Acton 14th Scout Hut and Forest School
Project Date(s): March 2017 to May 2017
The piece of land adjacent to the Scout Hut which is used by the Scouts, some schools and the local community was donated for use by all the current and the future users of the Scout Hut.
The project objective is to convert the land it into an adventure area for all the existing community users and new users from the wider local community. We want to make use of this derelict unused railway land, unused for over 50 years and convert it into an adventure area and a “Forest School”. The school users will include the resident Montessori group but in addition 5 other schools within walking distance, who currently have no access to natural ecological education.
The opening of this derelict woodland can provide opportunities in the community that will enable local children however educated and whether they are members of the scouts or not, to flourish, grow and develop as individuals much more than as a result of an interior classroom education. In addition, the Headmaster and governors of the local Southfield School have expressed their interest to be inaugural users for a range of their different years. The natural woodland environments at the hut connect those taking part with a balanced social approach to their young development.
The actual structured learning for schools and the scouts, can include: tinder preparations and fire lighting; survival preparations; outdoor navigation; woodland identification and ecology studies; shelter design and creation; team games and leadership activities; outdoor cooking and a healthy dose of fun – but all of would be on their doorstep close to home, not as a result of the cost of privately funded “camp” environments
1. Remove the old fence making it good and safe and provide new secure and open, low level wooden fencing with lockable gating and clear the woodland floor at ground level & the tree trunks, up to 3m – grinding any stumps for safety and treat the Japanese knotweed. Clear any dead branches to ensure safety for users
2. Gather old wood and create stacks for use as a home for wildlife including it is hoped stag beetles
3. Planting of new trees donated by and with guidance from, the Woodland Trust and Wyevale Garden Centres for future new growth in the cleared area and also in the garden of the hut
4. Build new secure replacement sheds (which have to be destroyed) in the garden
5. Furnish the new forest area with seating and two shelters for group lessons/meetings plus a hide and create a firepit
Note – stages 1-5 largely complete
6. Refurbish entirely the kitchen oif the hut for all current and new users.
7. Bring up to current regulatory standards all electrical fitting in the hut
8. Paint the interior and provide new safe storage
The project does not require the destruction of any of the naturally sown sycamores and the formally contracted forest work will be conducted by professional tree surgeons, whose teams are fully trained to NPTC standards (tree surgery qualifications). They will provide risk assessments for our work. All personnel wear PPE (protective) equipment and site set up and safety is paramount. The contractors are fully aware the future users are mainly children. The wood used for the fencing and sheds will be treated using environmentally safe treatments.
The Ealing Council Park Ranger has also been consulted about this project and initially hopes to be able to provide at least bi-annual visits with advice and counselling
Rugby Road W4 1AT