“No pyrotechnics of any kind…”

So what’s a landowner to do if Army cadets request to undertake an exercise on the farm? Kelston Roundhill is pretty much a demilitarised zone and we’re pretty much hardcore pacifists. But young people need training, signals is a noble skill and the request was timely, courteous and reasonable.

Our managing agents drafted an excellent and constructive policy to cover the obvious risks and eventualities – see below. Other landowners faced with similar requests are welcome to cut and paste.

First please confirm that this exercise is subject to the sanction of your local Officer Commanding ATC and supply his/her contact details. To be covered by MoD indemnities, all exercises need to be approved by the appropriate Command, so this contact information will be required.

Second Roundhill is a working farm, with livestock. Roundhill itself has a flock of sheep in situ, and therefore care must be taken to prevent undue disturbance. To this end, pyrotechnics of any kind will not be permitted. This will include blank ammunition, flares, smoke grenades, thunderflashes, trip flares, mortar or other illuminating rounds.

Thirdly, there is to be no digging, tree felling, branch cutting or lighting of fires against / in close proximity to trees or shrubs.

Fourthly, all equipment and litter is to be removed from the site at the end of the exercise.

Access to Roundhill should be by the permissive paths as per the attached plan. Once on the property, access will be available to the whole area as marked on the attached plan with the exception of the barn, the water tank and generator area, (marked as out of bounds) Gates must be left as found. Any damage, including to gates or fences must be reported to the management agents the next morning after the exercise is completed.

Emergency access only for essential vehicles can be provided through the locked gate in Kelston (see the attached plan). The combination lock number will be issued to you once the arrangements are finalised.

A mobile telephone number for the on-site directing staff must be provided to the management agents, along with the identity of the responsible individual.

A letter indemnifying the owners against any claim of any nature howsoever arising will be required from the appropriate command level. In particular, injury or loss arising from falling trees or branches will be the sole responsibility of the exercise directing staff, who should satisfy themselves as to the suitability and safety of any location on the property.

Well, let’s hope that more or less covers it. Enjoy the exercise; we’ll try to get some photos for the blog.

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