(This is a greenfield site for use by Scouts from Avon Scout County for free with no activities provided. Please note this is not located at Woodhouse Park but a separate camp site!)
When the question “How shall we celebrate the Centenary?” was first discussed, many ideas were put forward. Some were abandoned straight away but the idea of a Centenary Wood refused to go away.
For a long time it looked like a “no-hoper” – the pile of rejection slips in response to requests for land soon warranted planting at least one tree to make up for the paper used.
Our hopes for a site in North Somerset were raised early in 2006 – then dashed when the “cons” outweighed the “pros”.
Time was running out when it was suggested that we contact The Duchy of Cornwall which owns land locally and the usual begging letter was sent. With less than a month to the Centenary we had a meeting with the Duchy’s estate surveyor and came away elated with the prospect of a site at Newton St. Loe, near Bath.
Once the euphoria had died down it was “all hands to the pumps” to sort out a formal agreement, agree a planting plan, liaise with Woodland Trust who were to supply the trees………. the list goes on. Even Ordnance Survey was contacted as we hoped to have the wood formally named as the Scout Centenary Wood on OS maps.
The October 2007 school half term saw us planting nearly 2,200 trees and shrubs on the site to a plan dictated by The Duchy of Cornwall, which each District having its own planting day. Members and their families and friends of all ages came along and helped to plant, the youngest being less than 2 years old and the oldest (who wouldn’t admit to it) being well into their eighties.
Apart from some working parties, to ensure that the trees had been planted deep enough into the ground and had remained upright, 2008/9 was a quiet time on the site. A licence to use the site “for scouting and recreational activities” was drawn up by The Duchy of Cornwall and, after some negotiations by the tenant farmer and ourselves, was formally signed by all parties.
We were given an oak finger post, engraved with the logos of The Scout Association, Woodland Trust and Veolia (who kindly paid for the trees) and we had the words “Centenary Wood” added before installing the post during one of the working party sessions.
Ordnance Survey came back to us, after lengthy correspondence, to confirm that we could have the wood named as Scout Centenary Wood on large scale (1:10,000) OS maps. (The site is too small for the wording to be added to the smaller scale maps).
Further negotiations, this time with the farmer and the water company, led to a water standpipe being installed on the site in late 2009.
It is now over to you to use the site. As well as a campsite, for a weekend or longer, the site lends itself to many activities for young people of all ages, so if you want a ‘base’ for your section, group or district to have a Barbecue, Adventure Day, Teddy Bears Picnic, Easter Egg Hunt, outdoor badge activities, etc. why not give the Centenary Wood a go!
The Centenary Wood site is on a hillside, sloping from north to south. The lower section is an existing mature wood, known locally as “Joes Hole”. Buzzards nest in the tallest trees and there is plenty of wildlife on the forest floor, this area is currently separated from the rest of the site by a barbed wire fence (with access point into the wood).
The upper part, originally part of a field, was fenced off and planted in 2007 with a mixture of native broadleaf trees, mainly oak and ash, but with pockets of other trees/shrubs including crab apple, rowan, wild cherry etc. to provide variety and colour throughout the seasons.
Three areas have been left free of trees and each is big enough for patrol camps, or all three could be used for a bigger camp. All have been placed on the flatter areas and to give good views across the valley.
There is a high level electricity power line crossing the site and the area underneath this has been left free of trees to allow for maintenance. This provided us with a natural “avenue” which links the three camping areas.
Access to the site is through a gate from the lane. Immediately to the left is a small area which can be used for parking. The farmer has a right of access over this area and through a second gate into the adjacent field.
Immediately facing you when you come through the access gate is an oak finger post which has been inscribed with the words “Centenary Wood” and the logos of The Scout Association, Woodland Trust and Veolia (who paid for the trees we planted in 2007).
There is a water supply on site but no facilities for disposing of refuse or recycling.
How to get there
It is recommended, as the lanes are very narrow and with few passing places ,that you use a ONE WAY system, arriving via Newton St Loe and departing via Wilmington.
Take the road (marked Coombe Down etc) to the LEFT of The Globe Public House and follow it up the hill. After a short distance, IGNORE the right hand turn to Newton St Loe. At the top of the hill, the road will bear slightly to the left and there is a junction to the RIGHT (sign posted “Clays End” on the left hand side of the road) and with an advertisement board for Bed and Breakfast at Pennsylvania Farm on your right at the side of the turning, TURN RIGHT into this lane.
After a shortish distance you will reach a “T” junction with a further advertisement board for Bed and Breakfast at the farm, TURN LEFT.
After a while you will see another advertisement for Bed and Breakfast at the farm – which is reassuring as by now you will think that you are lost.
When you get to the farm (which is on your right) keep going up the lane!!!!
The entrance to the site is further up the same lane and on the LEFT – just before a right angled bend in the road. (The road bears to the left: there is a bridleway to the right which will allow you to turn around if you have overshot: it is very potholed so don’t drive further than the length of your vehicle before reversing)
WARNING – the gate opens OUTWARDS.
NOTE: The lanes get narrower as you move away from the main road and passing places are rare. Watch out for the wildlife (mainly squirrels and pheasants but sometimes rabbits and ducks as well).
CENTENARY WOOD ACCESS DURING BAD WEATHER IS NOT EASY AND NO VEHICLES SHOULD BE TAKEN DOWN TO THE CAMPSITES.
In the interest of safety, ALL vehicles must be parked in the designated parking area, leaving sufficient access for the farmer to bring a tractor and trailer across this area and through the gate into the adjacent field.
Small altar fires are on site and should be used. Please return fires to the edge of the camping sites so they are not in the way for the farmer to cut the grass. Fires are not allowed during very dry weather and should not be sited on the ground. There is no permanent woodpile but there is plenty of wood on the ground for collection. Please return all unused wood collected from Joe’s Hole before leaving site. It is recommended that stout shoes are worn when collecting wood. Standing timber may not be cut.
No pits are permitted for waste disposal. It is expected that site users will remove all rubbish from site at the end of their stay.
There is a compositing toilet on site. Please see Composting Toilet instructions below.
Knives and Axes
All site users are reminded of The Scout Association Code of Conduct regarding the use of knives and axes.
All site users are expected to act in a safe and sensible manner:
- Use good food hygiene as there are wild animals in the area
- Quiet time 23:00 to 06:30
- Respect the local flora and fauna
The Leader-in-Charge is to prepare a risk assessment covering their stay on the site and satisfy themselves that adequate safety procedures are followed at all times. The risk assessment should be submitted with the booking form. The Leader-in-Charge is reminded that THEY are responsible for their members at all times.
Please bear in mind that:
- There is a high voltage electricity cable crossing the site at high level.
- The site is on a working farm.
Please remember that we work under The Scout Association Child Protection Policy which is explained on the yellow card.
“It is the policy of The Scout Association to safeguard the welfare of all members by protecting them from neglect and physical, sexual and emotional harm”.
Code of Practice
In order to ensure a safe environment for all site users these basic rules are for the benefit of all. It is the responsibility of the Leader-in-Charge to ensure that all campers, helpers, drivers etc. are aware of these rules.
All booking are to be made at least 7 days in advance as the site is on a working farm and the farmer needs to be aware when the site is in use.
Booking Charges/Deposits and Payment
A non-returnable booking fee of £20 is required for all bookings, with the balance payable at least 7 days in advance. Late payment may result in cancellation of the booking, in which case the County reserves the right to re-let the site.
The site policy is PARK AND WALK. There is a small parking area at the entrance to the site fitting a maximum of four cars at a stretch but it is hoped that most visitors will be dropped off. As the access to the site is along narrow lanes with few passing places, it is recommended that you use a ONE WAY SYSTEM, arriving via Newton St Loe and departing via Wilmington.
All vehicles are to park in the parking area and the campers are to carry their personal equipment onto their pitch. The Leader-in-Charge should ensure that there is someone in the car park to direct campers to the correct camping areas. NO CARS are allowed to park in the access area, only in the designated car parking area.
Camping and Activities
All camping and activities should be to a standard equivalent to Scout Rules as in Policy, Organisation and Rules (POR). All activities are to be under the supervision of the Leader-in-Charge, whose name and mobile telephone number will be given to the farmer when the booking is confirmed.
No activity likely to cause nuisance to any animal or person in the vicinity is to be carried out.
Please report any damage to the site at the earliest possible opportunity to allow for prompt replacement or repair. If the site is not left in a good condition you may be required to pay any additional cost required to bring the site up to standard for the next user.
Refuse and Sanitation
All refuse/waste must be removed from site, with no litter left on site or adjacent ground.
There is a water point which should be securely turned off when not in use and the box locked when leaving the site. It is a metered supply so excessive use is to be discouraged. Cooking and eating utensils should not be cleaned out at the water point.
Latrine pits must only be dug in the designated area.
There is a policy of NO DOGS on site (except Registered Assistance Dogs), of which, the farmer should be advised at the time of the booking.
There is a policy of NO SMOKING on site.
We ask that noise is kept to a minimum, especially during the hours of darkness. ALL live/pre-recorded music has a curfew of 11pm Sunday to Thursday and 12 midnight on Friday and Saturday. All generators are to be switched off no later than 11pm and not started before 7am.
All accidents should be reported in the hirer’s own accident book and must be reported to County Office as soon as possible. Any accident occurring on site that requires hospital treatment is automatically reported under RIDDOR. The hirer must complete a form obtained from County Office which will be sent to the Local Council (in addition to completing an accident form by the hirer). All hirers are responsible for their own First Aid provision.
If any event requires a licence, such as the sale of intoxicating liquor, or possible entertainment, it is the responsibility of the hirer to obtain this and it must be shown when making the booking.
Fires and Woodpiles
Alter fires are provided. Wood fires are permitted at the discretion of the farmer, who needs to be informed when the booking is made. All unburned timber is to be returned to the existing wooded area. All fallen timber may be used for fires. No trees or branches from trees are to be felled or cut. Please, NO FIRES in “Joe’s Hole”.
All visitors are requested to provide their own risk assessment for their stay on site and this should be submitted with the booking form. Please bear in mind that:
- There is a high voltage electricity cable crossing the site at high level.
- The site is on a working farm.
The site has a composting toilet. The key can be found in the water stop tap housing. Please return it to this hook on leaving the site.
PLEASE DO NOT PUT ANYTHING OTHER THAN TOILET PAPER INTO THE COMPOSTING TOILET (so no sanitary projects) “Black doggy bags” are provided so please use for either taking away from the site or burning.
In the toilet, there are three metal fire buckets and a small washing bowl for hand washing. Please use and return to the toilet when leaving the site. Toilet paper is not provided so please make sure you bring your own (enough for the whole stay).
The main source of odour in toilets is when solid matter and urine are mixed so the toilet not
only includes a urinal, but also a “urine diversion system” under the seat. All urine and waste
water from the sink is diverted to a soakaway.
SOLID WASTE. After each use, a scoopful of sawdust must be put down the hole to encourage
microbes to begin the composting process.
On leaving the site, pour some clean water down the urinals. PLEASE DO NOT POUR ANY WATER DOWN THE TOILET!