Purchased in 1959, Robin Hood has been used as a Scouting centre for over 50 years. The eight acres of woodland was purchased from the National Coal Board for around £443.12.0 or £8,500 today. On old Ordnance Survey maps the woods on which the Camp Site stands were named “Blood and Guts Wood”, although a potentially attractive name the name Robin Hood Camp Site was chosen because of our association with Sherwood Forest and also our District emblem, which depicts our legendry patron in similar surroundings.
The Campsite is situated 4 miles south-east of Mansfield and 11 miles north of Nottingham, close to what is considered to be the Centre of Sherwood Forest. The 8 acres of woodland lie between 440 and 448 feet above sea level on Bunter sandstone which forms the spine of Nottinghamshire. Soil is only 2 to 8 inches thick, consisting mainly of sand and peat with pockets of forest debris. Sub-soil is pure sand. At the time 40 species of trees, 135 varieties of birds,and foxes, badgers, Roe and Japanese deer were recorded as being present on site.
The entrance gate was donated and built by Mr. Yeoman, the developer of the Berry Hill Area and West Bank Avenue areas of Mansfield. Hence the name of “The Yeoman Gate” was adopted. The Rover den was the first building on site and was built by the local Rover Scouts. The Rover Den was opened 14th July 1963. The den did not have cavity walls and was, therefore, difficult to heat with many remembering the large open fireplace in the centre of the building.
The main building was originally a Gas Board office in Derby until it was sold in 1974, then being dismantled by local Scouts Leaders and re erected at the camp site in its new location. The cost of the building was £1,381.71. Although accurate records of the building history cannot be traced it would be over 25 years before being moved. This makes the building at least 60 years old when it was finally demolished.
The foundations for the main hut were old electricity poles. These were donated by East Midlands Electricity Board’s and were available following the dismantling of electricity lines. A number were showing signs of deterioration at the time of installation. The power to the buildings was installed during the 70s. The cost of the scheme, prepared by East Midlands Electricity, was £60 !
The toilet block was built by a contractor and the District Ventures excavated a cable trench to the toilets. The toilets were connected with electricity and wired by volunteers. The toilet block was later extended to provide disabled toilet facilities. The sewer was excavated under the guidance of one of the local Scout Leaders using his older Scouts to do the excavation.
The entrance drive up to the car park and headquarters was lined with trees, this was called the “Peter Mellors Way” in memory of a scout. The chapel was built by the Rover Scouts from stone donated from the old Annesley Chapel and was dedicated as a chapel and a number of members of Mansfield & District Scouts who have died are remembered in the Chapel.
The roofed area linking the Rover Den to the main building and the new entrance to the main hut was one of the last things to be completed, and the building remained unchanged from 1975 until its demolition in 2010. One of the huts on the camp site was named after Mrs. Nora Parks, who was ADC Cub Scouts in the District for many years. This is known as Parks Cabin and was the last addition to the camp site.
There had been plans for some 15 years to extend the camp site. The local farmer was prepared to sell the land on the east side of the camp site to the District. The price was in the order of £8,000 and many attempts made to raise the funds to purchase the field.
In 2005, it became apparent that the main buildings were in desperate need of replacement, and a new building was needed. Working with Jackson Design Associates, planning approval was obtained in 2008 for a development to replace all of the buildings on site – at a cost of over £1m to build, the development has been split into 2 phases and the funding for Phase 1 was achieved in 2010.
In August 2010, Carmalor Construction took over the site and in 21 weeks completed the build of Phase 1, officially opening in January 2011. Plans for Phase 2 remain in place and fundraising for the build continues.