Bentley Copse Activity Centre invests in Kubota

Kubota tractor makes adventures work

In a typical year, the Bentley Copse Activity Centre welcomes maybe 35,000 young people and helpers to the leafy foothills of the South Downs, all of them intent on enjoying a memorable countryside adventure. It wasn’t quite like that in COVID-hit 2020, however,  when just 1,000 were able to visit the site.

While it was a vastly different world too for Centre Manager Nick Cann and his team of volunteers, their work on managing and improving the wooded grounds run by Surrey Scouts at Shere continued. With three buildings and 18 campsites spread around the attractive grounds, there remained a host of projects needing their attention.

Fundamental to much of that work was a Kubota L1421 compact tractor which Trustees decided to source from Lister Wilder’s nearby Ockham depot. Taking over from a faithful long-serving Ford that had seen better days, the 45hp Kubota with its front loader and pallet forks jumped into the midst of a string of projects that will make Bentley’s offering even better when times improve.

Surrey Scouts is an organisation that inspires more than 14,000 young people between the ages of six and 25. They in turn get support from nearly 5,000 adult volunteers spread across 176 scout groups. It’s an all-action movement, and Bentley Copse has a big part to play in its annual calendar.

The centre also welcomes a host of other non-scouting visitors – notably Guides,  schools and youth groups, but also corporate team building and other events. You can even organise birthday parties there. A not for profit operation, it can offer high quality activities at a lower cost than commercial providers. While camping is very much the name of the game, the site also has accommodation and catering facilities for some 60 in its buildings. On a typical day in a normal year there may be as many as 500 adventurers on site at any time immersing themselves in over 30 activities.

Nick took delivery of the new Kubota tractor early in 2020. “Our last tractor just gave up on me one day and our mechanic said it was time to change it,” he says. “I wrote a report looking at the options and we went out for three quotes. We knew we needed a tractor of at least 40 hp just to get around our site and one with loader pallet forks to handle projects work and to move bulk bags. We have a Kubota RTV which works well for us and has been robust so it made sense to go with a brand that we trust and also to ask Lister Wilder to service both for us. We were also conscious that when the time comes to change them, second-hand Kubotas tend to go for a better price.”

Lister Wilder’s Area Sales Manager Richard Ifould recommend the Kubota L1 series as the ideal tractor to meet the centre’s needs. They are fitted with powerful diesel engines, a robust drivetrain and a serious lifting capacity. The tractor is designed to make light work of daily maintenance tasks with easy access to filters, radiators, and grease nipples. Everything is positioned for immediate access via a wide-opening one-piece bonnet. The front loader has a fast hitch/unhitch system that can easily handle attachments such as buckets, grapples and pallet forks, all of which can be locked in place without the need for tools.

“We are constantly improving the place and have done a lot of work with it very successfully,” says Nick. “We have done work to one of our car parks which involved moving hardcore and scalpings, and have generally moved a lot of materials plus done site clearance and tree work. We have managed to train a small team of people to use the tractor and they are all happy with it and with the loader and forklift.” 

The COVID-19 restrictions have, he says, had their benefits in allowing him and his volunteers to complete work that would not have been possible in a typical year. They are, nonetheless, greatly looking forward to life returning to normal!