Sitting in Bianca, our Bongo campervan, I studied the OS map for
nearby footpaths hoping to put together our first walk for the New Year,
when I noticed a village on the map with no name.
Our campsite, Brades Acre in Tilshead, Wiltshire, seemed to be
surrounded by Byways and permissive paths. Tilshead is only ten
kilometres in a straight line from Stonehenge and has five Neolithic
Long Barrows within walking distance, albeit in different directions
from the village.
It didn’t take long to plot a short route to take us to White Barrow
and then to the nameless village, and so off we went to explore!
We approached the village from the East, and our first view of the
village, which was reminiscent of a World World II film set, confirmed
our suspicions that this was a military training facility of some
It is known locally as “German Village”, but the Ministry of Defence
called it Copehill Down FIBUA Village - ‘FIBUA’ stands for Fighting In
Built-Up Areas. The MoD built this mock village in 1987 during the Cold
War to resemble a typical Bavarian village in Germany. It even has a
Church, Graveyard and a small railway goods yard.
I found a British Army video on YouTube which shows soldiers training
at Copehill Down which I will link at the bottom of this page.
Distance : 5 Miles
We were staying at the Brades Acre Camp Site and so started our walk
from there but there is plenty of free parking available in the village
of Tilshead. On the day that we walked, there were lots of 4x4 vehicles
using the byways which made them extremely muddy which meant we had to
walk a few feet to the side of the tracks.