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Copley Scout Centre- St Ives

Copley Campsite is the home of Cromwell Scout District. with a building and campsite set in four acres of woodland on the outskirts of St. Ives and next to the Great Ouse river.

We look forward to welcoming you!

Copley Campsite Map

What is the outside space like?

This lovely four acre woodland site has one border provided by a small backwater of the Great Ouse, which leads directly to the main river.

There are a variety of different sizes grass clearings which provide a range of different sized camping areas amongst the trees. Each camping area has a permanent concrete fire pad, for use with altar fires / BBQ drums. There are dedicated backwoods cooking areas (please see designated area on site map) and a campfire circle.

A limited supply of firewood is usually available, although campers are asked not to be wasteful (cutting and felling of trees / scrub is not allowed) and to return any unused wood to the woodpile. If ashes are still hot at the time of departure please leave them on the camp fire, removing any debris (such as tins, foil, glass etc).

Wet and dry pits are not permitted. Recycling for glass, tins and plastics is encouraged, with the provision of separate bins outside the main building. Please take any cardboard away with you on departure. All other rubbish should be placed in the bags provided and left in the dustbins at the rear of the building.

Only formally registered assistance dogs are allowed on the site.

Fencing surrounds the other three sides of the site, and a locked double gate provides access to the limited gravel parking area. There is ample additional parking 100 yards away, next to the Leisure Centre. Access from the road is down a narrow public footpath which is unsuitable for double height buses or caravans (neither are permitted on site), and for access for heavy vehicles or coaches please e-mail us to discuss.

What is the inside like?

The building consists of a large hall (which has 40 chairs, 6 tables plus basic crockery and cutlery), a kitchen, an upstairs meeting room, toilets and showers. The building is heated and designed to allow disabled access throughout the ground floor, with ramps at all doors and a suitable toilet and shower.

The main hall has a pull down screen, with a projector available on request. It is not suitable for ball games nor use as a “drying room”.

The kitchen has a serving hatch into the main hall. It contains two domestic electric cookers (both have four rings, a large oven and a small oven / grill), a domestic fridge/freezer, water heater, microwave, toasters, kettles and a limited selection of pots, pans and utensils (sufficient to cater for an indoor sleepover).

There is a payphone located in the main corridor of the building, emergency 999 calls are free.

What activities are available?

The site is suitable for a range of scouting activities, including backwoods skills, wide games and bivvie building. It also makes a great place for young people to aim for as part of Expedition Challenges (including Duke of Edinburgh).

You are welcome to bring your own small boats, canoes or kayaks and launch them from the bank of the backwater or down a launch ramp close by. There is a rescue buoy so please ensure all those on site are aware of where it is.

There are several trollies for transporting kit to / from / around the site.

Large pioneering poles, plastic barrels, a limited amount of rope, cargo net, fire buckets, 6 tables, 12 benches and plastic stacking crates are available for use on the site. Please just return them to the store after use.

The Ouse Valley Way passes the site entrance and a six mile round trip hike route is available.

There is often an opportunity to carry out tasks on the site, which help maintain things for all users and can be linked to certain badges.

What are the fees, how can I check availability and how can I book?

To check availability simply take a look at this online calendar

If available then the next stage is to download, complete and e-mail this Booking form

There is a badge available to purchase for £1 (with proceeds used to help maintain the site). These can be ordered when you submit your booking form and will be supplied on arrival, ready to hand out at the end of your visit.

Any lost keys are charged at the rate of £25 per key.

For all Scout Groups / Units in Cromwell Scout District – October 2023 fees

A contribution is already made via annual membership fees which entitles those Groups / Units in the District to free, term time only use for any evening / day.

Camping OR indoor sleepover is £1.25 per person per night, plus £30.00 per day for use of kitchen and / or main hall

All other Youth Groups, including scouting

An evening is £30, a half day is £55, and a full day is £110

Campsite only is £5.25 per person per night, whilst campsite AND building is £7.65 per person per night

Indoor sleepover is £7.65 per young person (under 18) per night

Note: Fees are reviewed annually in October. Total fees payable for bookings outside the current year will reflect any relevant increases.

Where is it and how do I get there?

Address and map reference (see access and parking too)

  • The address to give parents / carers to park when dropping off is One Leisure, Westwood Road, St Ives, Cambridgeshire, PE27 6WU
  • The address (for just the limited number of vehicles that need it) is Copley Scout Centre, Thicket Path, Westwood Road, St. Ives, Cambridgeshire PE27 6DT
  • The O.S. grid reference is TL 307716 (Landranger 153, Explorer 225)


  • By road – really easy connections from the A14, A1 and M11
  • By rail – Huntingdon station is the closest (15 mins by vehicle), but Cambridge, Peterborough and St Neots are also within reach
  • By bus – the St Ives bus station is just 15 minutes walk from the site, and there are frequent buses to / from Huntingdon, Cambridge and Peterborough.

Access and Parking (see address and map reference too)

Parents / carers dropping off need to be told to park at the Leisure Centre (just 100 yards away) and walk their child (ren) back down the footpath to Copley itself.

The number of vehicles on the site car park is limited (this is part of the planning permission and is for a maximum of 10 vehicles) and can only be accessed by driving down the Thicket footpath (left turn from Westwood Road), so is limited to leaders with lots of kit! This is a narrow public footpath (which is very popular with local walkers, runners and cyclists) so drivers must proceed with caution, drive slowly and keep vehicle movements on / off site to a minimum. If required there is ample additional parking just 100 yards away, by the Leisure Centre.

If you need access for heavy vehicles, coaches or buses (noting that caravans and motor homes are not permitted on site) please just contact us for advice.

What is there in the local area?

St Ives is a small historic riverside market town located in the heart of Cromwell country. The centre is just a short 5 minute walk from the site and has a good range of small supermarkets, local shops, restaurants, takeaways and a launderette. There is a small museum of local history, and a tiny chapel built into the side of the 15th century bridge.

The St Ivo Indoor Leisure Centre is a few minutes away and has an indoor swimming pool, bowling alley and a range of sports facilities.

Cambridge is only 13 miles away and has a range of activities, museums and colleges to explore plus there are wildlife parks, zoos and other places slightly further afield.

The Imperial War Museum at Duxford is only 23 miles away, providing an excellent day out – with discounted rates available to groups.

Local area maps and leaflets are available in the main corridor of the building.

Copley Photos

Copley Scout Centre – St Ives
Copley Scout Centre – St Ives
Copley Scout Centre – St Ives

Copley Scout Centre – St Ives
Copley Scout Centre – St Ives
Copley Scout Centre – St Ives

Copley Scout Centre – St Ives
Copley Scout Centre – St Ives
Copley Scout Centre – St Ives

Copley Scout Centre – St Ives
Copley Scout Centre – St Ives
Copley Scout Centre – St Ives

General Health & Safety

Copley Building Fire Risk Assessments

Copley Camp Site Risk Assessments

The above are only generic. All users are responsible for ensuring they risk asses their use of the site / building and / or activities, and for reporting any damage (noticed or caused) to the Duty Manager immediately so that repairs can be arranged.

The building is served by a septic tank so please do not use bleach when cleaning, and see the notices in the toilet areas regarding use of the bins provided for the disposal of sanitary products.

To avoid cross contamination with the rest of the building only the red mops should be used in the toilet areas.

Mains water to the building is on a water meter, and there are also 3 water taps across the site, so please use water wisely.

Suitable footwear should be worn at all times, the ditches are not suitable for playing in and all on site should be made familiar with the location of the rescue buoy.

Depending on river levels the site can flood. Should this occur then all on site must evacuate to the safety of the main building and / or car park area. All equipment and belongings should only be moved if safe to do so. Contact the Duty Manager immediately.

All accidents must be reported to the Duty Manager, and the accident book (kept in the main corridor in the building, completed as required. The nearest Accident & Emergency Unit is at Hinchingbrooke Hospital, Huntingdon, PE29 6NT – telephone 01480 416416.

Put your phone down and what are you left with? Just teamwork, courage and the skills to succeed.’
Bear Grylls, Chief Scout Bear Grylls