Since the 1980s, the activity centre was used by schools, colleges and youth groups, who stayed in the centre’s in-house accommodation block for adventure activities including archery, rock climbing, sailing and canoeing.
The centre was reinvigorated after joining forces with Cambridgeshire Acre, a charity based in Ely, in 2013. But after an arson attack that caused thousands of pounds worth of damage in December 2016, the centre closed its doors for good.
The culprits stole garden tools and change from a vending machine, before setting fire to it – leaving no way back for the trustees.
Now years on, the centre has become something of a place for criminal activity. Police have received 67 calls to the Mepal Outdoor Centre since the month it closed, which is around two reports per month. The calls range from suspicious circumstances, criminal damage, arson, trespass and theft.
On Christmas Day last year, the building was used as a venue for an illegal rave. Two days later, police received calls about an anticipated rave after a group were seen heading towards the centre. Officers attended and searched the area but no-one could be found.
After the damage to the centre, the lease for the site was handed back to East Cambridgeshire District Council. The council since struck a deal in 2018 with an operator who planned on partially re-opening the outdoor centre this year – which would likely have been the lake, high ropes course, the grounds and the main reception and activity building.
(Judging from the photographs it looks far from completion.) Councillor David Brown, chairman of the finance and assets committee at East Cambridgeshire District Council, said: “We can confirm that the council has identified a preferred partner for Mepal Outdoor Centre and we are working with them on their future plans.
“We have security measures in place at the site and any reports of trespassing are investigated by Cambridgeshire Police.” On criminal activity at the area, a Cambridgeshire Police spokeswoman said: “According to our logs, we’ve had 67 calls relating to the Mepal Outdoor Centre between 1 January 2016 and today.
After realising this little gem was on the road home from an other urbex in the area and having a couple of hours light left we decided to stop and stretch are legs around what was once the Mepal Outdoor Centre. This made for an relaxed explore for a change other then the weather hence the lack of pictures. Between leaking roofs and well no roofs at all we spent most are time in the main reception area waiting for the rain to ease off.
Other then a rather interesting climbing room everything here is trashed due to arson attacks and previous legal raves how ever is one to now add to the done list .
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