Records of investigations carried out by telephone, email or letter.

1. Surrey County Council letter from James Taylor covering public rights of access, ownership and the extent of registered Common Land.  23/01/12

2. Report on Firing Safety on Hankley Common  Email from Col. Roger Owen 15/02/12

3. Report to the MoD about the Public Meeting and their response to questions. 19/2/12

4.  Open Spaces Society   Email correspondence about co-operation between OSS & PATH.


From: James Taylor [mailto:james.taylor@surreycc.gov.uk]
Sent: 23 January 2012 18:34
To: Jenny Else
Cc: Patrick Murphy
Subject: Re: FW: Hankley Common enquiry

Dear Mrs Else 

I write further to our brief telephone conversation.

The access to the DZ car park from Truxford Corner is over Public Bridleway 101Thursley. As I am sure you are aware the public's rights on a bridleway are to walk, ride and since 1968 bicycle. There is no public right of way for vehicles of any description, indeed it is a road traffic offence to drive a motor vehicle over a bridleway with "lawful authority". "Lawful authority" might be the consent of the landowner, a private right or easement to access land, or certain statutory rights for the disabled in mobility scooters, and the local authorities and emergency services in the course of our duties.

I have not researched the freehold ownership of land under Bridleway 101, but it is assumed that it is part of Hankley Common and is therefore owned by the MoD.

It is assumed that access to the DZ car park has been through permission from the MoD as landowner. If so the landowner is entitled to withdraw or modify that permission as they feel fit. Should residents consider claiming that the vehicular use was by right they should be aware that it has not been possible to acquire public motor vehicular rights through long use since 2005, and any rights which existed but were unrecorded were legally extinguished by the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act at that date (given the time constraints for this reply this is a simplification of a very complex piece of legislation). Military Bye-laws, if in effect on this land, would also prohibit the acquisition of any rights.

Woolfords Lane is similarly a private road and public bridleway (Bridleway 77 Elstead). We have had some dealings in the management of this lane in this case and we believe that it is owned to the centre of the road by the frontagers on each side.

Houndown Lane is also a bridleway (Bridleway 99 Thursley) - the ownership is unknown and unresearched.

Hankley Common is actually only partly registered common. The northern area including Yagden Hill and the Golf Course are registered Common. The public have the right of exercise on foot only as "access land" (except to the playing areas of the Golf Course) under the Countryside & Rights of Way Act 2000.

The area south of the DZ Huts around Kettlebury Hill is not registered common, neither is it Access Land within the meaning of the Countryside & Rights of Way Act 2000 (Military Land subject to Military Byelaws which would otherwise qualify as "access land" is specifically excluded by the Act). As such the public's rights are contained to the public rights of way and any permissive access the MoD decide they want to give. Military Bye-laws are also in force for this land which prohibit many things including for example the riding of horses or driving of vehicles anywhere on the "common". Military Bye-laws are also one of the few things which can actually curtail the public's right on a public right of way; although I am not aware of any specifics in the set of bye-laws applying to Hankley - I can think of at least one example elsewhere in Surrey where the bye-laws prohibit use of a particular bridleway when red flags or lanterns are displayed.

I attach an extract of our mapping system (displaying the OS 1:50k base map) on which I have overlaid the public rights of way and registered common. Public rights of way are displayed by thick broken coloured lines (red=byway, green=bridleway, purple=footpath), Common is shaded orange.

I trust this is helpful, but should you need further assistance please do not hesitate to get in touch.


James Taylor
Senior Countryside Access Officer - West Surrey

Tel: 01483 517538

Whitebeam Lodge
Merrow Depot
Merrow Lane
Surrey GU4 7BQ

Jenny Else <Jenny.Else@waverley.gov.uk>

23/01/12 17:03


"'James.Taylor@surreycc.gov.uk'" <James.Taylor@surreycc.gov.uk>


"organem@tiscali.co.uk" <organem@tiscali.co.uk>, Patrick Murphy <pwmurphy215@supanet.com>


FW: Hankley Common enquiry



Dear James

Residents of Elstead are trying to establish the status of the roadway shown on this map leading up to a car park on Hankley common.

We understand that the majority of Hankley Common is owned by the MoD with a portion leased from Hankley Golf Club but the question of right access is proving difficult to establish. Which are the paths/bridleways that constitute a highway?

I have been told this afternoon by Joe Sanders that Houndown Lane and Woolfords Lane are privately owned. Are you able to tell us by whom?

Also who owns the road/track leading from Thursley Road across where these two join and going up to the car park?

The MoD are planning to close off this road to prevent public vehicular access and this is met with some considerable opposition.

Many thanks

Jenny Else
Waverley Borough Council
Elstead, Thursley & Brook
01252 702036 


Report on Firing Safety on Hankley Common

Jenny Else


Here is the ‘explanation’ given by Roger Owen of Landmarc this afternoon.

My précis of what he told me is this:

It is an offence to discharge firearms within 50m of a highway if it is going to cause injury, interruption or endangerment to anyone using the highway. If no one is there no offence has been caused.

He stated that a Bridleway is not a highway. When I challenged this he said it was irrelevant anyway because it was all about vehicles. When I said a horse and bicycle are vehicles he told me they weren’t for the purposes of the Highways Act of 1980. (?)

When they are using pyrotechnics near a bridleway they can put a sentry on guard and if a horse comes along they can either get it to wait or they can suspend the operation while it passes. He also said that in their byelaws they have the authority to stop any horse or person going along the bridleway if they interrupt the training.

Enshrined in their Standing Orders is that there will be no pyrotechnics within 300m of the public.

He mentioned something called ‘Nugents rule’ which is about occupied buildings and habitations.

Blanks may be fired within 100m of the public.

The upshot appears to be that it is easy to ‘manage’ the use of pyrotechnics and keep within their rules for example on a bridleway using the sentry method but the car park is another thing – at any time of the day there is a great probability that a car could be parked there and so it is easier for them to shut the car park and then they can carry on using them around the Harbour area.

This is what he told me and he then sent the email below which doesn’t make much sense to me.



From: roger.owen@landmarc.mod.uk [mailto:roger.owen@landmarc.mod.uk] 

Sent: 15 February 2012 16:46
To: Jenny Else
Subject: Safety Distances


I mentioned the law relating to the discharge of a firearm near a highway, which has relevance to the MOD self imposed training safety distances of 300m for pyrotechnics and 100m for blank fire.

The England and Wales Section 161 Highways Act 1980 states:

Danger or annoyance to users of highways and streetsE+W+S+N.I.

161 Penalties for causing certain kinds of danger or annoyance.E+W+S+N.I.

(1)If a person, without lawful authority or excuse, deposits any thing whatsoever on a highway in consequence of which a user of the highway is injured or endangered, that person is guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding [F400level 3 on the standard scale].

[F401(2)If a person without lawful authority or excuse—

(a)lights any fire on or over a highway which consists of or comprises a carriageway; or

(b)discharges any firearm or firework within 50 feet of the centre of such a highway,

and in consequence a user of the highway is injured, interrupted or endangered, that person is guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale.]

(3)If a person plays at football or any other game on a highway to the annoyance of a user of the highway he is guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding [F402level 1 on the standard scale].

(4)If a person, without lawful authority or excuse, allows any filth, dirt, lime or other offensive matter or thing to run or flow on to a highway from any adjoining premises, he is guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding [F403level 1 on the standard scale]. 

The relevant section is

‘It is an offence without lawful authority or excuse to discharge any firearm within 50 feet of the centre of a highway and in consequence of which a user of the highway is injured, interrupted or endangered.’

I have taken the following interpretation from Parkes and Thornley Deer Law and Liability, which is an acknowledged authority for such matters:

‘This is not an absolute offence and requires an element of complaint from a road user – a walker, rider or motorist. Provided you do not injure, Interrupt or endanger someone on the highway you are entitles to shoot adjacent to it. For this purpose a highway is a public road for vehicles. It is not an offence to shoot over a public footpath or right of way, or near buildings, unless you are found to be trespassing or there with intent to endanger life. ‘

The implication for military training, I take to be that it is technically not an offence to discharge a pyrotechnic or blank round anywhere on the DTE provided you do not injure, Interrupt or endanger anyone. Furthermore it would be reasonable to impose the safety distances only if there is someone present who could be injured, interrupted or endangered. Exercise planning should take account of the probability of public presence which near the area presently used as a car park is high. A high intensity of public presence will therefore inevitably constrain military training. This is the principal reason for which we wish to restrict intensive public access from this central point.

Any questions, please give me a ring.




Colonel (Retired)

Regional Executive Officer

Defence Training Estate South East

Defence Infrastructure Organisation

Headquarters Defence Training Estate South East

Longmoor Camp



GU33 6EL

Civ: 0142048 3490

Mob: 07789220324

Email: roger.owen@landmarc.mod.uk


Sunday, 19 February 2012, 13:11
Here are the answers from the MoD to the questions I put to them. That dealing with the 300-metre limit is pretty much as expected: the MOD are clearly inhibited because of the existence of a public car park very close to the centre of their training area. This seems to my mind to be a valid concern which relates both to operational efficiency and public safety. Their solution is to move the car park a little further away.
Would you like me to come to your meeting on Thursday? The MoD have not responded on the question of how to take matters forward and I don't propose to press them until you have analysed the results of your survey. You would then have something specific to discuss with them and which they may find of interest.
There is a PC meeting tomorrow when this item will be discussed, but I imagine it will be largely a matter for report.
Best wishes
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Friday, February 17, 2012 4:48 PM
Subject: Public Meeting 10 Feb

Dear Pat 

Thank you for your email to which I can respond as follows: 

With regard to your query about man training days, the figures are taken directly from the system and are correct – however it might be easier to quote individual area usage – for S2 there is, on average, nearly 200 men per day/ night.  On the subject of safety distances for pyrotechnics and other types of training, Exercise planning takes account of the probability of public presence, which near the area presently used as a car park is high.  A high intensity of public presence will therefore inevitably constrain military training from the adjacent area.  This is the principal reason for which we wish to restrict intensive public access from this central point.

I have spoken to Landmarc regarding the horse riders comments that they are finding it difficult to deal with the office issuing riding permits.  Perhaps you could kindly clarify the difficulties they are experiencing, as Landmarc are not aware of any issues. 

Kind Regards 


Miss Claire Dalton BSc(Hons) MSc MRICS
Senior Estate Surveyor DTE HC 

Defence Infrastructure Organisation
Longmoor Training Camp
Liss Hampshire
GU33 6EL
Tel: 01420 483438
Fax: 01420 483493
94291 3438


From: Patrick Murphy [mailto:pwmurphy215@supanet.com] 
Sent: 11 February 2012 19:28
To: Dalton, Claire Ms
Cc: malcolm.bartlett@landmarc.mod.uk; Mortimer, Carole (NE); cna@totalise.co.uk; Michael Organe; jenny.else@waverley.gov.uk; sean.r.edwards@btinternet.com
Subject: Public Meeting 10 Feb


I promised to send you a brief report on the public meeting yesterday, called to discuss access issues on Hankley.

About 70 people attended, which was a significant number in view of the exteremely cold weather. Generally, it was a good natured affair, with nearly everyone stressing their wish to maintain close relations with the MoD and to achieve the right balance between the needs of the military (which were fully recognised) and the interests of local people in maintaining properly managed public access. Several people spoke of the excellent relations which they have always enjoyed with MoD staff. Others commented that relations had to some extent deteriorated over the last 2 years as a result of what they saw as a more officious attitude on behalf of Landmarc staff and attempts to restrict car parking on the periphery of the estate (ie reduction in size of the Pitch Place pull-in and the earth bunds at Westbrook).

Several specific points were raised, three of which I think you should be aware of. First, the number of training days on Hankley and Elstead Commons (quoted by the MoD) suggested there were over 700 troops on the commons on each day of the year. Most people find this figure not to be credible. Second, some horse riders say they find it difficult to deal with the office issuing licences to use the permissive paths. Third, the stated reasons for wanting to move the DZ car park are poorly understood. If the use of pyrotechnics etc within 300m of the public is prohibited, how does the MoD cope with the presence of the rights of way across the commons, as very little of the training area is more than 300m from a ROW?

Nevertheless, although most present would prefer the car park to remain where it is, the MoD's offer to provide an alternative site on the west side of Thursley Rd was welcomed. The Chairman, David Sumner-Smith, called for a show of hands to indicate preferences for each of the three sites canvassed. The overwhelming majority favoured the site at the junction of Truxford and Woolfords Lane, provided a location could be identified there which was not subject to flooding (I mentioned the area 100m or so to the south of the junction with Woolfords Lane which might be suitable; it is also a little further away from the riding stables). The Houndown site was unpopular because it was on the top of a steep slope down towards the DZ and therefore not suitable for the less active or mobile. The Pitch Place site, as an alternative to the current car park, was thought to be too far away, but most of those present hoped that the MoD could enlarge the pull-in so that it could accommodate more vehicles (it may however be in the SSSI, which could present problems). This would perhaps help reduce the public pressure on the central part of the DZ. It is expected that the results of the survey which all those attending the meeting were asked to complete will reflect these views.

You and your colleagues might like to consider how best now to take this matter forward. The public interest does of course go much wider than the village of Elstead . For this reason, you may wish to consider  arranging a meeting with representatives of all the interests involved (not necessarily a public meeting) in order to work towards an acceptable solution. Judging by the attitude of those present at the meeting yesterday, I do not think this would be at all confrontational. If I can be of any assistance in this, please let me know.

Best wishes 

Pat Murphy 

Open Spaces Society - emails
Dear all

I joined OSS a week ago as an individual member having already asked for
help. Membership is also available for organisations like PATH.

I have since met Bob Milton from OSS, who is qualified in Rights of Way and
Common Land, acts an Expert Witness at Public Inquiries etc. His website is

He was extremely helpful, gave me a copy of the main part of the Section 193
agreement for Hankley and pointed me in various directions. At his
recommendation I have ordered a copy of "Our Common Land" an OSS publication
on the legal aspects. However, he is about to have a knee operation and
will be out of action for some time.

Bob works closely with Sandra Smith, a keen horsewoman who lives in Ham Lane
and is leading the OSS campaign against fencing Thursley. I have asked her
to come on Thursday and we can decide if we want her to join PATH. Sandra
was at the Parish Council last evening so Leif, Dawn and Sue will know she
is not backward in furthering her views.

It was Denis Holmes who had already told Bob Milton about the Hankley issues
and introduced me to Bob. Their emails have been copied to Ralph Holmes (no
relation) so he is aware of MoD actions.

Finally, I will, on Thursday, be able to hypothesize as to the "Hidden
Agenda" based on my discussions with Bob and Sandra.


PS Do we have a Thursday venue yet?

PPS Have we formally asked Pat Murphy and Jenny Else?

J H Mathisen
Tel: 01252 703066
Mob: 07768 502942
Buy Gold at BullionVault.com

-----Original Message-----
From: Betty and David Moxon [mailto:rockinmoxons@btinternet.com]
Sent: 21 February 2012 10:08
To: Dawn Davidsen
Cc: Sue Gowar; Dave Sumner-Smith; Leif Davidsen; John Mathisen; McGregor,
Elisabeth; Annabel Jones; Michael Organe
Subject: Re: Open Spaces Society

Good point about the Open Spaces Society. I know the Cranleigh
correspondent (Ralph Holmes) who covers Waverley and will get in touch
with him.


On 21/02/2012 09:53, Dawn Davidsen wrote:
> Hi all
> I think there could be some benefit in registering our activity with
> the Open Spaces Society - http://www.oss.org.uk
> Their remit is
> "Our principal work includes helping our members protect their local
> common land, town and village greens, open spaces and public paths,
> and answering their queries. We advise the Department for Environment,
> Food and Rural Affairs and National Assembly for Wales on applications
> for works on common land, and we are notified by local authorities
> whenever there is a proposal to alter the route of a public right of
> way. We campaign for changes in legislation to protect paths and
> spaces.
> We have always been at the forefront of the campaigns to protect
> common land. In 1986 the Common Land Forum, comprising all the
> interests in common land, recommended that there should be a public
> right to walk on all commons coupled with management of the land. (All
> commons have a landowner, ranging from a public body to a private
> individual.)"
> They have 2 local 'correspondents' - one in Guildford, and another in
> Cranleigh - who may be able to provide us with some advice and input,
> if needed.
> Could we discuss this at the meeting on Thursday evening please.
> I am also growing more concerned about the fencing proposals on the
> Thursley, Elstead, Ockley, Royal and Bagmoor Commons, and whilst I
> agree this should be kept separate from the PATH campaign, we should
> certainly look to interlock and share knowledge with any group that is
> set up to campaign over access to those Commons. I suspect this
> will come from the equestrian community - do we have anyone joining us
> on Thursday from that community?
> Dawn