Alport - Priestman's Outpost


Introduction

Priestman’s Outpost is a wooden ‘refuge’ hut built by members of the 16th Sheffield (Westbourne) Scout Group in 1933 on the hillside close to Alport Castles in the Derbyshire Peak District, about 2 miles from the A57 as it heads towards the Snake Pass from Sheffield to Glossop. The land on which it stands is owned and managed jointly by the Forestry Commission and the National Trust.

The hut is currently in a dilapidated condition and badly in need of renovation and replacement; a much of the wood is rotten, it is no longer secure against trespassers and is no longer suitable for residential groups of mixed gender Scouts.

Nevertheless, the Scouts use it several times each year for weekend camping where it provides some degree of shelter and storage. There are no lavatory and washing facilities but users from the Scouts are instructed in how to dig outdoor latrines so that the site is left clean, tidy and free from signs of occupation.


Potential

The site is an incredibly important asset to the 16th Westbourne Scout Group. It offers an opportunity for young people to experience a camping ‘adventure’ with limited facilities but huge opportunities for outdoor exploration and development in an area of outstanding beauty. It encourages self-sufficiency and respect for the countryside in a way that few other camping trips can.

So we are keen to see this asset restored, maintained in a condition that complements the surrounding area and used with due sensitivity to residents and visitors to the Peak Park.


Planned Usage

Groups of Scouts (10½ to 14 years) and Cubs (8 to 10½ years) from the 16th Westbourne will use the hut accompanied by qualified and experienced leaders. The 16th Westbourne Scout Group was the first in Sheffield to accept girls and it is likely that most groups of campers will be mixed. The use will primarily be for weekend camping trips to develop the following skills:

  • Basic outdoor survival
  • Outdoor cooking
  • Map reading and use of a compass
  • Building safe camp fires
  • Self-sufficiency
  • An interest in and respect for the Derbyshire Peak District
  • Awareness of Peak District flora and fauna

All this combined with the fun and excitement that young people will derive from an outdoor adventure away from their families with the opportunity to eat food they have cooked themselves on an open fire in the company of fellow scouts.

The expectation is that, as previously, it will be used exclusively for small groups. There are no plans to ‘develop’ the site into something with a bigger presence than it currently has. The hut and site has been used by parties of up to 25 scouts and leaders to date and we expect this to continue. Accommodation has been provided in the hut and under canvas. The intention is to continue with current overall numbers but make better use of the existing hut structure to provide accommodation for up to 10 Scouts/Leaders. We don’t envisage ever taking more than 25 Scouts to Priestman’s Outpost at any one time. Most of the time the numbers will be less than this. Any groups above the capacity of the hut (ie above 10) will use tents close to the hut (as is done with the existing use).

As part of the design of the interior refit we need to provide separate sleeping accommodation for girls and boys – at the moment there is a single dormitory which is not appropriate for a mixed sex Scout Group.

Currently we enjoy informal agreement to park up to two vehicles by Alport farm. We are hoping this will continue, and we are very much aware of the need to minimise traffic on the access road. Our practice now and in future will, as far as possible, be to continue to use the track and parking spaces only for two or three vehicles; we don’t see any need to have large numbers of cars driving along a track which clearly isn’t built to sustain such traffic.


Design Plans

We aim to keep as much of the existing exterior structure in place as possible, just replacing rotten materials like-for-like. Changes to the the interior of the hut will achieve our aim of provide a facility worthy of 21st century Scouting for our Group.

The current interior wall and fittings will be removed. Beams will be inserted to the inside to support the exterior structure. Structural insulated panels will form the interior walls and provide a solid base. The centrepiece of the new design is a brick built stove surround and chimney. This will support some of the bunks and benches as well as housing a wood burning stove.

A movable partition will allow the whole footprint of the building to be used for daytime activities. At night, the partition will be back in place to separate male and female Scouts.


Fundraising

We are working on a number of initiatives to raise funds for the alterations to be carried out. If you would like to help, please contact us using the form below.


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Contact Us

Your views are important to us. If you want to give us some feedback on our plans, tell us a story about your times at Alport or would like to assist us with fundraising for the work, please use the form below to get in touch.

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16th Sheffield (Westbourne) Scout Group
Priestman's Post, Spooner Road, Broomhill, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, S10 5BL

Scout Association Group Reg No. 2817
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