A sustainable future for wildlife and people
We have been informed that due to a major military exercise on Salisbury Plain, the Trust is unable to access the Plain or Old Carter Barracks at Bulford (the finish) on 30th April, the planned date of our Sarsen Trail and Neolithic Marathon.
We have overcome many challenges in the 29 years of running this event but after looking at alternatives including changing the date and route, none of these options are viable.
I know many of you will be as disappointed by this cancellation, as we are. We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.
All participants will be contacted within the next 14 days to arrange a refund.
Once again thank you for your support
We have advised all participants, suppliers, land owners, volunteers and staff by email or letter of the cancellation of the event. Participants have been given the option of donating their fee to help our work or to have a refund. This process will be completed within 14 days of receiving the participant’s response.
On Monday 20th February we were advised by Landmarc (Responsible for the license to use Salisbury Plain) that there may be difficulties with the date, we subsequently had several phone calls and meetings with Landmarc and the military to try and resolve this and look at alternative dates. Late on Friday the 24th we were advised that an alternative date was not possible. We took the unfortunate decision on Monday morning to cancel the event.
Each year we have to apply to the army for a license to use the plain. We did this in November 2016 for this year’s event. We then hoped to receive a decision to proceed in February/March 2017. It was at this stage we were informed that we would not be given the licence. In the past this has never caused a major problem. When obtaining permission there have been times we have been asked to change the route, because of the army’s operational needs, on one occasion a week prior to the event. We followed the exact same process this year but this time because of operational requirements the army could not accommodate us.
At this stage we cannot confirm if the event will go ahead in 2018. We will be meeting with the military in the autumn to discuss dates and will be in a position to make an announcement later in the year.
This is a huge blow to us; the Sarsen Trail and Neolithic Marathon is our biggest annual fundraising event. We have already incurred substantial costs and combined with the loss of income, this will have a direct impact on our ability to protect and maintain the wildlife of Wiltshire.
Funds raised from this year’s Sarsen Trail and Neolithic Marathon would have supported our work at Blakehill Farm to create new habitat for birds such as the yellowhammer that has declined by 74% and skylarks, which have declined in number by 24% in Wiltshire. In South Wiltshire we planned to create a new ‘butterfly bank’ at Coombe Bissett Down, creating new habitat for the blue butterflies like the Chalkhill Blue that has declined by 67% in just the last 10 years.