Height Nook

Height Nook is our own activity centre.

Situated in the heart of the moors, it is an ideal location for small groups to enjoy holidays and activity days away.

Height Nook has recently been refurbished and we now collaborate with SportingNRG who are able to offer a range of supervised activities that can be booked as part of a package deal.

if you would like to learn more about Height Nook or are interested in making a booking, please get in touch with us!

Email heightnook@girlguidinglancsborder.org or heightnook@sportingnrg.co.uk

Julia, who is part of the Height Nook Committee writes:

“Height Nook Activity Centre was purchased by Lancashire Border Girl Guides around 35 years ago, to provide a centre where Guiders could take their girls for weekends away.

The property is situated about 12 miles to the North of Bolton within the Council area of Blackburn with Darwen. It is a stone-built house comprising a kitchen, dining area, lounge, conservatory, 3 bedrooms, 2 toilets and 2 showers.

Outside the property has a car park, playground and a piece of land that needs developing into a usable space.

Over the past 35 years the running of the house has been the responsibility of a committee, some of whom have been serving ever since Height Nook was purchased. This group of very dedicated ladies have ensured that the property has been very well maintained, clean and well-resourced for visiting groups. They also welcomed every group as they arrived and returned at the end of the weekend to see the group safely off the premises, whatever the weather!

Over the past 35 years many very happy memories have been made by Rainbows, Brownies, Guides, Rangers, Leaders and ex Leaders. Weekend holidays, Training Sessions, Revels, Afternoon Teas and Work Days have all taken place in the beautiful setting of Pickup Bank.

During its time, as a Guide Centre, Height Nook will have seen many changes, changes in uniform, changes in the Guiding programme and changes in the attitudes and expectations of young people.

Over the past few years, the number of weekends that people have used Height Nook has dropped, resulting in the property being empty for a greater part of the time. At the end of 2019 the committee circulated a questionnaire to all units in Lancashire Border to ascertain why they were or indeed were not using Height Nook for their weekends away. Results indicated that the setting of Height Nook was an issue as there was a lack of public transport to get to places for activities. The capacity of the property, 18 girls and 4 leaders, meant that larger units could not make use of Height Nook and many were using centres where more adventurous activities were available. Responses also indicated that the stairs at Height Nook were causing access issues.

Then the pandemic hit and we were in lockdown. No-one used Height Nook during 2020 and the building and contents suffered. In January 2021 the committee, very reluctantly, made the hard decision to sell Height Nook.

At the same time, I was approached by Gareth Davies, who owns a company called Sporting NRG. Gareth expressed an interest in Height Nook, proposing that he and Girl Guiding work together to make greater use of the property. Sporting NRG would use the house to facilitate school groups carrying out life skills activities, for social care respite, for Duke of Edinburgh groups and for school residentials. In exchange they would support Girl Guiding by providing a menu of adventurous activities that could be accessed by Girl Guide groups staying at Height Nook.

Transport, staff and resources would be provided by Sporting NRG. This appeared to be too good an opportunity. Height Nook could still remain as an asset to Girl Guiding, Girls could stay there and get adventurous activities if they wanted them and other members of the community would benefit from Height Nooks facilities too. We agreed and a contract was set up.

Following lockdown, it was necessary to carry out some building work to address issues of damp that had arisen due to the property being shut up for the best part of a year. Whist the builder was there we discussed whether the stairs could be re- sited to make them safer. He suggested they could come out of the lounge in some way and this then led us to think of how we could make use of the spaces where the stairs used to be!!

Due to COVID we had been awarded £25000 Recovery Grant by Blackburn with Darwen Council. This money would go some way to making Height Nook safer, more practical and to give it a facelift!

Building work began in earnest, new stairs have been put in, the area outside the showers, now the main entrance, has had shoe storage built in and an additional step to make them safer. The stairs now run along the back of the lounge and arrive on the landing at the side of the main bedroom. The landing area has been extended, providing storage space as well as an area that can be used for a variety of purposes.

The whole house has been decorated internally with new carpet upstairs and vinyl flooring downstairs. The bedrooms have purpose-built storage boxes for people to put their belongings in and sleep mattresses instead of bunk beds.

The Leader’s room now sleeps 4 comfortably with 2 single beds and a bunk bed. Bedding is provided for Leaders and a bottom sheet and pillow case is provided for the sleep mattresses.

Downstairs there is new furnishing in the lounge and new folding chairs in the dining area.

The building provides a flexible space where each user group can decide for themselves how they are going to use it. The bedrooms can be used for group activities as well as for sleeping. The dining tables could be set up in the conservatory if you wish, the view would be superb. Art and craft activities can take place in the dining area as the floor is washable. There are also a number of activities on-site that you are free to use including a giant Jenga, an outdoor Connect 4, a firepit, barbeques, a variety of board games and instructions for walks and orienteering activities. Over time the activities on-site will increase.

The relationship with Sporting NRG means that you can, if you wish, build some adventurous activities into your time at Height Nook. How you do this is up to you. You could choose to do activities on Saturday but not on Sunday. You could choose to have activities provided for the whole weekend or none at all. The choice is yours.

Height Nook is an excellent venue for a unit residential, a leader get away, a training weekend or a cream tea!!

Booking for Height Nook is now done through Sporting NRG using this email heightnook@sportingnrg.co.uk. Gareth and his team will help you decide on your activities to make the weekend work for you. All transport for activities will be provided.

Height Nook is a fantastic resource for Lancashire Border Girl Guiding as well as Guides from neighbouring areas and now other members of our community. We are very lucky to have it. Please do make use of it to ensure that it is part of our assets for years to come. If you would like to make a preliminary visit prior to booking please contact me on 07780800045.”