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Braeside survives

December 18, 2019 10:15 PM

Wiltshire Council originally wanted to close and flog off the outdoor education centre sites at Oxenwood and Braeside, but residents and opposition councillors persuaded them to look for a more positive use. Now after a tortuous transition process Oxenwood has been taken over by Community First and Braeside in Devizes has gone to Classes Abroad. Here's the WC release:

Young people will continue to enjoy the challenges and fun of outdoor education provision at Braeside as a new provider takes up the reins.

Wiltshire Council has exchanged contracts with new providers Classes Abroad and is working towards an official handover of the site on 31 January 2020.

The popular site has continued to offer schools and groups a range of activities including high level ropes, science, canoeing, abseiling and zipwire as well as Able, Gifted and Talented enrichment sessions.

Rupert Tabley, Director of Classes Abroad said: "We are so pleased that we are now at the stage of taking on Braeside. We are aware how dearly Braeside is held in the local community and we recognise that intrinsic value to the community and we'd like to recognise the good work that staff have done in making this so. We are committed to running Braeside in its current format and keeping as much of the activities and culture as we can but of course we want to add to it but all these additions will be an enhancement to the local community. We have worked with a number of special needs groups who will be benefitting from this centre next year. There are other groups this centre will become available to through our endeavours."

The exchange of contracts with Classes Abroad follows Community First taking over Oxenwood earlier this year, offering a range of activities including abseiling, kayaking and bushcraft survival skills. The changes followed a business and land transfer from Wiltshire Council.

In the meantime Braeside is open for bookings for activities. People interested can call 01380 722637 or visit the website at

A decision for Wiltshire Council to cease its provision of outdoor education at the two sites was made in March 2018.