I fly Microlights and am used to short strips, I can land at airfields such as Brown Shutters and Clench Common without much strain.

What are some of the most challenging airfields in the UK for light aircraft? I'm thinking the shortest runways with the most obstacles - I would like to improve more!

  • $\begingroup$ I'm not completely against list questions on Aviation, but note they have historically been considered bad on the SE Network meta.stackexchange.com/questions/139618/… $\endgroup$
    – Jamiec
    Commented Nov 9, 2023 at 11:49
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ And our own previous discussion on list questions: aviation.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/3845/… - As discussed, a single community wiki answer will be enforced here. $\endgroup$
    – Jamiec
    Commented Nov 9, 2023 at 11:50
  • $\begingroup$ Seems like a caveat is needed here that this is only recommended for experienced pilots and that beginners should stick to the big, wide, long, no obstacle runways until they're pretty darn good at those landings... But, IANAP, so what do I know. $\endgroup$
    – FreeMan
    Commented Nov 9, 2023 at 14:37
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    $\begingroup$ Might I suggest we widen this question to "The world" and have one CW per country....we might see some more interesting info $\endgroup$
    – Jamiec
    Commented Nov 10, 2023 at 12:05
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    $\begingroup$ Tangential, but I absolutely love that there are difficult-to-land-at airfields named "Brown Shutters" and "Clench Common" :) $\endgroup$
    – AakashM
    Commented Nov 22, 2023 at 13:43

1 Answer 1


This sort of question is more interesting when we don't narrow it down to one country but have one answer per country. In that spirit, this answer is for:

United Kingdom


There are a number of airfields with very short runways, probably one of the shortest licensed runways is Netherthorpe at 382m (LDA 308m)

Unlicensed you'll have a few to pick from. Grass runway at Gloucestershire Airport is 305m


Often quoted as challenging is Barra which is the only airfield situated on a public beach.

Honourable Mention

It's unclear whether this airfield is still open, it's not shown on any guides, but one of the most challenging airfields must be Vallance-By-Ways. It is situated a couple of hundred meters from Gatwick Airport's runway. You can watch a (pretty scary) video of someone landing a microlight there.

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    $\begingroup$ I'm sure there are many many more challenging airfields in the UK, but this is a start on the most often quoted ones that I know of. I hope others can/will contribute. $\endgroup$
    – Jamiec
    Commented Nov 9, 2023 at 16:39

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