Set in the beautiful west Pennine Hills, within easy access of the conurbations of Lancashire, Manchester, Cheshire and even Yorkshire, lies Ashworth Valley Scout Camp.
In 1944 after an extensive search for a suitable property, the Districts of Heywood and Rochdale purchased Hurst Farm and a new Scout Camp was born
Our tenant farmer lived in the cottage and still farmed the site. Camping was in the valley, by the river. By the 1950s/60s the site’s popularity grew so much that the bottom field (Leech) became the main camping field. A toilet block and camp-fire circle were the only facilities
Cub Pack holidays were growing in popularity and in the 1970s the Janet Cotton Centre was opened. With a hall, kitchen, four bunk rooms and integral toilets it has been in constant use ever since
The success of this led to a further major development and in the 1980s the popular Ranch House was opened, with a hall, kitchen, toilet and two bunk rooms.
In the 1990s the farmer retired. The Management Committee decided to discontinue farming and use the whole estate as a campsite. The cottage remained tenanted and the farm buildings were refurbished as toilets, washrooms, tuck shop, offices and stores. A new garage/workshop, was purchased and the two top fields, Hurst and Birtle, became available for camping.
In the 2000s, on-site activities were developed. Thanks to a substantial grant from Heywood New Deal for Communities the climbing/abseiling tower, low ropes course, archery & rifle ranges and playground were built. Grass sledging, pedal-karts, orienteering and pioneering were introduced.
The funds released by the grant enabled further improvements including tarmacking the roads and an upgrade of machinery and equipment.
The 2010s saw the toilet blocks, washrooms, staff and warden facilities completely renovated, as well as a major refurbishment to the cottage. A generous legacy allowed an extra bunk room to be added to the Janet Cotton Centre and updated central heating was put in both accommodation buildings. New activities, the cavebus, outdoor archery, tomahawk throwing and a dipping pond were introduced. There will certainly be more in the future
In 2014, following a reorganization within the Scout County, the new Pennine District became the sole owners
Ashworth is an accessible site, but still in the Pennine hills. It has spacious camping fields as well as wooded areas for the more adventurous, There is a choice of first class indoor accommodation and a wide range of activities are available
All this has been achieved by the foresight our Management Committee and the continual support of hard working dedicated local Leaders.
Ashworth Valley is truly a Scout Campsite built by volunteers, for volunteers and the young people they support