Walton Firs History

Walton Firs has a long history dating back more than 70 years, which includes long links to the Scouts.

  • 1930s

    Walton Firs began as a private golf club – the wooden bungalow that served as the club house remains today as the service team quarters – and was bought by the Scout Association in 1939. It was named after the Commissioner who dealt with the transaction, Colonel Walton.

  • 1940s

    The site was officially opened for the Scouts in 1943 by Lady Baden-Powell who planted an oak tree to commemorate the event. The tree was sadly destroyed in the 1987 hurricane.

  • 1950s

    In 1950 Peter Lankaster was appointed permanent Bailiff (as the Warden was then known), the original bridge over the ravine was built along with a workshop and small hut, which became known as 'Smokey Joes'.

  • 1960s

    Development work, including fencing the site, extending the plumbing and providing stand-pipes in the camping areas continued. The Training Hut in the Cub Scout Field was built in 1964.

  • 1970s/80s

    Ladies' toilets are added the Pembroke cabin erected and new Providore built. In 1973 the Walton Firs Cub Scout Day was introduced, and in 1974 the Scout Air Rifle Championships started, hosted at Walton Firs.

  • 1990s

    Thousands of new saplings were planted to replace storm-damaged trees. Archery, climbing, abseiling, canoeing and an adventure course were added to the site and it was rewired and had a new water system fitted. The Brunswick cabin – that came from Brunswick Square in London – was added.

  • 2000s

    A maze, frisbee golf and giant games are added, the toilet blocks refurbished and more ladies' facilities added. The King of Sweden was among the VIP guests that attended Walton Firs in 2007 to celebrate 100 years of Scouting.

  •  2008

    In 2008 the site was bought by the newly-established Walton Firs Foundation from the Scout Association for £800,000 with improvements and expansion continuing from 2009.

Walton Firs Foundation

The Walton Firs Foundation was established in 2006 to work towards the purchase of Walton Firs, so it would be preserved and continue to be used by current and future generations of young people. Spread over 50 acres of grassland, woodland, flat areas and slopes, the site provides a superb environment for residential or day visits, skills training, games, nature and environmental studies, alongside other activities vital to enhance the development of young people both as  individuasy as well as together with others. It uses learning outdoors to enhance individual's development such as team skills, confidence building and decision making to name but a few.

Walton Firs was owned and operated by the Scout Association for over 50 years. When the Association announced its plans to sell it, the Foundation was established and successfully raised £800,000 to buy the site. More than 20,000 young people visit Walton Firs annually and its users include Surrey County Council, Duke of Edinburgh Award schemes, youth bodies and organisations for all young people including those with a variety of disablities, Schools, both primary and secondary, as well as many Scouts and Guides. We have also introduced employee team building days for adults. Much has been done to enhance Walton Firs since 2008, with many more plans being developed on an ongoing basis.

Donations – time/money/goods

To fulfil the foundation's objectives we strive to keep the costs to our users as low as possible. At the same time we want to offer the best facilities we can, and so to enable us to do that,  we rely on the help of many volunteers and supporter organisations.  This has actually led to us being awarded the prestigious Queen's Award for Voluntary Service, of which we are immensly proud.

We are always on the lookout for people who can help us by giving up a little of their time to continue our improvement programme and support us with general maintenance. If you can lend a hand at Walton Firs, or are interested in finding out more about our volunteer opportunities, please get in touch with us here.
Similarly, if you are able to donate any goods to help with any of our ongoing projects, we would love to hear from you. Building materials such as plaster board, wood and paint are always welcome.

Financial donations can be sent to us via bank transfer to the account details found under the Donate tab on this website, or by cheque to our postal address, or by simply calling us on 01932 863242 to take a card payment over the phone and we'll get the benefit of Gift Aid too!

Eric Frank Trust

The Eric Frank Trust is hosted by The Walton Firs Foundation as its administrative centre, as part of its commitment to provide support to organisations with complementary objectives to its own. The trust aims to support young people and help them develop based on the educational principles and values that underline the Scout movement – particularly in learning-through-doing in an outdoor environment. 

It offers grants and funding to organisations and projects, which help empower young people to develop the social and leadership skills needed to contribute positively to their communities. Proposals for funding are invited from organisations worldwide.

For more details about the criteria for funding and the other services it offers, visit the trust website.



The Camping Pods
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At the going down of the sun and in the morning we will remember them. https://t.co/9gNzmdfqua

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@team_saraid A massive thank you for your support. We are very glad to be able to be of assistance.

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Come and try our new and improved frisbee golf course . https://t.co/Cf7xCsSDxt