Ancient Monuments

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Tracked target range, 500m south of Crook of Baldoon

A Scheduled Monument in Mid Galloway and Wigtown West, Dumfries and Galloway

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Latitude: 54.8435 / 54°50'36"N

Longitude: -4.4229 / 4°25'22"W

OS Eastings: 244519

OS Northings: 552549

OS Grid: NX445525

Mapcode National: GBR HHGX.6S7

Mapcode Global: WH3V1.1J47

Entry Name: Tracked target range, 500m S of Crook of Baldoon

Scheduled Date: 16 December 2020

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM13739

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: 20th Century Military and Related: Military airfield

Location: Kirkinner

County: Dumfries and Galloway

Electoral Ward: Mid Galloway and Wigtown West

Traditional County: Wigtownshire


The monument is the remains of a 200-yard tracked target range, also known as a moving target range (MTR), dating to the Second World War. The site was used to train RAF gunners for air-to-air combat. It is visible as a series of concrete and brick structures and earthworks on a flat coastal plain just above sea level, in the vicinity of the former RAF Wigtown (Baldoon Airfield).

The target range is roughly hexagonal in plan. The northwest end is formed by a concrete and brick wall and earthwork bank, approximately 1m in height, along with a concrete base for the gunner to operate from. At the southeast end there is a large concrete blast wall for protection of the range operators and concrete platforms for the launch building. A raised oval earthwork base for a narrow-gauge rail track that carried the gunnery target survives around the entire circuit. To the inside of the raised oval trackway, at the east end, there is a three-sided concrete revetted wall.

The scheduled area is irregular. It includes the remains described above and an area around within which evidence relating to the monument's construction, use and abandonment is expected to survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The national importance of the monument is demonstrated in the following way(s) (see Designations Policy and Selection Guidance, Annex 1, para 17):

a.  The monument is of national importance because it makes a significant contribution to our understanding or appreciation of the past as a Second World War military training site. It adds to our understanding of the practice and training behind mid-20th century aerial warfare using a Moving Target Range.

b.   The monument retains structural, architectural and other physical attributes which make a significant contribution to our understanding or appreciation of the past. In particular, the overall preservation of the layout of the site helps us to understand how aerial gunners were trained in the 1940s.

c.   The monument is a rare example of a Second World War aerial gunnery training site.  The site is one of the two best surviving examples of at least seventeen Moving Target Ranges of this type which were constructed within the United Kingdom around the time of the Second World War.

d.   The monument is a particularly good example of a Moving Target Range and is therefore an important representative of this monument type.

f.   The monument makes a significant contribution to today's landscape and/or our understanding of the historic landscape by serving as a physical reminder of the efforts made to protect the country during the Second World War and the, now defunct, methods used to train aerial gunners.

Assessment of Cultural Significance

This statement of national importance has been informed by the following assessment of cultural significance:

Intrinsic characteristics (how the remains of a site or place contribute to our knowledge of the past)

The monument was constructed during the Second World War, for the purpose of training air-gunners to target moving enemy aircraft. Each element of the training range remains visible today, and overall the site is very well preserved allowing it to be well understood. The southeasternmost part of the range has a concrete base, on which stood the launch building where a moving target (a small-scale model plane on a motorised rail cart) was stored when not in use. There is an oval raised earth bank, measuring around 160m on the long axis by 105m on the short axis, which carried a narrow-gauge track system for the moving target. Immediately inside the trackway, at the southeast of the monument, is a is a tall concrete blast wall which gave protection and a vantage point for the signaller. To the west of the tall blast wall, a three-sided concrete revetted wall, in the rough form of an arc, covers the eastern half of the trackway. At the northwest of the monument, outside the trackway, is a linear concrete and brick wall, approximately 72m long, along with a concrete base which was the gunner's stance.

When in use, the gunner fired from a modified aerial gun turret, mounted on a wheeled cart at the northwest of the range. Gunners would practice tracking and engaging this moving target, on the track described above. The mobile turret was moved in order to simulate the movement when onboard a plane. It is possible that the gunner stance was later altered to accommodate a linear track rather than using a wheeled cart to move the gunner.

The concrete revetted earthen bank inside the eastern half of the trackway also protected the machinery from the live rounds being fired. When in operation, the track carried a small motorised engine attached to a target in the form of a model plane. This apparatus was then remotely driven around the looped track at speed and, when combined with the cart behind the bank, provided the gunner with the experience of firing from a moving position at a moving target.

Contextual characteristics (how a site or place relates to its surroundings and/or to our existing knowledge of the past)

The site lies around 500m southeast of the former RAF Wigtown, also known as Baldoon Airfield. During its operation in the Second World War, the MTR was part of RAF Wigtown  which was operational between 1941 to 1945 and from 1947 to 1948.  RAF Wigtown was part of RAF Training Command and it provided a temporary base for several operational squadrons, coming under the operational control of No. 29 Group RAF. The MTR relates to its use during and after the Second World War, and specifically focussed on training aircraft gunnery crews in the tracking and targeting of enemy aircraft.

A total of at least seventeen 200-yard MTRs were constructed for various gunnery schools in the United Kingdom immediately prior to and during the Second World War, including other examples in Scotland at Fort George, Dumfries and Tain (Canmore ID 90557; Scheduled Monument reference SM13653). Additional examples were also built at training schools around the world, although the number and location of these is unclear. Of all the known MTRs in the United Kingdom, the best surviving examples are those at Wigtown and Tain.

Associative characteristics (how a site or place relates to people, events, and/or historic and social movements)

There are currently no known associative characteristics that contribute to the national importance of the monument.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



Historic Environment Scotland reference number CANMORE ID 149977 (accessed on 09/10/2020).

Local Authority HER/SMR Reference MDG13395 (accessed on 09/10/2020).

The Airfield Research Group (2009) 200 yard moving target ranges. Available at: (accessed on 09/10/2020).


HER/SMR Reference


Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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