Midhope Moors AVFR, Yorkshire
Visit Date(s): 22nd October 2011
Two sets of targets form the Midhope Armoured Vehicle Firing Range (AVFR): Midhope Moors and Ewden Heights. Currently research is being undertaken into these remains. So far, it is speculated that the targets were developed either for (or by) the 9th Armoured Division in 1941(?). However, there is evidence from Regimental diaries that the range was certainly used by the 1st Armoured Battalion, The Coldstream Guards in January 1944 and during 1943-1944 by the Northamptonshire Yeomanry, the latter using Cromwells and Valentines. Various exercises were undertaken including range firing, battle and camouflage practice and small arms firing.
The range consists of two sets of targets forming linear earthworks, whose remains include associated winch mechanism pits protected by an earthen bank reinforced with a drystone butt . Also extant is a narrow, brick-lined channel for the towed target system. Larger visible remains include a narrow gauge rail line with semi-sunk rail supports, upon which heavier, possibly three dimensional, model target vehicles were winched traversing across the line of fire behind the concrete screen which runs the full length of the target carrier cutting. At one end is the winch/target trolley shed. Also extant are the access roads (one of which is private) and the range road system, firing platforms and tank turning area. A nearby farmstead, named North America Farm, was also used as a target.
A hutted camp at Townhead Farm, Midhopestones, was used by the range staff and visiting crews were billeted in nearby Penistone and Holmfirth.
The photographs posted so far record the easterly of the two targets on the range at Ewden Heights.
Further details welcome!