Royal Engineers based at RMB Chivenor have upgraded the Tarka Trail as part of their training.

The upgrades and work took 12 Commando Sappers six days to complete.The upgrades and work took 12 Commando Sappers six days to complete.

Members of 54 Commando Royal Engineers spent six days working on the trail at Ashford.

The area is used regularly by members of 24 Commando Squadron to conduct loaded marches and runs around the country lanes.

However, in recent years the path had become overgrown and eroded.

A team of 12 cleared vegetation, laid an upgraded path and improved drainage.

The upgrades and work took 12 Commando Sappers six days to complete.The upgrades and work took 12 Commando Sappers six days to complete.

They were also able to clear some of the vegetation around the top and sides of the lime kiln, exposing and improving access to a viewing point across the estuary from the top of the lime kiln.

For the Royal Engineers it was all part of their work to upgrade damaged routes while supporting the Royal Marines on operations all over the world.

Major Andy Brett, commanding officer of both squadrons, said: “When I used the path for runs, it struck me as an excellent training opportunity for the members of 54 Commando Squadron.

“It would allow us to practise some skills such as the use of chainsaws to clear trees, which would prove particularly useful if we had to deal with a hurricane zone. We could also conduct a small route upgrade with the added value of some more technical engineering design considerations to deal with the large amount of rain water run-off that was flowing over the bridge, off the A361 and the adjacent hill.

The upgrades and work took 12 Commando Sappers six days to complete.The upgrades and work took 12 Commando Sappers six days to complete.

“We are currently held at readiness to react to natural disasters anywhere in the world, particularly focused on reacting to hurricane disaster zones in the Caribbean.

“We infrequently get to conduct ‘real life’ tasks due to training constraints on military training areas, and finding the time during a busy year of deployments, so this was a great opportunity.”

The work was done in conjunction with North Devon Council and Devon County Council.

North Devon Council leader, Councillor David Worden, said: “We are extremely grateful to Major Brett and his team of Commandos for the work they have done at Ashford lime kiln.

“Our parks and leisure team were aware of the problem with this section of the Tarka Trail, but were unable to find the budget to carry out the works themselves.

“Here in North Devon we are very proud of our association with the Commandos based at Chivenor, and we are so grateful they were able to spare some men to do this work, which has not only given them some real life experience which they will be able to use when in a disaster zone; but has also benefited our community by improving a well used section of local footpath.”