LEESON House field studies centre, which has welcomed tens of thousands of youngsters through its doors, celebrates its milestone 50th anniversary this month.

And to help mark the occasion they're gathering photographs and memories of those same young people who are part of the centre's history.

The Dorset County Council (DCC) owned centre, set in eight acres of grounds at Langton Matravers, has been providing field study trips for school children since 1967.

A number of county council staff have fond memories of Leeson House.

"It was my first time away from home, as a 10 year old in 1972," recalled Beverly West. "We camped in the grounds of Leeson House with Ferndown Middle School.

"I remember being shown the varied wildlife and plants and drinking nettle tea.

"We walked what seemed like miles to Dancing Ledge and swam in the pool there, had a BBQ and marshmallows around a camp fire, an amazing trip that as you can see left a lasting impression on me."

Meanwhile, county council media officer Sarah Johnstone recalled: "I was lucky enough to go to Leeson House twice while I was at primary school.

"I loved every minute – yomping along Nine Barrow Down and up to Dancing Ledge, getting to grips with a pooter and trusting that the gauze would work and I wouldn't swallow a woodlouse. Happy days."

Leeson House will be celebrating its 50th in style on Wednesday, with schoolchildren from across Dorset taking part in field study activities.

Tutors, past and present, will be speaking about their experiences and even the Lord Lieutenant of Dorset, Angus Campbell, will be trying his hand at some of the activities.

The event will culminate in a giant '50' shape being created by children and guests, then captured by aerial photography.

The centre caters for all ages from primary to A Level students, as well as field trips for the Duke of Edinburgh Award and university courses. Not only is it a favourite for Dorset schools, but it also attracts groups from across the UK and Europe.

Originally a manor house, the building has long been connected with children. It was a boarding school from 1903 to 1967, although it closed during the Second World War so the site could be used for radar research.

Visit leesonhouse.com for further information.

BLOB If you have old photos or memories from your stay please email leeson@dorsetcc.gov.uk or call 01929 422 126.