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KINGS OAK HISTORY

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Tucked away amid a growing settlement of small residential dwellings on the top of Boxhill and geographically positioned on the approach to Headley Heath is King’s Oak, the privately owned camp site of the 1st Cheam Scout Group, originally owned by Mr W. C. King, the Group’s founder and first scoutmaster.
Bungalow Kings Oak The site is three quarters of an acre in size, has a small two roomed bungalow and is flanked by silver birch trees and split by an ageing beech hedge.
For the convenience of campers and visitors now the site has running water and a flush toilet; facilities that were not completed when the owner first invited the scouts to camp there in 1930. camp old
Old Scouts When the 2nd world war came in 1939 and severe restrictions on camping were enforced by the government coupled initially with uncertain travel services, Mr. King’s generosity of letting the Cheam scouts use the site for their annual summer camp and odd weekends under canvas was a princely gesture.
For some lads those distant days offered the opportunities of being in the countryside for the first time. The small camps enabled the young scouts to learn and practise various discKO Fireiplines of woodcraft, a popular pursuit much favoured and encouraged in the early days of the Scout Movement when many an hour would be spent among the trees and the drift of wood smoke.
Two Scouts
King's Plaque
The year of 1948 became a momentous chapter in the story of the camp site. Perhaps aware that his health was failing and that he personally wouldn’t have many opportunities to spend on his land at Boxhill, Mr. King, in October that year, offered to sell the site to 1st Cheam. The loan to purchase the land was repaid entirely through the collection and sale of newspapers. Mr. King died on 3rd November 1950.
The Group Council immediately decided to find an appropriate name for the camp site – fortunately it wasn’t going to be difficult. Mr. King had always been fond of oak trees, so the acceptable name of King’s Oak was chosen.
  Oak Tree  
Since November 1951, the site has officially been known as King’s Oak, or “The Oak” for short. At the time a small oak sapling, about five feet in height was transplanted from the copse at the far end of the site and moved to the right side of the main entrance. Though it has been pruned many times it now stands as a majestic tree bearing the name King’s Oak.
The Troop use the site for weekend patrol camps but it also provides valuable training ground for Cubs and Beavers when learning the basic rudiments of camping, fire lighting, elementary cooking, pitching and striking tents plus various disciplines advised and recommended to enjoy and endure outdoor camping in weather that maybe hot or cold, wet or dry, or more usually a mix of all four.
Cubs Cooking
KO Flag   KO bungalow
In the 50s, 60s and 70s Rover Scouts and Senior Scouts (sadly now no more) spent many a weekend on the site as working parties carrying out vital jobs of site maintenance. These days such parties are made up mainly of scouters with valuable assistance from a few (all too few) parents. It is paramount that we continue to maintain this asset for the coming generations of 1st Cheam Scouts. Please help next time there is a working party announced.
K O Campfire   K O playing

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