Exploring the MOD’s Otterburn Range

Twenty three per cent of Northumberland National Park is owned by the Ministry of Defence and used as a military training area. Otterburn Training Area (OTA) is the largest live firing range in the country and has been used for military training since 1911. It consists of over 60,000 acres of land and stretches from the Scottish border to Harwood Forest. Some 30,000 soldiers use the area each year, the wide variety of terrain provides a realistic environment for British and NATO soldiers to train with the latest infantry weapons, artillery and helicopters. There are two main live firing range areas at Otterburn for artillery, demolitions, all infantry weapons and restricted armoured vehicle firing. Fighter aircraft and helicopters also practice ground attack firing, and there are parachute dropping zones. Around its perimeter, red flags fly in warning to a curious public who may inadvertently stray into the live firing zone. But when the flags are lowered, like now during lambing time, much of the range opens up to public.

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Janet looking over the ranges

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Do not touch any military debris, it may explode and kill you.

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Lookout from WWII style pillbox

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Steps into lookout bunker

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Contemporary military staging

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WW1 Trenches

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Flooded crater from artillery blast

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Sheep Trough, dugout trench or trapdoor to the underworld

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Feed buckets and shooting target fabric

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View over Upper Coquetdale Dale from the ranges

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Artillery Target

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Tank Hypathia

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Pity Me Close Quarter Battle Range

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