Live grenade training to resume on Woodbury Common from next month

east devon woodbury common

Pebblebed Grenade range after its refurbishment - Credit: Jake Newman

An East Devon grenade range, used by the Royal Marine recruits will re-open after 7 years. 

The site on Pebblebed Heath forms part of the Woodbury Common Training Area. The live firing range closed in 2015 due to weather damage and erosion.

After extensive refurbishment work by the Ministry of Defence to the range floor, internal buildings and perimeter fence, Live grenade training will begin once again in February 2022 and will take place up to eight days per month on weekdays, between 10 am and 3 pm. People visiting the area will be able to check firing dates and times on the GOV.UK website.

Care has also been taken to ensure wildlife is protected on the heath. a 1,100-hectare network of linked heaths that are home to more than 3,000 species of flora and fauna and protected by national and European designations. 

Kim Strawbridge, Reserves Manager for the Pebblebed Heaths Conservation Trust, said: “Military training on the heathland dates back to the Second World War when Dalditch Camp was a major military encampment. We continually monitor the species of key conservation significance on the Pebblebed Heaths annually, including nightjar and Dartford warbler, and despite the presence of the range these have continued to thrive since the Heaths site was designated for conservation in the 1990s.”

Dr Sam Bridgewater, Head of Wildlife and Conservation for Clinton Devon Estates, says “The Royal Marines have a long history of training on the Pebblebed Heaths with their activities controlled through a licence to ensure they are compatible with the site’s many conservation designations"

Rich Carter, the local Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) Training Safety Officer for the Woodbury Common Training Area, said: “Good teamwork and collaboration has enabled us to complete this work and it will be great to see this important facility back in operation. To be able to have the option of using a grenade in a real-life scenario, military personnel must have experienced throwing a grenade on a purpose-built range so that they understand the principles of what they’re doing before they go into a tactical scenario. Training facilities like Colaton Raleigh Common are crucial to progressive military training.”