The original Dale House Farm advert

We’ve been around a while! Take a look at our history.

Today’s Barnstondale began life as “Dale Farm”. Dating back to the early years of the last century it provided the local population with farm produce. However, its history is synonymous with local youth and their energy to improve themselves and their community.

The Centre’s wooded dale was always acknowledged as being a wonderful resource for local children to walk, camp and play. As well as this local institutions regularly held a fete here for the community and its children.

Photo of Barnston, Dale Camp c1960, ref. b441028

During the war years, as attentions turned elsewhere, the 15 acre site lay neglected with its buildings and grounds left to deteriorate to the point of dilapidation. Eventually it was taken on by the Liverpool Union of Girls Clubs and Mixed Clubs in January1948. With the help of volunteers from the Merseyside community it took 2 years of hard work and 12000 man hours to return Dale Farm to its former glory. It then took a great deal effort to convince the local authorities that the site should continue to provide an outlet for the constructive energies and enthusiasm of the young people of Merseyside.

The newly named “Barnston Camp” set a new precedent and, through local organisations, began to offer disadvantaged young people from the region a respite away from inner city poverty and neglect. Whilst visiting the camp visitors were expected to channel their energies constructively through improvement of the camp and consequently themselves by means of hobbies, gardening, woodwork, decoration, roofing, painting, poster designing, hedging, ditching and feeding/tending livestock as well as being responsible for daily chores. This continued until the early eighties when a generous benefactor bought the land to prevent it going into private ownership and therefore leaving the community without an outlet for its youth to grow.

Headgear is now only a requirement on the climbing wall!

Since that time we have continually improved the site, to include purpose built log cabins which accommodate children of all abilities. We provide a range of outdoor activities which aim to improve the motivation, self-esteem and vision of young people.


A new history project has now been started, to fill in as many of the gaps in the history of Barnstondale before its too late. Click here to find out more.