The Larkhill area includes military facilities at the following locations:
Your DE Area office is located at: Heath House, Heath Square, Larkhill, Wiltshire, SP4 8NR.
Larkhill Garrison is situated in the beautiful countryside of Wiltshire close to the World Heritage sites of Stonehenge and Woodhenge and together with Bulford, Tidworth and surrounding areas is part of the Salisbury Plain Super-garrison. Larkhill is situated just off the A303 making it within easy reach of places such as Basingstoke, Reading and London, as well as being on the main route to Devon and Cornwall.
Southampton and the New Forest are also only an hour away.
Larkhill itself is home to 14 Regt RA, 32 Regt RA and the Royal School of Artillery.
The camp has been a major training facility during both major World Wars and continues to be an important, world renowned centre of excellence for Gunnery.
The 'patch' itself
SFA across the area varies enormously, from pretty decent to unbelievably appalling. All officers' SFA - regardless of location - conforms to one of 4 basic designs depending on rank and number of children. There is also a smaller patch called 'Strangways' catering to officers mostly above Lt Col rank. For the ORs, there is a considerable amount of difference across the estate, ranging from tiny terrace houses constructed in the 1970s to monolithic loaf-shaped grey boxes that look as though they were approved by the Politburo. Gardens are all fairly reasonable although as usual, the vast majority of officers' SFA have large gardens whilst the ORs - especially junior ranks - have postage stamp-sized collections of grass.
As with all patches, conduct a recce beforehand and ask around to see which SFA is currently empty - the usual policy of asking for a specific address still works!
Finally, MHS and DE in this area are woeful. Always (always, always) get a job reference number and be prepared for a fight: it is not unusual for families to be moved into hotel accommodation as basic repairs to internal fittings and plumbing cannot be effected within the contracted timeframe.
3 bedroom on Northern Terrace. The houses have a 3rd bed room which is small - just about fit a bed and maybe a chest of drawers in it, but they do have built-in wardrobes. Opinion on the flats on Biddulph Road are split between "not so good2 and "nice area but no idea what the flats are like". The flat are, however, located at the top of the patch which is generally perceived to be much nicer than the bottom part of the patch, although further from the shops and schools, and suchlike.
Houses on Lightfood Road are not on busy roads, but off the packway which can get busy at times. The houses are nice, decent sized rooms, separate toilet and bathroom and a good sized garden. Generally considered to be "not the worst place" to live in at Larkhill.
The Community Centre
Larkhill possesses a newly-built Community Centre which contains the HIVE (open 0900 - 1500hrs and call 01980 845715 to speak to the Information Officer) and acts as the focal point for a reasonable array of activities and interests. The Health Visitors are based in the Community Centre and are linked to Larkhill Medical Centre and Barcroft Medical Centre.
The Health Visitors are normally available in the Community Centre from Monday to Friday between 0900 - 1000hrs and can be contacted on 01980 654115. In addition, Child Health Clinics are held on Wednesday mornings from 0900 - 1200hrs in the Community Centre. If you fancy aerobics, you will find oodles of lycra and groovy music on Mondays & Wednesdays 1800 - 1900hrs and Saturday 0930 - 1030hrs (so no excuses!)
Finally, the Community Development Worker is also based in the Community Centre - call 01980 845753 for more info.
Children and Education
The catchment area for Larkhill is: Larkhill Primary School, Durrington Infant & Junior Schools, Figheldean Primary School, Netheravon Primary School, Amesbury Infant & Junior Schools. Local Secondary Education is either at Stonehenge or Avon Valley College.
The only specialist school in this area is Appleford School in Shrewton, this school deals with dyslexia and speech problems. Please note this is an Independent School.
There is a small independent school, Avondale, in Bulford Village which is popular with forces families of all ranks as it offers wrap around childcare as well as excellent education.
A school and a pre-school. Various activities for children, both day-time and evening are run in the Community Centre which also houses the Unit Welfare Offices.
There are many in the immediate area - one very popular one is Wise Owls Nursery in Durrington - about a 2 minute drive from Larkhill.
Transport and Travel
The nearest mainline train stations from Larkhill are Andover and Salisbury, both stations are approximately 10 miles away from Larkhill. There is a smaller station located in Grateley (but only every other train stops at this station) and services at the station are minimal (including the fact that one cannot purchase tickets at the station other than from a machine!). However, it is the closest station to Larkhill and ideal for picking up family and friends from.
Your nearest airport is Southampton, which services most international airports.
There are recommended training classes / agility classes run by an organisation in Pitton, on the outskirts of Salisbury, called Fun for Dogs.
There are also puppy classes run at the vets in Durrington Stonehenge Vet
Medical and Dental
Larkhill also has a Medical Centre for both soldiers and families. Male and female doctors are available, and they provide an open, caring and friendly service for the family. Be prepared to travel to Tidworth in silent hours or during block leave periods. Recent changes in out of hours care may mean travelling to Salisbury District Hospital for medical emergencies late at night or at weekends.
The Barcroft Medical Centre
The Barcroft is in Amesbury and is a modern, well designed and accessible medical practice. You can find out more about it here.
The Practice Cross Plain
The Practice offers:
- Two surgeries: Durrington & Shrewton
- Full range of health services including minor surgery, child health & contraception
- Male and female doctors
For more info, email Rosie Fordyce here.
Dental Care for Families
Anyone looking for a Dentist in the Tidworth/Bulford/Larkhill Area. The Castle Dental Practice on Station Road Tidworth has 3000 places available to local families, priority to Army families first. Their telephone number is 01980 847953.(March 2010).
Sports and Leisure
There are a wide range of facilities in Larkhill Camp itself; these include a gymnasium, stable and a clay pigeon shoot. In the wider area, facilities are somewhat limited so be prepared to travel to Andover or Salisbury to find a decent civilian gym.
Local Clubs and Groups
Junior Gym Club
Held in the Garrison Gym and aimed at children between 4 and 15 years old - with specific activities and groups within that range. Mondays 1700 - 1800hrs for beginners, then 1800 - 1900hrs for more advanced and a mixed-ability class on Wednesdays 1800 - 1900hrs.
- Beavers meet at the Community Centre on Tuesdays 1800 - 1930hrs. For more information contact John Hanley on 01980 624202. Ages 6 - 8 years old.
- Cubs meet at the Community Centre on Tuesdays at 1800 - 1930hrs as well - not a typo! Contact John as above. For 8 - 10 year olds.
- Scouts also meet at the Community Centre on Tuesdays between 1800 - 1930 hrs - talk to John as above. For children 10 years old +.
- Brownies meet in 'Horne Barracks' every Wednesday 1830 - 2000hrs for 7 - 10 year olds. For more details, contact the HIVE.
- Guides also meet in 'Horne Barracks' every Monday 1830 - 2030hrs. Call 01980 632896 for more details. Ages 10 - 16 years old.
Army Cadet Force
The ACF meet in the MoD Police Building (just up the hill from the Community Centre) every Wednesday 1900 - 2100hrs. Call 01980 615671 for more info. For 13 - 18 year olds.
Larkhill Garrison Youth Club
Meets every Thursday 1830 - 2100hrs at the Swimming Pool - call 'John Truscott' on 01980 845753. For 13 - 18 year olds. Voulntary Youth Workers always wanted, Male or Female.
The Army Welfare Service also co-ordinate a comprehensive summer activity programme consisting of 15 to 20 quality events. The programme also caters for the protracted Boarding School vacations. For more information please contact Community Development Worker at the Community Centre. Call 01980 845753.
- The Garrison Church. The Garrison Church of St Alban is one of the Larkhill landmarks. It stands in its own grounds next to the main entrance of the Royal School of Artillery. Sunday Services are held at 1000hrs for Parish Communion or Family Worship. Weddings and Baptisms can be arranged at any time with the Chaplain, whose office is located in the Church. Call 01980 845289.
- Roman Catholic Church. The Roman Catholic Church of St Barbara and St Anthony is across the car park from the NAAFI/Spar shop. Holy Mass is at 0900hrs Sunday with Confessions being held before Mass. Baptisms and Marriages by appointment with the Chaplain. The Chaplain serves both Larkhill and Bulford and may be contacted at: The Chaplains House, Bulford. Call 01980 842427.
- Methodist and United Board. There is a Methodist Church in the High Street in Amesbury. The Minister can be contacted at 76A Countess Road, Amesbury, SP4 7AT. Call 01980 623948.
- Baptist. The Baptist Church meets in Amesbury Baptist Centre, Butterfield Drive, Amesbury. The Minister can be contacted at 2 Fosters Bushes, Butterfield Down, Amesbury SP4 7SG. Call 01980 626164.
Gyms and Leisure Centres
- Amesbury Sports & Community Centre, Amesbury (01980 622173).
- Durrington Swimming & Fitness Centre, Durrington (01980 594594).
- Bulford Swimming Pool (Aquafit). Tuesday and Thursday 1815 - 1930hrs. Contact Sheila or Jo (01980 672218).
- Salisbury Leisure Centre, Hulse Rd, Salisbury. (01722 339966).
- Tidworth Leisure Centre, Nadder Rd, Tidworth. (01980 847140).
- Stirling Barracks Gym. There is a gym in Stirling Barracks, which is home of the School of Royal Artillery and 14 Regiment RA. The facilities here are primarily for service personnel, although many activities welcome dependants. The facilities include squash courts, tennis courts, multi-gym, aerobics, badminton, indoor football, and many others. Dependants wishing to use any of these facilities should contact the gym. (01980 675305).
- Larkhill Clay Target Shooting Club. Located at Purvis Lines, the club's shooting events take place on the Second and Fourth Sunday of every month from 1000 - 1300 hrs. The Club is open to most age groups. For more information please contact Keith Howe on 07751 167883 or email him! (or try this one!)
- Larkhill Amateur Dramatics Society. For more information please on future events please contact the secretary Marion Haskins on 01980 623827 or Jim Reid on 01980 845474.
- The 'Larks' Choral Society. The LARKS are seeking new recruits to boost their numbers. If you would like to join, pop along to their practices on Tuesday evenings at 1930hrs in the Larkhill Garrison Church. For any further information please contact 'David Felgate' on 01980 623223 or email him!
- Odeon, Salisbury. The local cinema is the ODEON and can be found at New Canal Street in Salisbury. The 24 hour line for booking and information is 0870 5050007.
- Salisbury Playhouse. Malthouse Lane, Salisbury. A six monthly programme is available from the box office (01722 320333).
- Reel Cinema, Andover. A recently opened Cinema on the edge of Andover. Easily accessible from the A303 and with parking adjacent. More information can be found on its web page http://www.reelcinemas.co.uk/info/about or on 01509 22 11 55.
The town of Amesbury is 3 miles away and has a variety of shops including a good Co-operative supermarket, butcher, greengrocer and baker. The cathedral city of Salisbury is 10 miles away and the town of Andover is a 20 minute drive, both of which have a good selection of shops as well as coach and railway stations.
The nearby village of Durrington has a small Tescos, Sainsbury's and Co-Op, all of which can provide most essentials. There is also a good Londis in Shrewton, another of the local villages, as well as a superb butchers.
Facilities in Larkhill
The beating commercial heart of Larkhill is 'The Packway' which lies astride the main road as it passes through Larkhill from Shrewton to Durrington. 'The Packway' is within easy walking distance from the majority of ORs' SFA (and all the main barracks) and perhaps a little longer (approx 10 mins) from the officers' SFA. Shops and businesses include a (superb) Indian restaurant (The Maldives), a Chinese-style Takeaway that also does fish and chips (The Jubilee - also excellent), a barber (also good at doing children's hair) and a beautician's, Post Office, a newsagents, a pet shop, military kit shop, a rather small convenience store (Country Stores), a cafe (The Green Tree), which is not your usual "patch" greasy spoon, more a coffee/cake, ice-cream parlour and sandwich shop,(excellent by the way), and a takeaway kebab shop next to that.
Charterhouse Property Services can sort out your window cleaning, garden maintenance & march out cleaning. give James a call on 07564 519061 for any information you may require.
Stonehenge is one of 890 UNESCO World Heritage Sites - and it is within very easy walking distance of the patch in Larkhill. It is possible to walk directly from most SFA across a few fields up to the very edge of the site itself. At Summer Solstice, the roads around Larkhill fill up with 'travelling folk' as they make their way to the stones to commune with nature, meet new friends and generally get high. The entire area gridlocks until the travellers move on so be prepared - and attempting to move in/out around this time should be carefully considered. There is also a small but growing movement on the patch itself which sets off in the very early hours 'on the day' and walks round - complete with pushchairs - up onto 'Kings' Rise' which overlooks the stones and affords an excellent view of the crowds. At the appointed time, the entire crowd cheers - quite something. Prices are quite steep (considering it is a pile of stones) but kids under 5 go free.
Stonehenge's slightly less famous brother is 'Woodhenge'. Part of the Stonehenge World Heritage Site, it lies about 1.5 miles from its bigger brother and is literally just off the officers' patch - a 2 minute walk at most. A 'Class 1 henge', it attracts a bizarrely high amount of tourist traffic who all delight in parking on the road past the site. At the end of the day, the site consists of a series of concrete posts buried where the original tree trunks originally were. Worth stopping by, especially on a nice summer's day where the views across Amesbury, Boscombe and New Zealand Farm Camp are most edifying - and it's free!
Jobs and Recruitment Agencies
The labour market is reasonably vibrant in this neck of the woods. With several large MoD facilities close by, and more being built and expanded, perhaps the growth of this area is reflected in the fact that large supermarkets are popping up seemingly every day! Larkhill now boasts its own little Tesco (unheard of 10 years ago), Sainsbury's and Somerfield - along with a new Coop in Amesbury.
There are many online agencies and utilities one can use to search for a job - Reed is perhaps typical. There is also a branch of Travail in Amesbury, located on the main street (6 Salisbury Street) - email them for more details.
The nearest JobCentre Plus is in Salisbury, just off Fisherton Street, behind Salisbury Playhouse.
- Army Families Federation Co-ordinator for Salisbury Plain - Tel: 0752 749 2783 - Email