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Scouting in South West England facts for kids

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Scouting in South West England is about Scouting activities in the governmental region of South West England. The largest number of Scouts, volunteer leaders and groups are members of the Scout Association of the United Kingdom while there are some traditional Scouting groups such as the Baden-Powell Scouts' Association. The Scout Association administers the region through 7 Scout Counties, overseen by a regional commissioner, which follow the boundaries of the ceremonial counties they exist within. There are six active student associations at various universities in the region, each of which is affiliated to the Student Scout and Guide Organisation (SSAGO).

History of Scouting in South West England

Brownsea Island

The monument commemorating the first Scout camp

From 1 August until 8 August 1907, Lieutenant General Baden-Powell held the first experimental Scout camp for 22 boys on Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour in Dorset. The subsequent publishing of Scouting for Boys started the Scout Movement.

In 2007, 100 years after the first experimental camp, there were a number of events on Brownsea Island. During the summer, The UK Scout Association held four camps, the Patrol Leaders Camp (a gathering of Scouts from every region of the UK), the New Centenary Camp (UK Scouts of every religion, race and background) and the Replica Camp (A living Museum of the camp 100 years before). The highlight of the four camps however was the Sunrise Camp.

The Sunrise camp brought together 310 young people from 155 countries to celebrate the centenary of Scouting.

On 1 August 2007, all 28 million Scouts from around the world renewed their Scout Promise at 8am local time as part of the Sunrise Ceremony, with Brownsea Island being a focal point of the celebrations.

Scout Association Counties

The Scout Association in South West England is administered through seven Scout Counties

Avon Scout County

Map of England highlighting the location of Avon
Avon Scout County (The Scout Association)
County badge as worn on the uniform of Scouting members in Avon

Avon Scout County is concurrent with the former local government county of Avon. It provides Scouting to young people in Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire.

At the Royal Bristol Hospital for Children a special Scout Group, which allows patients at the hospital to take part in Scouting, and has been running since October 2001. Activities are catered to specific limitations of the patients, and are open to any child staying in the hospital and their siblings.

Avon Scouts is also home to Avon Scout Radio, a Scout Active Support Unit which broadcasts live from its studios in Bristol every day as well as from events around the county and further afield. Its stream is available on the web: The team runs JOTI Radio—the official radio station of the largest worldwide Scouting event.

The administration offices covering the Avon area are at the Scouts' Camping and Activity Centre at Woodhouse Park.

The county is divided into nine Scout Districts:

  • Axe District provides Scouting to the area around the seaside town of Weston-super-Mare. There are six active Explorer Scout Units in the District.
  • Bristol South District is an amalgamation of two former Districts, and was created in 2005. There are 21 Scout Groups, and 4 Explorer Scout Units, with a total of 1,100 Scouters of all ages in the District. The District also runs a small activity centre at, East Winds, in Brislington.
  • Brunel District was created in 2005, as a replacement for the Bristol North East District, and covers parts of north and east Bristol. It contains 20 Scout Units, 5 Explorer Scout Units and a Network Unit.
  • Cabot District covers the western area of Bristol. As well as seventeen Scout Groups, the District runs four Explorer Scout Units.
  • City of Bath District covers the area around the city of Bath in Somerset. There are 10 Scout Groups in the City of Bath, as well as 3 Explorer Units. The district runs a campsite at Cleeve Hill, and a district headquarters in Grove Street.
Mafeking Scout Hall Serridge Lane, Ram Hill
Mafeking Hall
(see Ram Hill)
  • Cotswold Edge District covers the southern reaches of the Cotswolds, an area immediately to the north of Bristol. The District also runs a Scout Campsite, Mafeking Hall, Ram Hill, near Coalpit Heath in South Gloucestershire.
  • Gordano Scout District covers the Gordano Valley in North Somerset, immediately to the south of Bristol.The District also runs a Scout Campsite, Glenny Wood, which is now open again following maintenance work.
  • Kingswood District is to the north east of Bristol, and covers some parts of South Gloucestershire.
  • Wansdyke District covers the area in the south east of the County, but does not include the city of Bath. The District also has the Chelwood Scout Campsite, which is owned and managed by the 1st Keynsham Scout Group.

Marching bands

There are a number of marching bands from around the County, including the 37th Kingswood Drum & Bugle Corps and Cadet bands, both of which are currently the national champions for the British Youth Bands Association.

Cornwall Scout County

Map of England highlighting the location of Cornwall
Cornwall Scout County (The Scout Association)
County badge worn on the uniform of Scouting members in Cornwall

Cornwall Scout County is concurrent with the county of Cornwall, and provides Scouting opportunities for young people throughout the whole of the County and the Isles of Scilly. There are nearly 80 Scout Groups with nearly 5,000 members in total involved in Scouting across the County.

Each District has a number of Scout Groups and Explorer Scout Units, providing Scouting for young people from the age of 6 to 18 years. The County also manages the Scout Network, which is the programme section for 18- to 25-year-olds in Cornwall. The County Scout Network consists of a number of Local Scout Networks.

The County is currently divided into seven Scout District

  • East Cornwall District
  • Falmouth and District
  • Mid Cornwall District
  • North Cornwall District
  • Penwith and Isles of Scilly District
  • Stenek Ha'n Mor District
  • Truro District

District badge worn on the uniform of Scouting members (West Caradon District now obsolete)

Devon Scout County

Devon County Scout Badge
The badge of Devon County Scout Council.

Devon Scout County is concurrent with the county of Devon

The County is currently divided into 14 Scout Districts:

Dorset Scout County

Dorset Scout County (The Scout Association).png

Dorset Scout County is concurrent with the political county of Dorset, and provides Scouting opportunities for young people and adults in the area.

The County is currently divided into 8 Scout Districts:

The Largest District for Numbers of Groups is Bournemouth, with a total of 22 Scout Groups, the Largest for Area Covered is North Dorset, and the Most Historic is Poole District, with 2 Founder Groups included, (Broadstone & 1st Parkstone)

Brownsea Island Camp Site is Run in Partnership between Wareham and Isle of Purbeck District together with the National Trust and the Girl Guiding Movement.

The County runs its own Adult Training Section - Dorset Adult Training Team, has a Full County Team of Scout Commissioners and also has its own Scout Active Support Unit and Network Scout Unit. It also has its own headquarters at Buddens Farm in Wareham, which is also the County Scout Camp Site.

Gloucestershire Scout County

Gloucestershire County Scout Badge
The badge of Gloucester County Scout Council.

Gloucestershire Scout County is concurrent with the political county of Gloucestershire. The County Office is based at Cranham Scout Centre where it has been present since 1947. Gloucestershire also has an active Scout Network that meets in various locations around the county.

The Gloster Gladiators Scout Band of the 46th Gloucester Scout Group was formed in 1957.

The County is divided into eight Scout Districts:

  • Cheltenham District encompasses the town of Cheltenham and its immediate environs.
  • Cotswold District encompasses the towns of Cirencester and Fairford
  • Cotswold Vale District encompasses the towns of Berkeley and Dursley
  • Gloucester District encompasses the city of Gloucester and its immediate environs. It currently consists of 17 Scout Groups, 10 Explorer Scout Units and an Active Support Unit.
  • North Cotswold District encompasses the towns of Chipping Campden and Moreton-in-Marsh
  • Royal Forest of Dean District encompasses the Forest of Dean to the west of Gloucester.
  • Stroud and Tetbury District encompasses the towns of Stroud and Tetbury.
  • Tewkesbury District encompasses the town of Tewkesbury and its immediate environs.

Somerset Scout County

Somerset County Scout Badge
The badge of Somerset County Scout Council.

Somerset Scout County covers the political county of Somerset. Total membership (both young people and adults) exceeded 5,000 in 2013.

The County is divided into three Scout Districts, reduced from seven following a restructuring from April 2014.

  • Blackdown District - formerly South Somerset and Taunton Deane
  • East Somerset District - formerly Camelot, Frome and District and Yeovil and District
  • Moors and Coastal District - formerly Sedgemoor and West Somerset

Wiltshire Scout County

Map of the UK highlighting the location of Wiltshire

Wiltshire Scout County covers the ceremonial county of Wiltshire.

The County is divided into eight Scout Districts:

Baden-Powell Scouts' Association

The Baden-Powell Scouts' Association also operate a number of Scout Groups in the region.



There are seven campsites or activity centres within the Avon area:

The BP Boathouse, situated in Harbourside in Bristol, is named after a warehouse keeper, Benjamin Perry. It is used as a Water Activity and Training Centre, and is jointly owned and managed by Avon Scout County and Girlguiding Avon and South Gloucestershire.

Chelwood is a camping field owned and managed by the 1st Keynsham Scout Group, in the Wansdyke Scout District.

Cleeve Hill is the City of Bath Scout District campsite and hut just to the west of the city.

East Winds is the Bristol South Scout District campsite and hut in Brislington, near to the centre of Bristol.

Glenny Wood consists of a seasonal camping field and lodge in Portishead, North Somerset. The site is maintained by Gordano Scout District.

Mafeking Hall is located near Coalpit Heath, in the Cotswolds of South Gloucestershire. As well as the hall, there are a number of camping fields available to Scouts and Guides.

Woodhouse Park is, since 1 April 2011, a Scout Activity Centre sited in South Gloucestershire, and overlooking the Severn crossings. The site has five large camping fields, and two buildings which can be used for accommodation or training purposes. Woodhouse Park offers a large range of activities, either on site or nearby. Site hosted activities include Abseiling, Pioneering, Tracking, Climbing, Archery, and Air Rifles. Off-site activities include Sailing, Kayaking, and Caving.


There are several camp sites run by the Scout Association in Cornwall:-

  • Nine Ashes - Cornwall County Campsite, Training and Activity Centre, Washaway, Bodmin
  • Drummer's Lodge - Mid Cornwall District Campsite, Scredda, St Austell
  • Tomperrow - Truro District Campsite, Threemilestone, Truro
  • Trencrom - Penwith and Isles of Scilly District Campsite, Polpear
  • Mount Edgcumbe District Campsite - Cawsand, Rame, Near Torpoint


There are several camp sites in Devon run by or for Scouts.

  • Caddihoe (Ashclyst Forest)
  • Dewerstone (Goodameavy)
  • Callisham Cross (Yelverton)
  • Walkham Valley (Yelverton)
  • Collard Bridge (Barnstaple, North Devon)
  • Fox Cove (South Hams)
  • Watcombe (Torbay)
  • Blindmans Wood (Plymouth)


There are several camp sites in Dorset, including Brownsea Island Scout camp where Scouting started in 1907. Dorset Scout Council also own and run their own site, Buddens Scout Centre, in Wareham. Another Popular Scout Site is Butchers Coppice in Bournemouth.


Cranham Scout Centre is situated in a Cotswold valley on the edge of the village of Cranham. It is owned by the Gloucestershire Scout County of the Scout Association. It also holds the county office. It comprises a main camping area and residential accommodation. It also has a wooded valley known as Daniels Grove where there are facilities for 12 smaller "patrol" camp sites. It is adjacent to over 1,200 acres (4.9 km2) of beech woodland to which there is access for activities such as nature trails and orienteering.

Leonard Stanley Headquarters is situated on the edge of the small Cotswold village of Leonard Stanley. Within the well hedged site there is a grass area suitable for games and camping, a car park and a large headquarters. The site is surrounded by farmland on three sides, and borders a minor road.

Pennwood Scouting Centre is situated on the Cotswold Escarpment about 3 miles (5 km) South of Stroud and 3 miles North of Nailsworth.


  • Blackdown District (before 2014, Taunton Deane District) Scouts own and operate Huish Woods Scout Campsite, which has 40 acres (16 hectares) of woodland for camping, together with indoor accommodation and activities. It is located in the Blackdown Hills near Taunton.
  • West Somerset District Scouts operate a small site at Tivington and the larger Horner Wood Scout Campsite at Horner near Porlock.
  • Sedgemoor District Scouts operate the Campbell Room, an all-year indoor self-catering centre on the Quantock Hills. The centre is nearly equidistant between Bridgwater and Taunton near Nether Stowey and just over a mile from the start of the Coleridge Way long distance footpath.


  • Wiltshire Scout County own and operate the Wiltshire Scout Centre near Potterne. A large building provides indoor accommodation, together with six camping areas.
  • West Wiltshire District in 2012 acquired Jubilee Wood Scout Camp near West Ashton. The 14-acre (5.6-hectare) site was purchased in 2012 after the district lost the use of their former campsite at Roundwood. Previously agricultural land, the new site is being planted as woodland to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II.

Gang Shows

The Bath and District Gang Show was started in 1997, and generally has a cast of about 60 Scouts and Guides. Cast only have to audition for solos, duets and sketches and any member of the Scouts or Guides prepared to give the required commitment to the show can take part. The show takes place each year at the Kingswood School Theatre, in Lansdown, Bath. In 2004, the Gang Show were awarded the Gang Show Emblem. In 2008 the show was awarded the NODA's Stage Electric's award for technical achievement. In November 2009 they performed at the Bath Male Choir concert at the Bath Forum. In December 2008 and 2009, they staged 'A Christmas Carol' and 'The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe' at the Rondo Theatre, Bath. Members of the team also production manage events at various international jamborees. 2012 marks their 15th Anniversary and plans are in place to stage a special performances from the 6–10 June to make these celebrations as well as a Christmas show at the Rondo in December 2012.

The Bristol Gang Show was held annually at The Bristol Hippodrome, in Bristol. In the 1930s there were two Boy Scout Revues. The Bristol Gang Show started in its current form in 1971, with a cast consisting of 85 Cubs and 59 adults, in the Victoria Rooms. It moved to the Bristol Hippodrome in 1972. In 1974 the Bristol Gang Show became Avon County Gang Show as the county of Bristol had become part of the Avon. In 1975 the show was awarded the Gang Show Emblem to wear on the red Gang Show neckerchiefs. Ralph Reader, who founded the Gang Show idea, came to see the show in 1978 and gave it much praise. In 1997 the show celebrated its Silver Jubilee, and regained its title of Bristol Gang Show. In 1999 girls were introduced into the junior cast, and now account for about half of the total junior cast. The show is no longer a Gang Show, but has become the grass roots show of Avon Scouts On Stage and is open to all Scouting members in the County.

Exeter Gang Show, also known as Exeter and District Scout and Guide Gang Show, has been performed every year in late March or April since 1983 (except 2004) at the Barnfield Theatre in Exeter. Members of the cast also participated at a Gang Show at the 1986 Westcountry Jamboree. Exeter Gang Show gained the national recognition of wearing the Red Scarf in 1987.

Gloucester Gang Show is an annual production held at the Bacon Theatre, Dean Close School, Cheltenham

North Devon Gang Show in Barnstaple was started in 1980. It was awarded the Gang Show emblem in 1985.

Plymouth Gang Show - started 1984.

Swindon Gang Show, started as Thamesdown Gang Show, has been running since 1976.

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