Military training and testing areas


In 2017, the Ministry of Defence owned or used about 900,000 acres of training areas and firing ranges, but at the end of WW2, the Allied armed forces occupied nearly 10 million acres of the UK, much of which was used for training.  The construction industry's guidance from CIRIA estimates that twenty per cent of the UK's land area (12 million acres) has been used for military training at some stage. The use of live ordnance on these areas was common and the potential presence of UXO should be considered on any former training area, firing range or military testing area.

The photograph shows the coast at Minsmere and Dunwich Heath in Suffolk.  This area is an example of land having multiple uses during WW2.  The anti-tank cubes are a remnant of the significant defences forming part of the coastal crust fortifications.  There was an RAF radar station and coastal artillery battery on the site.  The land was also used as part of Exercise Kruschen, preparing to breach enemy defences on D Day.  Following a fire on the heath in the 1960s which resulted in UXO exploding, the area was systematically cleared by the military. 

There is a risk that the Home Guard informally used additional locations as training areas and the possibility of unexpectedly discovering UXO exists in rural areas.  Examples of discoveries include locations in Yorkshire, Wales, Manchester and Poole.