Scouting in Avon

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County badge as worn on the uniform of Scouting members in Avon
Map of England highlighting the location of Avon

Avon Scout County is a part of The Scout Association, and is concurrent with the former political county of Avon. It provides Scouting to young people in Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire.


The county is divided into nine Scout Districts. The divisions within the County are reviewed periodically, with the aim of improving the organisation and provision of Scouting in the region. This has sometimes involved the creation or dissolution of Scout Districts.

The Districts themselves divide into a number of Scout Groups and Explorer Scout Units, providing Scouting for young people from the age of 6 and up. The County also manages the Scout Network, which is the programme section for 18-25 year olds in Berkshire. The County Scout Network consists of a number of Local Scout Networks.

Axe District

This District provides Scouting to the area around the seaside town of Weston-super-Mare. There is an active Explorer Scout Unit in the District.[1]

Scout Groups

Bristol South District

Bristol South is an amalgamation of two former Districts, and was created in 2005. There are 21 Scout Groups, and 4 Explorer Scout Units, with a total of 1,100 Scouters of all ages in the District.[2]

The District also runs a small activity centre at, East Winds, in Brislington.

Scout Groups

  • Blenheim
  • 5th Bristol
  • 11th Bristol (Headley Park)
  • 15th Bristol (St Martin's, Knowle)
  • 16th Bristol
  • 21st Bristol (Gladstone)
  • 38th Bristol (LDS)
  • 60th Bristol (Bishopsworth)
  • 81st Bristol
  • 82nd Bristol (St Bernadette)
  • 107th Bristol (Whitchurch)
  • 127th Bristol (St Annes)
  • 133rd Bristol (Newfoundland)
  • 145th Bristol (St Christopher)
  • 146th Bristol (St Cuthberts)
  • 148th Bristol (1st Stockwood)
  • 164th Bristol (Holy Nativity)
  • 173rd Bristol
  • 175th Bristol
  • 208th Bristol
  • 229th Bristol
  • 252nd Bristol
  • 255th Bristol
  • 256th Bristol
  • 269th Bristol
  • 275th Bristol
  • 286th Bristol

Explorer Scout Units

Brunel District

Brunel Scout District was created in 2005 and covers parts of north and central Bristol.

Scout Groups

Explorer Scout Units

Cabot District

Cabot Scout District covers the north-western area of Bristol. As well as a number of Scout Groups, the District runs several Explorer Scout Units.[3]

Scout Groups

  • Royal Bristol Hospital for Children
A special Scout Group which allows patients at the hospital to take part in Scouting and has been running since October 2001. Activities are catered to specific limitations of the patients, and are open to any child staying in the hospital and their siblings.[4]

Explorer Units

Cabot District has eight Explorer Scout units, along with a Young Leader unit.

  • Brabazon
  • Concorde
  • Phoenix
  • Pirates
  • Spaniorum
  • Spitfire
  • Steama
  • White Tree
  • Young Leaders

City of Bath District

This District covers the area around the city of Bath in Somerset.

Scout Groups

Explorer Scout Units

Cotswold Edge District

This District covers the southern reaches of the Cotswolds, an area immediately to the north of Bristol.[5]

The District also runs a Scout Campsite, Mafeking Hall, near Coalpit Heath in South Gloucestershire.

Scout Groups

Explorer Scout Units

  • Endeavour ESU
  • Mvumbuzi ESU
  • Nike ESU
  • Prometheus ESU
  • Sharman ESU
  • Tohil ESU
  • Zeus ESU

Gordano District

Gordano Scout District covers the Gordano Valley in North Somerset, immediately to the south of Bristol. The District also runs a Scout Campsite, Glenny Wood, which is now open again following maintenance work.[6]

Scout Groups

  • 1st Backwell
  • Cleeve Claverham & Yatton
  • 1st Clevedon
  • 2nd Clevedon
  • 1st Crockerne
  • Long Ashton (All Saints)
  • 1st Nailsea
  • 2nd Nailsea (Holy Trinity)
  • 1st Portishead
  • 2nd Portishead

Explorer Scout Units

  • Area 51
  • Barracuda
  • Kilkenny
  • Triple X
  • Melons

Kingswood District

Kingswood Scout District is to the north east of Bristol, and covers some parts of South Gloucestershire.[7]

Scout Groups

  • 1st Frenchay
  • 19th Kingswood (1st Warmley)
  • 24th Kingswood
  • 28th Kingswood (1st Downend)
  • 29th Kingswood (2nd Hanham)
  • 34th Kingswood
  • 37th Kingswood
  • 42nd Kingswood
  • 46th Kingswood
  • 54th Kingswood
  • 67th Kingswood
  • 74th Kingswood
  • 78th Kingswood
  • 85th Kingswood
  • 194th Kingswood
  • 1st Wick

Explorer Scout Units

  • 229West ESU
  • Downend ESU (DES)
  • Tyndel ESU
  • Young Leaders Unit

Local Scout Network

  • Bristol East Networks (BENT)

Wansdyke District

This District covers the area in the south east of the County, but does not include the city of Bath. The District also has the Chelwood Scout Campsite, which is owned and managed by the 1st Keynsham Scout Group.[8]

Scout Groups

  • Chew Stoke
  • 2nd Clutton
  • High Littleton
  • 1st Keynsham
  • 1st Midsomer Norton
  • 2nd Paulton
  • 1st Peasedown St John
  • 1st Radstock
  • 1st Saltford

Explorer Scout Units


There are 7 Campsites or Activity centres within the Avon area:

BP Boathouse

The BP Boathouse, situated in Harbourside in Bristol, is named after a warehouse keeper, Benjamin Perry. It is used as a Water Activity and Training Centre, and is jointly owned and managed by Avon Scout County and Girlguiding Avon and South Gloucestershire.[9]


Chelwood is a camping field owned and managed by the 1st Keynsham Scout Group, in the Wansdyke Scout District.[10]

Cleeve Hill

The City of Bath Scout District maintains a campsite and hut just to the west of the city.[11]

East Winds

Bristol South Scout District maintains a campsite and hut in Brislington, near to the centre of Bristol.[12]

Glenny Wood

Glenny Wood consists of a seasonal camping field and lodge in Portishead, North Somerset. The site is maintained by Gordano Scout District.[13]

Mafeking Hall

Mafeking Hall is located near Coalpit Heath, in the Cotswolds of South Gloucestershire. As well as the hall, there are a number of camping fields available to Scouts and Guides.[14]

Woodhouse Park

Woodhouse Park is an Activity and Camping Centre managed by Avon Scout County, sited in South Gloucestershire, and overlooks the Severn crossings.[15]

The site has five large camping fields, and two buildings which can be used for accommodation or training purposes. Woodhouse Park offers a large range of activities, either on site or nearby. Site hosted activities include Abseiling, Pioneering, Tracking, Climbing, Archery, and Air Rifles. Off-site activities include Sailing, Kayaking, and Caving.

County Administration

The Scout County of Avon administers and supports Scouting in the Counties of Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol, North Somerset and in South Gloucestershire.

The administration offices covering the 'Avon' area are at the Scouts' Camping and Activity Centre at Woodhouse Park.

Events and Activities

Gang Shows

Bath and District Scout and Guide Gang Show

This Gang Show was started in 1997, and generally has a cast of about 60 Scouts and Guides from the city of Bath.

Bristol Gang Show

The Bristol Gang Show is an annual production held at The Bristol Hippodrome, in Bristol. As the production is a Gang Show the cast is made up entirely by members of the Scouting and Guiding movement; many of the supporting members are also involved in Scouting and Guiding. The show currently takes place in October/November time, usually to coincide with the English school holiday held at this time. The show itself is a variety show, with singing, dancing and comedy. The show has a live orchestra, contains many different styles of songs such as 'pop' songs past and present and songs from musicals.[16]

In the 1930s there were two Boy Scout Revues, but it was not until 1971 that the Bristol Gang Show as it is now known was held. The 1971 show was performed not at the Bristol Hippodrome, but at the Victoria Rooms, the cast consisted of 85 Cubs and 59 adults. The show was a huge success and over 6000 people attended, the need for a larger venue was obvious. So, the 1972 show was held at the Bristol Hippodrome. In 1974 the Bristol Gang Show became Avon County Gang Show as the county of Bristol had become part of the Avon.

In 1975 the standard of the show was officially recognised when it was awarded the Gang Show Emblem to wear on the red Gang Show neckerchiefs, this is an important award for a Gang Show to receive. Ralph Reader, who founded the Gang Show idea, came to see the show in 1978 and gave it much praise. In 1997 the show celebrated its Silver Jubilee, and regained its title of Bristol Gang Show. In 1999 girls were introduced into the junior cast, and now account for about half of the total junior cast. The show now has a cast of about 120, and is one of the most professional Gang Shows in the UK.

The 2007 show takes place between 30 October and the 3 November, once again in the Bristol Hippodrome. 2007 celebrates 100 years of Scouting, and marks 25 years since the death of Ralph Reader who conceived the idea of a Gang Show.

The Bristol Gang Show started in its current form in 1971, but there were a number of Boy Scout Revues in earlier years. The show comprises around 120 cast members, from both the local Scouting and Guiding organisations, with a live orchestra playing music from many genres, including modern pop and more traditional and classical pieces.

The Gang Show was first performed in the Victoria Rooms, but moved to the Bristol Hippodrome the year after when it was realised how popular the show was with the general public. The show has remained there since.

In 1975, the Gang Show received the prestigious Gang Show Emblem, allowing participants to wear it on their neckerchiefs.

The show continues to be held annually, in late October or early November to coincide with a school holiday.

Marching Bands

There are a number of marching bands from around the County:[17]

  • Brislington Scouts & Guides
  • 5th Bristol Scouts
  • 15th Bristol Scouts & Guides
  • Bristol North West Scouts & Guides / Polar Stars
  • Nailsea Scouts & Guides
  • Ravens Scouts & Guides
  • 148th Stockwood Scouts
  • 37th Kingswood Drum & Bugle Corps and Cadet bands, both of which are currently the national champions for the British Youth Bands Assosciation

See also


External links