North Walney Ranges

At Walney there are two superimposed ranges, both intended for testing and practising firing from aircraft.

Extending out from the peritrack of the airfield is a large rectangular raised platform. This was a manoevering area, accessible from the peritrack, for aircraft allowing them to get into the right position to fire on the ranges. At the north-eastern part of this platform is a curved promontary forming a shooting stand (B) where the aircraft would be located in order to shoot at the target area B where there were concrete walls forming a localised target area, and where targets could be erected. Behind it forming an arc was a screen for catching stray rounds. It was located so that other stray rounds that missed the screen would harmlessly go out to sea.

The second and larger range, had aircraft located at a shooting stand (A) on the northern part of the manaoeveringplatform facing towards the northern and much larger target area (A), which is only partly incorporated on the attached image but is more comprehensively recorded on the earlier model of the range. This target area had an earthen bank in front to catch bullets that undershot the target and then a much larger bank behind to catch the bullets that overshot the targets. The concrete walls (covered in grafittiart work) were where the range personnel could raise and lower targets and be protected by the earthen bank in front.

How the two ranges related to each other we are not sure. They could have operated at the same time, with the smaller range for testing smaller calibre weapons and the larger range was for larger calibre weapons. Alternatively the smaller range may have been the earlier and was made redundant by the construction of the larger range.

The large pools were evidently quarry pits used to extract material for the construction of the large manoevering platform or possibly also for the construction of the airfield.

This information is taken from a document titled ‘North Walney Gunner Ranges‘.


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