History of The Site
John’s Lee Wood was purchased at an auction sale held at the Bell Hotel in Leicester on 23rd September 1946 for the sum of £1,375.00. Mr. C. Harry Walker, Mr. G.R. Broughton & Mr. H.T. Crofts (District Commissioner for Leicester) were at the auction to purchase the land.
Various working parties erected toilets, repaired fences & generally improved the site allowing it to be opened for camping on 27th September 1947.
The Collier Hut was donated to the campsite by the Clarendon Park Methodist Church & the 6th Leicester Scout Group.
During 1949 a well was sunk within the site to provide a water supply. This has long since been capped off & replaced with a mains water supply.
The Discovery Gates were presented by the Discovery Division on 22nd April 1950 & the obelisk near the gates was presented by Mr. C. Harry Walker to commemorate the opening of the campsite.
The Dick & Phil Cabin was presented by Sir Arthur Curtis K.C.V.O., C.M.G., M.C., JP, D.L. the County Commissioner, in remembrance of the Leicestershire Scouts who fell in both World Wars & was named after his two nephews who died in the 1939/45 war.
The original dedication service of the camp chapel was conducted by the then Bishop of Leicester, the Rt. Reverend G. Vernon. The original altar & log canopy have long since gone & the altar was replaced with a stone built one in September 1995. In 2009 after some tree damage during bad weather the chapel was completely redesigned & rebuilt in its current format by the Midweek Team & the stone altar was built again by one of the weekend Duty Wardens teams.
The Harry Walker Cabin was erected on the site during 1969/70 & first opened for use on 6th June 1970. The cabin was named after Mr. C. Harry Walker who had been connected with the site since its purchase.
The Siggers Cabin was built in 1978 & became the new home for the Duty Warden teams. It took its name from Ray Siggers, a former Camp Warden.
The toilet/shower block was built by the Manpower Services Commission to modernize the site & to come up to modern hygiene standards. It was built mainly as a result of the hard work & perseverance of Mr. A.A. Gutteridge, the Camp Warden for many years. When the building was officially opened by His Grace the Duke of Rutland in March 1987, it was named the AAG block in recognition of this fact.
For many years the Providore had lived in the Dick & Phil Cabin. This prevented its use for anything else & was also a continual problem with break-in’s. To solve both problems the present Providore building was erected & was officially opened in September 1991. The Providore bears a plaque to the memory of Mr. Jack Smith who had been the Providore manager for many years as well as the camp treasurer.
The extension to the Harry Walker Cabin was built mainly by camp staff & volunteers in their spare time & this took some considerable time & eventually opened in 1995. Originally being known as the Walker Cabin extension, the cabin was then renamed the Alan Gutteridge Cabin on 10th May 1998 in remembrance of Alan who passed away on 24th January 1998 after 25 years as Camp Warden as well as previous service in other roles.
The Dick & Phil Cabin was renovated during 1998/99 & work started on The Millennium Activity Centre which officially opened in May 2000. This contains ranges for Archery & Air Rifle Shooting & a tower for Climbing & Abseiling.
In 2007 we added a Caving Experience where you can get a taste of caving without having to go underground. This was designed by Barry Fairman the Head Warden & constructed over several months by Barry & other members of staff. This activity can be operated by yourselves after a short induction by our staff.
In 2012 we commissioned British Log Cabins Ltd to design & build two log sleeping shelters for us. These were built off site, dismantled, transported to site, reassembled & finished off & were officially opened on Saturday 3rd August 2013. One shelter was funded entirely by a donation from The Thomas Stanley Shipman Charitable Trust in memory of Sidney Barrows, a former much respected employee. The other shelter was partly funded by donations from various charities. We are very grateful to these charities for their generosity that made it possible to carry out this project.
Also in 2013 we had a new canopy added to the side of the Harry Walker Cabin to give an outdoor covered area. Contractors came in to construct this for us & to relay the slabs & re-turf the grass on The Green nearest the cabin.
In 2014 we had a shed constructed & erected onsite & purchased some wooden saddle rifles & set up Rubber Band Alley. This is a shooting range using wooden rifles that fire elastic bands. This is a safe alternative for our younger visitors & prepares them with the rules & discipline of air rifle shooting for when they are older & able to use the air rifle range. Like the Caving this activity is operated by yourselves after a short induction by our staff. The Discovery Gates had sadly come to the end of their useful life & were starting to collapse. The gates & posts were removed & replaced by the midweek team with new Oak posts & a single wooden gate.
The site is owned by the three Leicester City Scout Districts & is staffed each weekend by volunteer teams of Duty Wardens on an eight week rota system & are coordinated by the Head Camp Warden with a Management Committee to make decisions on the running of the site, who in turn report back to the City DC’s. There is also a Providore staff rota with a shop manager & a midweek working party consisting mainly of retired people who are able to come up during the day & work around the site. At present we have 24 camping pitches, 4 cabins & 2 sleeping shelters for campers to use.
There is always an ongoing process of maintenance & upgrading all the existing cabins & around the site in general. We also hope to make further improvements to the Activity Centre & the Adventure Play Area. We also welcome comments or ideas from campers/visitors.
We are always on the lookout for more staff for Duty Wardens, the Providore & the Midweek team so if you’re interested, please talk to the Head Camp Warden.