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WW2 Training Areas

On a visit to Hangingstone Quarry, Ilkley Moor, the strong sunshine helped to pick out evidence of a shooting range that had been set up inside it during WW2. This was long after it had been abandoned, but behind the area where the targets once stood, the exposed rock surface is pitted with bullet holes. It probably was not in use for very long and might only have been used by local members of the Home Guard, but it is another reminder of a different time when the country was at war.

Evidence from different areas of Rombalds Moor continue to show that the open moorland was used for infantry training. There are no official records as to exactly what took place, but it is understood that much of this was in preparation for the D-Day landings and the liberation of Europe. Cartridge cases and the tail fins from 2” mortars, used for close infantry support, have been found scattered across Ilkley, Bingley, and Harden Moors. On Baildon Moor the training even included tanks, and some areas of open ground were defended against possible landings by German gliders. There are also a number of known military plane crash sites across the South Pennines. At a time of great national anxiety, it is clear that the open moorland provided a useful space for training, but just how widely was it used.