Military training on Dartmoor and access implications

Military Ranges and Training Areas

The Ministry of Defence has a training area on northern Dartmoor which comprises (Okehampton, Merrivale and Willsworthy ranges). The public has access to these moorland areas except when the ranges are in use for live firing.  The boundaries of the three Range Danger Areas are marked on the ground by a series of red and white posts with warning notices.

When wishing to use these areas, the firing times must be checked and warning signals (red flags by day and red lamps at night) heeded.

Dartmoor has been used for military training since the early 1800s. There is always a risk you could come across unexploded ordnance anywhere on the moor. Please do not touch or tamper with any strange or metal object, it may be dangerous. Leave it alone, mark and note the location, and inform the Commandant (tel: 01837 650010), Okehampton Camp, the police or at an Information Centre.

Range Danger Areas – Firing Programmes

The public has guaranteed access to the Ranges at certain times of the year including public holidays and 1 – 31 August inclusive. At other times, the public has access when firing is not programmed. The firing programme for the following week is published in local newspapers, at Information Centres, and is available on freephone 0800 4584868 and the Dartmoor Firing programme (external link, opens new window) and BBC Radio Devon broadcasts daily updates.

If the red flags are not hoisted by 0900 hours from April to September inclusive, and by 1000 hours from October to March inclusive, no live firing will take place that day.

When there is no live firing, users are welcome and share with the military Dartmoor’s rugged terrain and challenging climate. The military endeavour not to inconvenience other users.

Any sounds of firing you may hear will be blank ammunition and pyrotechnics.

Details of guaranteed public access periods (external website, opens new window)

On post July 2005 Ordnance Survey Dartmoor Explorer Maps the Range Danger Areas are depicted as follows:

  • even though public access may be available at times, there will be no yellow tint (which is used on the maps to depict access land) within the Range Danger Area boundaries
  • each of the three Range Danger Areas is shown individually. Each is symbolised by inward facing solid red triangles but where they share a boundary there are two lines of red triangles, one facing in each direction
  • each Range Danger Area is labelled as follows:

Name of Range Danger Area
Access may be restricted
For information visit
 Dartmoor Firing programme (external link, opens new window)
or tel: 0800 458 4868