 

In October 2012 the MOD made a sworn statutory declaration of public rights of way on their land on Hankley Common, under Section 31(6) of the 1980 Highways Act. The map attached to the declaration shows boundaries for the two highways that match the historic boundaries defined by the 1857 Inclosures and the 1978 Surrey Commons Military Lands Byelaws. This declaration confirms that the MOD does not own and has no control over either of these highways. It also completely nullified the other actions by the MOD in trying to acquire land on the two highways on Hankley Common.

The MOD had a policy of enforcing the 1978 Byelaws restricting to the bridleways the use of Hankley Common by horse riders and cyclists. Since then they have allocated a permissive bridleway around the southern perimeter of Hankley Common. They are also marking trails which they prefer walkers to use, to minimise interference with Army training. There appears to be no question at present of walkers being prevented from using other paths and tracks, which would not fit in with their national policy of managed open access for the public on military land.

There are three car parks on the sougthern part of Hankley, one at Pitch Place on the Thursley Road between Thursley and Churt, another on Houndown Lane and a third in the centre near the Drop Zone. The DZ car park is closed from time to time for Army training purposes.

We hope that the MOD will now decide not to take any more actions to restrict public access on Hankley Common. 



The trenches and banks on Houndown Lane have now been removed by Landmarc as they were an obstruction on highway land not owned or controlled by the MoD. 



The MoD has decided to order cyclists to stop riding on Hankley Common, except on registered bridleways.

This was decided as a result of a confrontation between Warden Sandy Craig and 15 elderly cyclists.

Reports from the cyclists and a walker who witnessed the incident differ radically from Sandy's.

For more information on cycling rules on Hankley Common go to.




Following objections to the installation of a gate on Bridleway 101 leading to the central car park on Hankley Common work has been suspended, pending discussions with Surrey CC Highways Dept.

Landmarc has completed the digging of deep ditches and banks along Bridleway 99 on Houndown Lane, to prevent parking on the verges near the new car park. There are no proper passing places and it will not be easy to access the car park, nor for pedestrians and horse riders to move to one side to avoid cars.

Houndown Lane is an ancient highway, alloted land of 30ft width in the 1857 Elstead Inclosures. In 2012 the MoD registered boundaries for Houndown that included the verge of Houndown Lane and this is where Landmarc have dug the ditches, obstructing the highway. Some highway land was also taken from the land alloted for the Farnham to Thursley road near the crossroads with Houndown & Woolfords Lanes.

Waverley and local Parish Councillors are having discussions with the MoD about the legal and practical issues involved. Surrey CC Highways Dept has also been informed.


Final Closure  -  Postponed!

The MoD will close the current central DZ car park area on Hankley Common to the public permanently as from mid/late Jan 2013, and will open up the new Houndown Lane car park at the same time.  [LINK]