Public Access Information
MOD Shoeburyness is private property owned by the Ministry of Defence. Due to the hazardous nature of work carried out on the site, the area is subject to the Shoeburyness Artillery Ranges and Military Lands Byelaws and is not generally open to members of the public. In addition, some stretches of the beach and foreshore that extend beyond the site boundary are also owned by the MOD and public access is also restricted or prohibited in these areas.
Range Signs and Signals
MOD Shoeburyness is a live weapons test and evaluation Range and as such, can be a hazardous place. The nature of the work carried out on the site means that access has to be strictly controlled. Some areas adjacent to the site's perimeter fence are open to the general public. In these areas, the Range uses a variety of signs, notices and signals to indicate prohibited areas, Range firing status and any restrictions in force in public areas (e.g. Shoeburyness East Beach).
Here you can see examples of what these signs and signals look like and what they mean. Please remember that these measures are in place for public safety reasons and instructions should be followed at all times.
Red Flags - there are 21 red flags located around the perimeter of the MOD Shoeburyness site. They mark the area which is subject to the Range byelaws. Some are visible from adjacent land areas and others from the Thames Estuary and River Crouch. Red flags flying indicates that the Range is ACTIVE and that the byelaws are in force. When the Range is active members of the public are not permitted to enter MOD Shoeburyness. Red flags are always flown at full mast.
Danger/No Entry Signs - these signs come in a variety of sizes and styles and are designed to warn members of the public that they are in the vacinity of the Range. Should you come across one of these signs you are strongly advised to read it and comply with any instructions not to trespass or touch unidentified objects.
Yellow Diamonds - there are two Yellow Diamond signals visible from public areas of Shoeburyness East Beach. They are mounted on the yard arm of Red Flag poles. When the Yellow Diamonds are raised the public may occupy the whole of Shoeburyness East Beach including the sands directly in front of the beach and out to the yellow buoy line. When the Yellow Diamonds are lowered (with or without the Red Flag flying), entry to the beach and sands area is prohibited. Access to the car park will still normally be permitted.
Range Byelaw Signs - these signs are located at points where the public may gain access to MOD Shoeburyness (e.g. where a Public Right of Way crosses the Range boundary). They explain the regulations under which the MOD and its representatives are authorised to close the area in the interest of public safety. If you intend to visit MOD Shoeburyness during non-operational hours you are advised to familiarise yourself with the byelaws.
Fixed Barrier - you will see this type of barrier at the main entrances to the Range (at Blackgate Road in Shoeburyness and Landwick Gate in Gt Wakering). Members of the public are not permitted to pass these barriers unless they have a legitimate reason for entering the Range. If you visit the Range during non-operational hours, you may come across this type of barrier elsewhere on the site. You should not pass a closed barrier in any circumstances.
Mobile Barrier - if you visit MOD Shoeburyness during non-operational hours you may see this type of barrier at various locations across the site. You should not pass a mobile barrier if it is blocking a path or road in any circumstances.
Some sections of the Southend and Shoeburyness coastline and foreshore are private property, owned by the Ministry of Defence. Members of the public are not permitted access to these beaches for health and safety reasons.
These prohibited areas are signposted to warn of the inherent danger that trespassers are exposed to and the potential hazards associated with the historic use of the area.
Members of the public are not permitted access to this stretch of the beach at any time, for any reason or purpose. This prohibition includes, but is not limited to:
Walking/Running, Fishing, Bait Digging, Sunbathing/Swimming, Sailing, Watersports (e.g. Kitesurfing, Jetskiing, Kayaking etc.).
In accordance with the Shoeburyness Artillery Ranges and Military Lands Byelaws, trespassers may be prosecuted and fines are applicable.
SHOEBURYNESS EAST BEACH
This is a public beach managed by Southend-on-Sea Borough Council under license from the MOD. It is a very popular area for watersports, particularly Kitesurfing. Members of the public are generally permitted to occupy the beach, foreshore and the sea area directly in front of the beach within the licensed area (shown in blue on the map).
No watercraft or person is permitted to remain in the Inner Sea Area beyond the licensed area (demarcated by a yellow buoy line) at any time. The only exception is when the Range is NOT ACTIVE, the Outer Sea Area is open and the vessel is travelling directly to or from the licensed area.
Occasionally, QinetiQ will enforce a closure of Shoeburyness East Beach for health and safety reasons associated with live firing activity. On such occasions, the Yellow Diamond signals will be used to notify the public.
There are two Yellow Diamond signals visible from public areas of Shoeburyness East Beach. They are mounted on the yard arm of Red Flag poles. When the Yellow Diamonds are raised the public may occupy the whole of Shoeburyness East Beach including the sands directly in front of the beach (up to the yellow buoy line). When the Yellow Diamonds are lowered (with or without the Red Flag flying), entry to the beach and sands area is prohibited. Access to the car park will still normally be permitted.
Public Rights of Way Routes
There is a network of footpaths and bridleways that traverse MOD Shoeburyness known as Public Rights of Way (PROWs). The routes are open to the public when the Red Flags are lowered and the Range is not active. You do not need permission to use the PROWs but must not attempt to access them when the Red Flags are flying.
If you choose to use the PROWs, you must not deviate from the designated paths. The vast majority of the area is private tenanted land, access to which can only be granted by special permission from the tenant. Once in the vicinity of the Range, you should also observe the signs and signals which are there for your safety.
Please contact the PROW Officer at Essex County Council who will be able to advise you on the restrictions of using the PROWs.
In particular, The Broomway can be hazardous to traverse without a guide. At the bottom of this page, you can download a document which provides information for those intending to use The Broomway. We strongly suggest that you read this to familarise yourself with the dangers of using the route. We would also like to remind you of the provisions of the Wildlife and Countryside Act and the requirement not to disturb certain species of nesting bird by photography or any other activity.
Operational Safety Closures
From time to time, the Range is required to operate overnight. On these occasions, QinetiQ applies to Essex County Council to keep affected PROWs closed to ensure public safety. The Range is divided into four Land Areas and the overnight closures usually affect one Land Area at a time, which will be indicated by the flying of Red Flags.
Click on the pdf on the right of this page to see a map of the Land Areas and PROWs on MOD Shoeburyness.
For more information about using PROWs, visit the Essex County Council website.
Havengore Bridge Status: Closed to maritime traffic.
Opened in 1988, Havengore Bridge spans Havengore Creek. The bridge provides the only vehicle crossing point to Foulness Island.
Havengore Creek is a public right of way which provides access to the North Sea (Thames Estuary) for sailing and fishing vessels from the River Roach and Crouch. QinetiQ is responsible for operating and maintaning the bridge thereby ensuring that vehicular access and rights of navigation are preserved.
Occasionally, the bridge is non-operational due to maintenance work. In the event, maritime stakeholders including the HM Coastguard and Crouch Harbourmaster are informed.
The bridge is staffed for two hours either side of high water (when the river is still navigable) during daylight hours only, 365 days of the year.
Passage through Havengore Creek is also dictated by operational activity taking place on the Range. These closures are in accordance with the Shoeburyness Artillery Ranges Byelaws 1936 and the Shoeburyness and District Military Lands Byelaws 1935 (under the Military Lands Acts 1892 to 1903).
Under the byelaws the inner and outer sea areas which comprise the Range Sea Danger Area are closed when the Range is active. This is indicated by a Red Flag flying from Havengore Bridge and means that vessels cannot enter or leave Havengore Creek. In addition, vessels cannot enter or leave Havengore Creek at night and can only pass through the inner sea area up to half an hour before and after high tide.
Underneath the bridge there are ‘shackles’ – floating pontoons between the bridge pillars. There is also a bar fixed below the raising section of the bridge. Both the shackles and the bar are to prevent small craft going under the bridge when the Range is active and inadvertently entering a controlled danger area.
Further information about navigating through Havengore Creek can be found on the Crouch Harbour Authority website and a below.
A Guide for Yachtsmen
The following information will assist you to plan a successful route:
- Havengore Bridge can only be used when the MOD Shoeburyness Range is NOT ACTIVE;
- The MOD Shoeburyness Range is normally active Monday to Thursday from 06:00 to 16:30 and Friday 06:00 to 12:30. The “ACTIVE” status of the Range is signalled by the flying of a RED FLAG on the bridge and at intervals around the perimeter of the site. Please note, Range operational hours are subject to change without prior notification and the MOD/QQ reserves the right to operate earlier/later and at weekends.
- The bridge is staffed 2 hours either side of high tide, during daylight hours, 365 days a year;
- If you wish to plan your journey in advance and would like advice from the Range about using the bridge on a particular day, please contact “Shoe Radar” on 01702 383311 or VHF Channels 16 or 72 (when the Range is active) or email us at QQSHBEnquiries@qinetiq.com. Please be aware that information supplied in advance is subject to change;
- If you wish to receive ‘on the day’ advice, you can contact the Bridge Keeper on 01702 383436 or VHF Channel 72 (when the bridge is staffed as described above).
- If you would like to be contacted by email when the bridge is out of service, please send your request to QQSHBEnquiries@qinetiq.com.
The parish of Foulness, which falls within the district of Rochford, forms part of MOD Shoeburyness. There are around 200 private residents living on Foulness Island in the two main villages of Churchend and Courtsend. There are also seven working farms that are run independently by tenant farmers.
Anyone wishing to gain access to the residential areas of the site (other than the Public Rights of Way) must either have official business (e.g. postal deliveries) or must be sponsored by a Foulness resident.
Unannounced recreational visitors will not be admitted unless they are visiting the Heritage Centre.