Downe Scout Activity Centre

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Downe Scout Activity Centre.png
OwnerThe Scout Association
Greater London
CountryUnited Kingdom
FounderKevin Tilney
 Scouting portal

Downe Scout Activity Centre is one of the National Scout Activity Centres under the direct control of The Scout Association in Downe near Orpington, Greater London. It provides camping and indoor accommodations for Scouts and Guides.

The Downe site of 86 acres is 16 miles (26 km) from the centre of London near the Biggin Hill airfield. There are three accommodation blocks at the site. Downe offers a range of activities both on and off the site.


Downe Camp, close to Orpington, opened in 1929 as a Scoutmasters' Training Ground.[1] From 1933 it was available to Scout Groups and the site offered camping and some activities, including swimming. This was possible by the construction of a swimming pool which was funded by the proceeds from the very first Gang Show, which was organised by Ralph Reader for this very purpose.

Located adjacent to Biggin Hill Airport , Downe Scout Camp was used as a base for the Home Guard during World War II and required considerable efforts by working parties of Rover Scouts in the late 1940s to return it to a Scout camp ground.

Greater London South East Scouts assumed control and management of the site in 1987. However, in 2005, the site was renamed as Downe Activity Centre and became one of the National Scout Activity Centres under the direct control of The Scout Association.[2]

The site was used as part of a Blue Peter special which aired on 20 February 2007 to promote the Scouting 2007 Centenary. Over 100 Cub Scouts, Scouts and Explorer Scouts were present on the camp, along with the TV crew who joined in with all of the activities.[3]

Downe held its 80th birthday party in 2009 where over 300 from the scouting community were present. On the same weekend, explorer scout district camp, MESH happened.

An international Scout and Guide event, called Campdowne is held at the campsite, and is open to all members of the Scout Movement over the age of 10 and a half years. The last Campdowne was in 2017.[4]


  1. ^ "A Scouting Timeline". The Scout Association. Archived from the original (html) on 2010-02-14. Retrieved 2007-04-04.
  2. ^ "A brief history of the Scout County of Greater London South East". Greater London South East Scouts. Archived from the original (html) on 2007-04-26. Retrieved 2007-04-04.
  3. ^ "Weekend Report: Blue Peter goes to Scout camp". The Scout Association. Archived from the original (html) on 2007-02-17. Retrieved 2007-04-04.
  4. ^ Campdowne 2008

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