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Page last updated at 14:51 GMT, Monday, 23 November 2009
End of an era for scouts
By Jo Irving
BBC Devon

Dewerstone scout hut
Dewerstone cottages before the scouts, pic:Graham Eagle

There's an overwhelming sadness when former scout leaders Reg Wood and Graham Brooks see the disused Dewerstone scout hut.

Since the 1960's the small stone cottages on Dartmoor have been used as a holiday adventure centre.

But since the beginning of 2009 the much loved facility has been boarded up and needs a fortune spent on it.

It's a disappointing reality for Reg who believes this area on the edge of the moor is, "real scouting country."

Dewerstone scout hut
Scout leaders Reg and Graham spent many adventure holidays here

"We could do every scouting activity here from abseiling to night hikes to learning how to make a wood fire.

"It really was a wonderful place."

To get to the scout hut you need to head for Shaugh Prior and the much climbed rock called the Dewerstone.

Right where the rivers Plym and Meavy meet, you follow the path uphill to the two stone cottages.

For Plymouth scout leader Graham, spending any time at Dewerstone was a real adventure.

"I was a scout leader in Efford for 15 years and although money was tight we'd always come out here for the last weekend in January.

"It was an ideal place to bring scouts in the winter.

"It' really sad to see it all boarded up."

The National Trust owns the property and for the past three decades the scouts have leased it.

But for the scouts to keep using it, more than £200,000 needs to be spent on it initially.

Roger Kirk, chairman of the Devon Scout Executive said: "After the The National Trust inspected the building, they said if we wanted to continue using it we would need to carry out a complete overhaul.

"It needs new wiring, there's water coming in, the gas and the sanitary system need updating and there are all kinds of structural issues."

Dewerstone scout hut
The scout hut during its heyday pic: Graham Eagle

After much consultation the scouts decided not to spend their money on renovating the cottages.

Roger said it was one of the most difficult decisions the scouting executive has had to make in the past 25 years.

"To remove ourselves from the lease with the National Trust was financially in the best interest for scouting in Devon.

"It was a unanimous decision made after a lot of discussion."

The lease on the property will now go back to the National Trust.

But it's not all bad news.

The trust says it's hoping to re-open the Dewerstone scout hut as an outdoor activity centre.

It's early days and will take at least 12 months before any kind of plan is in place, but in 2011 the trust is hoping young people, including the scouts, will be able to use it for adventures once again.




SEE ALSO
Ancient settlement found on Dartmoor
11 Nov 09 |  History
A-Z of Devon history
08 Oct 09 |  History

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