Notts activity centre celebrates 80 years with expansion

Over 20,000 scouts and thousands more schoolchildren from across the country descend on an internationally acclaimed outdoor activity centre in north Nottinghamshire every year – and it has exciting plans to welcome even more from next summer.

Walesby Forest, which is located on the outskirts of Newark, will celebrate its 80th birthday next year after opening originally as a Scout centre in 1938, and will mark the occasion with the opening of its second purpose-built residential lodge.

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Ian Sinclair is the chief executive at Walesby Forest and he says the centre has gone from strength to strength in recent years.

He said: “Walesby started its life as a Scout centre, but over the last 80 years it has grown into much more and we now welcome schoolchildren from across the country as well as thousands of Scouts each and every year.

“It’s incredibly important for children to get out of the classroom and experience something different – and those adventures are exactly what we encourage here at Walesby through our residential adventure courses.

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“We are very excited to be improving our provision for our visitors with the addition of a brand new lodge next year. We have plans for five in total; the first one was built in 2012 and we are expecting the second to be ready in May next year, giving us accommodation for 36 children plus teachers or leaders in the new fully equipped facility.

“Over the years we have seen demand for this type of overnight accommodation increase and we’re very much looking forward to welcoming even more children to the centre as a result.”

“The developments over the last few years have included extensive refurbishments of Sherwood and Parker lodges, an extension to our catering facility which can now seat over 200 and the introduction of new activities including an impressive indoor climbing facility.”

Alistair Bow, managing director at local firm Thomas Bow City Asphalt, has been chairman at Walesby Forest since 1999 and is very proud of the work being done by Ian and his team.

He added: “Walesby is an amazing facility that welcomes thousands of youngsters from across the country all year round and it’s something that I am very pleased to have been involved in for the last 18 years; it has really gone from strength to strength.

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“As a business, we work very hard to support local good causes and charities; I believe it is really important to give something back to the community, whether that be through giving our time or by sponsoring sports team for instance.

“It makes me very proud to see how successful Walesby has continued to be throughout my tenure as chairman and we are looking forward to seeing the completion of the second lodge in its 80th anniversary year in 2018. It’s exciting.”

Thomas Bow is celebrating 150 years in business this year. To find out more about Thomas Bow City Asphalt, visit or join the conversation on Twitter @thomas_bow.