AN education centre in Devizes which was under threat of closure has been taken over by Classes Abroad.

The keys to Braeside have been handed over to the new outdoor education company and it will continue 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.

Wiltshire Council had originally considered closing both Braeside and Oxenwood near Marlborough but a huge outcry by people who used both centres caused a rethink.

Cllr Simon Jacobs, cabinet member for finance and procurement, said: “I am pleased to be officially handing over this popular site to a company that has a great track record and will continue to uphold the tradition of offering many opportunities for young people to explore and enjoy the outdoors.

“This has been worth the negotiations to ensure Braeside provides the most sustainable long-term provision. I am pleased the current permanent employees will be transferring to the new owners, and Braeside will continue to offer a range of activities for schools and groups and provide an exciting offer for young people.”

Rupert Tabley, Director of Classes Abroad, said: “We are so proud to be the new owners of such an important community asset. We’d like to thank everyone at Wiltshire Council who have been involved in the transfer process, their diligence and cooperation has ensured the transaction was completed in a timely, efficient manner.

"We’d also like to thank all the staff at Braeside and acknowledge their patience, positivity and continuing commitment to Braeside in a period which must have been very stressful and uncertain for them all.

"Looking to the future we are super excited about continuing the long tradition of offering quality outdoor education to Wiltshire schools, whilst maximising the sites potential to bring new tourism into Devizes - we can’t wait to get going!”

The exchange of contracts with Classes Abroad follows the success of Community First taking over Oxenwood outdoor education centre in 2019, which offers a range of activities including abseiling, kayaking and bushcraft survival skills. The changes followed a successful business and land transfer from Wiltshire Council.

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

A Wiltshire Council spokesman said: "A decision for Wiltshire Council to cease its provision of outdoor education at the two sites was made in March 2018. The successful agreements mean outdoor education can be sustained and potentially improved in the county at no cost to the council."