This is a project which has cropped up subsequent to the Charrette meetings. Barry Buddon military training Ranges are an iconic part of the Carnoustie community and who among us has not at some point listened to the rattle of machine gun fire, the thump of mortar fire, and the more measured crack of rifle fire as members of our armed forces test their accuracy with their weapons on the rifle range targets. We don’t have to wait for the 5th of November to watch lights blossoming in the sky like exploding firework rockets as parachute flares drift on the wind as they cast an eerie light over the ranges and the sea. World War 3 breaks out at Barry Buddon on a regular basis!
Despite all that noise and pyrotechnics, Barry Buddon is rich in plants, insects and animals that make it an important Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Overseen and protected by Scottish Natural Heritage, the ecology of this site is unique and worthy of the special protection that being designated a triple SI brings to it. Some of the plants on Barry Buddon are only found there, while others are extremely rare and precious. An annual Open Nature Day gives members of the public an opportunity to explore and experience this unique environment under the guidance of representatives of national and local bird, insect, plant and animal experts. Watch for details of that Open Day each year. It is possible for members of the public to access Barry Buddon at times when there is no live firing (ie when there are no red flags or lights being displayed) but care must be taken not to go into dangerous areas where there could be unexploded ordnance. CCDT plans to build links between Barry Buddon and the local community via a ‘Friends of Barry Buddon’ Group to ensure that access is only done safely, in accordance with the range authorities guidance, and only at safe days and times, and that information on how and when that can be done is shared in the local community via a FOBB section on this website. Let us know whether you would be interested in a Friends of Barry Buddon Group by e-mailing us via firstname.lastname@example.org
But in addition, who knew that in a throw-back to World War 1, hidden and forgotten out on the ranges, lies a unique 1st World War trench warfare training network, set out in the way the trenches in France were set, and used to train our troops on the rigours and techniques of trench warfare before they were sent to the front and these ubiquitous battlefields such as the Somme, Ypres and Verdunne. Overgrown and lost to sight beneath Barry Buddon’s rampant vegetation and re-discovered a few years ago, they have been the subject of study by an MOD archaeologist who describes them as being of national importance and significance.
Public access to the trench system is not currently possible as there is a danger from unexploded ordnance lying on the land, and public access to the ranges is generally restricted to MOD roads and beaches only when the range flags are down and red lights extinguished. The location of the trenches also falls within an area of Special Strategic Scientific Interest.
It is the Trust’s hope to build a closer relationship with the military authorities to see whether, in partnership, there might at some point in the future, be a way of letting military historians, school students, for whom the 1st World War is an integral part of their studies, and interested visitors from the locality and farther afield, see and experience something of what trench warfare was all about. This will be a long term aspiration, but worth an investment in time and effort to at least explore possibilities.