Back in April 1959, Brentwood South District were looking for a piece of land where they could camp and practise their cooking and tracking skills. They wrote to Mr Asplin, a local landowner, and in less than a week he wrote back offering the piece of land which we now use, for a nominal rent. The site became known as Brentwood South District Training Ground, a title it retained for over 40 years.
This was a wonderful opportunity for the Local Association (supporters group) which had been formed two years earlier and most of the hard work fell on their shoulders.
Dr John Fine was the original President and all the early meetings took place in his surgery in Knights Way.
The first job was to clear the grounds of many of the trees, the whole field needed ploughing and the stream dredging. The amount of work put in by those early members was tremendous; many of the people who lived on the nearby newly built estate helped.
After the land was cleared, in 1960 the LA applied to the local council for planning permission to erect the main building, which we still use. The cost was £150/7s/0d including erection! A grant of £20 was given by The Guide Association but the rest was raised through fundraising events.
In 1961 the toilet block was built and in May 1967 the kitchen and store was added at a cost of £5/2s/9d including labour
In 2004 it was decided as Brentwood South District no longer had the manpower to manage the site, that it should be taken over by the Guide county, Essex West, and in September 2004 three local Leaders, all from Brentwood East District, offered to form a management committee, along with the County Commissioner, who has an ex-officio role. Several work days were held when local Leaders, parents and supporters, Brownies, Guides and Rangers did sterling work clearing the site where it had been allowed to become overgrown, cutting grass, building a new camp fire circle, putting in new toilets and decorating the hut, toilets and kitchen inside and out.
We have received number of grants to help with the cost of renovating the site and are grateful to the following bodies for their contributions:
Awards for All (National Lottery Fund)
The Bernard Sunley Charitable Foundation
Brentwood Borough Council
Ford Britain Trust
The Leslie Sell Trust