Milk Hill - hang gliding and paragliding
No lone flying. Excellent site for all year round flying.
Wind Direction / Details
Bowl and small ridge, l00m high.
This site is suitable for all levels of pilot.
English Nature owns and regulates our use of Milk Hill. Mostly they are very supportive, but our licence specifically prohibits unaccompanied flying as a public body they are particularly worried about accidents (they receive a copy of all our accident reports). Your companion needs to be somewhere within sight. The penalty for flying unaccompanied is a £50 levy, half to Oxfam and half to English Nature.
It is very important to English Nature that you do not drive faster than 10mph on the track, once onto the concrete road it hugely extends the life of the (very expensive) road reconstruction. We and English Nature know the heavy farm vehicles go much faster, but that is not our affair! You can be timed by English Nature staff anywhere in the bowl, and they know how long a 10 mph journey should take.
The narrow triangular field below the road is closed 15th March to 30th September because of the butterflies. Outside that time pilots can land in it if they wish (especially if flying back towards their cars parked at the bottom by the barn), but do not fly right to the pointy end; there is a sensitive nest site in the scrub by the gate so please land 100 metres short of the gate.
There are lots of horses in this area, often ridden by inexpert riders. As horses are easily spooked by low flying gliders. Never fly low over horses.
It always helps to take time to stop and talk to other people using the tracks, preventing problems developing.
All vehicles must pay £1.50 (to a different farmer) at the clearly sign posted toll box to use the track, this toll is payable even if you do not fly.
OS Grid Ref SU 101 644, Landranger 173, Pathfinder 1185.
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Take the A4 out of Marlborough towards Chippenham/Devizes. After approx 3 miles turn left to Lockeridge and follow the road for about 4 miles. Turn right at Alton Barnes. After 1 mile turn right at Stanton St Bernard into a track by the second set of barns on the right hand side.
Only 5 cars are allowed to park at the top car park on a first come first served basis. The rest must park to the left of the track (barn side) before the Barn at the bottom of the hill. If the top car park is full, unload quickly and do not loiter. Please do not abuse this.
Through the gate near the top car park. Recently the gate has two chains please ensure the top one and the bottom one are attached when you pass through to avoid livestock escaping.
Approximate elevation 260m/853’ AMSL.
Take off anywhere along the rim of the bowl. In southerly conditions the slope to the north (left) of the track to the top car park.
There are three top landing areas indicated on the map.
The area furthest west and the central area are preferred because there are gates directly onto take off and they are available all year round.
The furthest east is in an arable field which is available most of year, apart from when the crop is mature. If you need to land in this field do not climb the fence to get out. Walk towards the North West corner where you can walk around and back along the fence towards the gate at the back of take off.
Paragliders generally land in front of the top fence, or slope land. Please be aware of the barbed wire fences. Many pilots have got tangled in these over the years. If it is windy then it may be advisable to select a top landing area behind the fence.
The Bottom landing is in the L shaped field at the foot of the bowl.
In the right conditions it is possible to ridge soar the southerly facing escarpment towards Tan Hill when you launch from the southerly take off point above the car park. Before you try this consider that there is no landing just before and then beyond the fence that runs down the slope when you head towards Tan Hill. Beyond that point you are crossing the SSSI. Do not land in the SSSI. We also do not have permission to land on the spur below the SSSI at the Tan Hill end. We have been told that this area is used by ground nesting birds. The red shaded area on the map shows the area to avoid launching and landing and that includes kiting gliders. The boundary line on the sourtherly launch to the west is a line that cuts down to the passing place on the track.
It can be rough low in the back of the bowl near the small trees.
Consider the airflow caused by the spur (labelled Milk Hill on the map) in different wind and thermic conditions. As well as the hazard of rotor caused directly by the spur in a southerly, it is possible to get turbulence in thermic conditions when thermals leave the south slope of the spur and draw air off both the south and north sides of the spur.
Do not fly in this site in a wind direction which is north of west as it will likely be turbulent air.
Beware of the fence that runs down the hill to the right of the gully. It is marked “Hazard” on the map. Note that this fence marks the beginning of the triangular field that is out of bounds from 15th March to 30th September.
The best thermal trigger is the cow barn in the middle of the valley - get downwind of it and wait for the lift. Wave from Rybury can be used by experienced pilots to fly out towards the white horse.
Please study your Air-map carefully; Since August 2011 Lyneham MATZ has gone however the ATZ can be activated by NOTAM so be careful to check before you. A rough guide is to fly towards Marlborough; the hills just north of the town are the best bet. After this, climbs can be found at the golf course north of Marlborough and east of the main road, Whitefields, Liddington or the continuation of Sugar north of the M4.
Uffington Castle has proved to mark a reliable thermal source. The crux is getting back up after the long glide from cloudbase over the chalk ridges near Uffington into the low ground in the Vale of the White Horse. After that the Thames pretty much marks the Brize Norton airspace - stay south of the Thames, and the airspace becomes much easier after Oxford.