Currently Suntrap Forest Centre is closed for major refurbishment work, funded by the London Borough of Waltham Forest. 

We're still supporting our community so watch this space and keep up-to-date with our building plans, upcoming news and activities.

Interested to read more about environmental news?  Then catch up on our wide-ranging topical posts here

  • Raising the next generation of Eco-Warriors to change the world.

    Eco-Schools and Frugi clothing company have produced the Frugi Challenge, 10 days of eco-activities – differentiated for early years, primary and secondary schools. The challenges can be completed in school or at home. Also 150 schools applying for the first Eco-Schools Green flag are eligible for their accreditation fee to be paid. Funding applications close on Friday 18 December 2020 and schools must submit a successful first Green Flag application before Friday 26 February 2021. 

    Funding support
  • Sir David Attenborough joins Instagram!

    Did you know we have an instagram account - @suntrapforestcentre?

    Recently we were pleased to welcome long time supporter of Suntrap, Sir David Attenborough to the Instagram community.  We look forward to sharing our nature photographs with him!   

    Our history
  • The Promise

    Launching on Friday 16 October 2020  The Promise is a new BBC film based on the children’s picture book by Nicola Davies and Laura Carlin. If you’re a primary school that wants to get involved register your interest to be gifted books of The Promise and an exclusive film screening toolkit creating a whole morning of nature connection activities and actions. Deadline for nominations is Friday 2 October 2020.

    Register interest here.
  • Exciting refurbishment news!

    Refurbishment update. The new schools' entrance and corridor at the back of the building is taking shape. The glass fronted foyer will have great views across our new terraced garden and there will be new toilets along the corridor. We think the new roof looks really smart, let us know what you think via our social media! want to keep up to date, then subscribe to our newsletter.

  • Epping Forest Centre reopening

    Epping Forest Visitor Centre in High Beach is reopening on Friday 2nd October.  Opening hours Friday to Sunday 10.00am-4.00pm.

    On display are our beautiful illustrations of Suntrap drawn by artist in residence Emma Bond before the refurbishment closure.

    Order prints
  • Packs full of fun!

    During the summer Suntrap produced nature activity packs for 19 schools in Waltham Forest.  'This looks very exciting. Thank you for the huge effort to make this happen for our children!' Maretha Cilliers Deputy Headteacher Thomas Gamuel Primary School

    Photo: Children from Coppermill Primary School

    Support for schools
  • Glamping camping

    Our new Meadow Lodge is starting to take shape!  Installation of toilets and showers - no more toilet tent at night!

    The weather-proof lodge with sliding doors will be fit for up to 80 people to eat indoors or al fresco! 

    Camping info
  • Why we're called Suntrap

    We're called "Suntrap" as no matter time of day or year, our south facing building gets a lot of sun. To minimise our carbon footprint we've had installed two huge sets of photovoltaic (solar) panels. This renewable source means we can produce much of our own electricity.

    Keep uo-to-date on refurbishment
  • Sasha wins the race!

    There are many ways to teach children to take care of the natural world, and one simple yet powerful approach is through books.

    We've put together our favourite inspirational children's books that offer meaningful messages about nature and the environment.

    Happy reading!


    Suntrap Book Club
  • Centre accessible for all!

    Remember the Green Hut and animals cages?  These have been removed for much needed landscaping work. 

    Our new terraces will make the whole site accessible for all our visitors plus we get so much more space to use!  

    Outdoor learning
  • Frederick Bremer Community School

    In August 2020 we supported Frederick Bremer community school in Walthamstow with their forest school outdoor learning.

    They're running this during the holidays, exploring habitats and developing team work through den building.

    Find out more
  • Keeping our wet meadow rich in biodiversity

    Drainage in our camping field has been a challenge for our landscape architects. As a preventive measure the kidney shaped excavation gives a natural low point for water to collect during wetter weather.  In a few years we'll have a wet meadow rich in biodiversity and a much drier field!

    Camping info
  • WF Summer Holiday Activity Programme

    Suntrap is part of the Waltham Forest Summer Holiday Activity programme.

    This year we went virtual and ran lots of fun online indoor and outdoor nature activities for children and young people. 

  • Sneak peak at camping pods

    Close up shot of one of the new cedar-clad camping pods. Currently twenty pods each sleeping four people are being built off site. Soon to be moved to their new homes in our Wild Wood and Wildflower Meadow. 


    Camping info
  • Walthamstow Garden Party

    The Walthamstow Garden Party is a virtual event this year, in the spirit of the festival we've put together projects about some of our animals. For each there's a film, fact sheet, a craft or art activity and a test your knowledge quiz. 

    Which animals did we choose? There's a clue for one in the photo!

    Were you right?
  • Chit-Chat Pitter-Pat

    During the summer to support families with children under five we're working in partnership with Chit-Chat Pitter-Pat a home learning project. Each week on Sharing Saturday on their Facebook page we'll be posting a one-minute nature activity video.  


    Watch videos
  • No more drafts!

    Foundation for the camping Meadow Lodge is completed and steels have arrived for the walls. The windows in the main building have been replaced with draft free well fitted double glazed units. Not only will they help to keep the building warm but they look really smart!

    Contact us
  • National Meadows Day

    Saturday 4th July is not only about lockdown restrictions being lifted but also National Meadows Day.  In 2017 Tesco Bags of Help scheme funded Friends of Suntrap a grant to develop our stunning Wildflower Meadow Walk. This haven has provided tranquility, peace and quiet and sense of mental well-being for us all.

    Friends of Suntrap
  • The Great Outdoors

    Waltham Forest Echo July 2020

    Kerry Rolison, Head of Suntrap featured in article about benefits of outdoor learning. ‘Thanks to funding from Waltham Forest council, we’ll be able to support schools across the borough with free training, consultancy and ideas to provide curriculum based outdoor learning in school grounds.’

    Photo credit:@yiodawoo

    Read article
  • Nature Photography Day

    Monday 15 June 11.00am

    To celebrate Nature Photography Day on Monday 15 June at 11.00am join us with Friend of Suntrap wildlife photographer Gary Schwartz for top photography tips and techniques.

    Find out more
  • At Home Safari Film Challenge - Winners revealed!

    Let's take a look at who has won.

    Find out more
  • Free school consultancy and training!

    As part of the borough’s support for schools reopening, Suntrap Forest Centre is offering teaching staff free consultancy and training to move learning into the fresh air.

    This is in line with the Department of Education’s returning-to-school guidance to 'Consider which lessons or classroom activities could take place outdoors’ and 'Schools should also make use of outdoor space in the local area to support the curriculum'.

    Read more
  • Outdoor Learning Day

    Outdoor Classroom Day a global movement to inspire and celebrate outdoor play and learning at home and at school is celebrated on 23 May. 

    Now more than ever we need to promote the many benefits of getting children learning outdoors!

    Outdoor learning
  • World Bee Day

    May 20 is the international day to acknowledge the role of bees and other pollinators for the ecosystem.

    Every year on this day, the global public focuses on the importance of preserving honey bees and all other pollinators. 

    We'd bee lost without our hardworking bees!


    Our Bees!
  • Butterfly Conservation

    Have you noticed more butterflies in your garden this spring?

    Due to climate change butterflies are emerging earlier and in different parts of the UK.

    You can take part in this citizen science project by Butterfly Conservation and spot butterflies in your garden and record them on an app. Sign up on their website.

    More actvities
  • Editing made easy

    On Wednesday 20 May 11.00am on the Suntrap YouTube channel we hosted a 30 minute live photography workshop with expert wildlife photographer Gary Schwartz.

    It gave budding documentary makers a chance to ask questions and learn some handy film editing techniques. 

    Deadline for At Home Safari Film Challenge Sunday 31 May 2020.

    Competition info
  • Top tips and tricks for filming documentary

    On Wednesday 6 May 11.00am on the Suntrap YouTube Channel we'll be running a 30 minute live photography workshop with expert wildlife photographer Gary Schwartz.  Chance to ask questions and learn some handy filming techniques.  Deadline for At Home Safari Film Challenge Sunday 31 May 2020.

    At home safari film challenge
  • No Mow May

    Are you taking part in Plantlife's #nomowmay? After a few weeks our gardens are full of a variety of flowers creating lots of nectar for our pollinators. 

    Dave Goulson in his book 'The Garden Jungle' tells us that we can remove weeds from our garden by simply rebranding them as wildflowers. If you're taking part too, we would love to see pictures of the wildflowers now growing in your garden,

    More activities
  • Earth Day 2020

    On Wednesday 22 April we celebrated Earth Day 2020.  The theme of climate action is very close to our hearts.  Education is essential for the global response needed to address climate change. Through education children and young people can understand the impact of global warming, with this knowledge they’re then able to make changes in their attitudes and behaviour.

    Nature activities
  • Virtual Culture Programme

    On April 20th we joined the Waltham Forest Council's Virtual Culture programme, that build on the success of being the Mayor's first London Borough of Culture in 2019. 

    We're excited to launch the At Home Safari Film Challenge deadline for entries Sunday 31 May 2020.

    Read more
  • Suntrap at home

    During the COVID-19 lockdown Suntrap is here to help. On our Suntrap at Home page you'll find a whole range of fun, educational projects you can do with your children safely indoors and outdoors at home. All with a focus on nature and the environment. 

    New activities will be added regularly so keep visiting this page for ideas of how to Bring Nature Nearer.

    Read more
  • Suntrap Book Club

    Visit our Book club page to find our recommendations for books to inspire children and young people to a love of nature. During the COVID-19 lockdown take advantage of Amazon. They've cancelled the subscription of books and audio stories for children and students of all ages as long as schools are closed, kids everywhere can instantly stream an incredible collection for free! 

    Read more!
  • Out and about in schools

    In March we're out and about round the forest; being 'Plant Explorers' with Greenleaf Primary School and 'Discovering Habitats' with George Mitchell and Edinburgh Primary Schools.

    We're sharing our knowledge of 'Treemedous trees' with George Tomlinson Primary School and at Chapel End Infant School we're going deep into the 'Wild Wood'.


    Events and activities
  • Visit to Waltham Forest Conservation Volunteers

    In March Waltham Forest Conservation Volunteers (TCV) invited us to join them at two of their regular sessions run in Lloyd Park, Walthamstow.

    We brought some of our animals to meet The Sharing Heritage over 50's group tea and chat session while the under 5s Nature Explorers met some very unusual animals while exploring the park! 

    Events and activities
  • Love Your Pet Day

    Thursday 20 February

    Love Your Pet Day is a great day to show your love for your pets. We provide opportunities for children to get up close to animals to learn more about looking after them and the importance to respect them. If you don't have any yourself, get involved by calling your local RSPCA or pet rescue centre and make a donation of food or treats or volunteer. 

    Meet our animals
  • Reconnecting with nature supports the world

    Environmental research February 2020

    At Suntrap we’ve always known that being outdoors can be good for your mental health, but that’s only one reason to visit our local green spaces. A study published in 'Environment International' shows that people who have access to nature or urban green spaces are much more likely to behave in environmentally friendly ways. The findings also identified that people who were not exposed to green spaces were less likely to adopt eco-friendly behaviours, such as recycling.

    Read more
  • Suntrap on tour

    February 2020

    In February through Great Place: Connecting Communities the team continues to deliver free programmes with local schools including Roger Ascham primary school in Walthamstow and Yardley primary school in Chingford.

    Bookings available for a range of outdoor learning experiences in school grounds or in local green spaces

    School offer
  • Stargazing in RHS Hyde Hall

     In January we attended an Essex Learning Outside the Classroom Providers group meeting at RHS Hyde Hall. On a beautifully clear, but cold evening, we explored the night sky using binoculars and telescope, learning to identify star constellations and naming some of the craters on the moon. The evening gave us lots of stargazing ideas for our residentials under the dark skies in winter. Warm clothes and binoculars are all you need!

  • School visits in January

    At a school near you!

    The Suntrap team including some of our animals are visiting primary schools including Yardley and C of E in Chingford and Edinburgh in Walthamstow. We're also looking forward to working with students from Waltham Forest College. Bookings available for a range of outdoor learning experiences in school grounds or in local green spaces

    Contact us
  • RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch

    Saturday 25 - Monday 27 January

    In January the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch is happening.  Join in and contribute to an impressive amount of comparative data., the findings provide an important insight into how our wildlife is faring. Click to read top birdwatching tips from our patron, David Lindo, 'The Urban Birder'.

    Birdwatching tips
  • Plugging the gap!

    We’re making good use of some of our fallen logs that by inserting ‘mushroom plugs’. These are small wooden dowels that have been inoculated with mycelium of edible fungi. To harvest will typically take  12 months so we’re looking forward to watching mushrooms emerge when we're reopened.

    Read more
  • Refurbishment update

    We're excited to see scaffolding has arrived for the main building. Don’t worry we won't be changing our iconic architecture. But we're improving the environmental sustainability and energy-efficiency for all our resources across the site.

    Sign up for latest update
  • Kew Gardens team visit

    December 2019

    In December the Suntrap team visited our Natural Environment Sector partners at the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew.  Chance to exchange good teaching practices at a beautiful site.

    School offer
  • Great Place: Creative Connections

    Funding Suntrap on Tour

    Through Great Place funding we've been able to run community events across the borough.  Also we can provide free two hour workshops (up to 30 students) packed full of inspiration, ideas and advice linked to art and heritage.

    Great Place video
  • Yardley Primary School

    Christmas Fayre

    The Suntrap team had fun celebrating Christmas at the Yardley Primary School Fayre, in Chingford at end of November.  We brought some of our animals and we all received a warm welcome.   

    Meet the animals
  • Walthamstow Wetlands exhibition

    Throughout November 2019

    During November our beautiful artworks by artist-in-residence were put on display at The Engine House, Walthamstow Wetlands.  The backdrop landscape complimented all the pieces!  

    Visit here to order prints
  • Competition to win free set of art cards!

    Until end December 2019

    Do you recognise where in Epping Forest our set of seven art cards produced by our artist-in-residence Emma Smith were photographed?  If you do, come along to one of our activities or workshops during November and December and if you're the first to let us know you'll receive a free set!  Available to buy for £10 at the sessions.  

    Our events
  • Natural Heritage workshop at Hale End Library E4

    20 November 2019

    At our free Natural Heritage workshop Kerry Phillips won our pack of 7 art cards.  Kerry said: 'The kids had a fab time looking at insects and doing leaf rubbings making cards and bookmarks. I won a set of postcards which are amazing'!


    More events
  • Edinburgh Primary School, Walthamstow

    4 November 2019

    In early November we ran Treemendous Tree session with Year 6 students from Edinburgh Primary School. in their local green space.

    One pupil said 'It's really good for us to learn this because we're the next generation and we need to take care of the world.  We need to know this.'   Our thoughts exactly!  


    School activities
  • Why the outdoors is great

    November 2019
    Waltham Forest Echo

    Author Helen Bigham urges children and young people get out and about for Outdoor Classroom Day on Thursday 7 November 2019.

    Read more
  • Support the environment!

    November 2019

    The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is collating data on Outdoor Education visits to natural environment sites for their work on Natural Capital.  Recording this information is important for environmental decision making. 

    Read more on how you can help.
  • Revamp of The Hub website

    Launch 9 November 2019

    The Hub website, the main communication channel for all professionals working in - an supporting schools, early years and 16 to 19 education provision in Waltham Forest will be relaunching. on 9 November.  Register on this as we plan to contribute topical blogs.   

    Read more
  • North Chingford Heritage and Art Trail

    24-27 October 2019

    Illustrations by our artist in residence Emma Smith were displayed during this event.  It was so popular that the display will remain at North Chingford library until end November.  Chance to view our plans for the refurbishment. 

    Video of event
  • The Spinney Care Home, Chingford

    23 October 2019

    We were given a warm welcome by the lovely residents at this Care Home in Chingford.  It was a pleasure to talk with a group of people who have so much knowledge of the forest and to hear their stories about this very special place.

    Contact us to discuss visits
  • Waltham Forest Climate Survey

    Fill in the survey to help fight climate change!

    Do you know how much carbon is stored in an oak tree, or why it matters? At anoutreach session on Wanstead Flats pupils from Buxton School, Leytonstone were asked to find out.  They learnt about the role trees play to stop the effects of environmental climate changes. 



    Fill in the climate survey
  • Prints available!

    Our commissioned illustrations produced by Emma Smith have been so popular we've joined with All Colours Only a specialist art print company to enable fans of Suntrap to buy prints in a variety of sizes.

    Order here
  • Art exhibition and workshop at One Hoe Street E17

    Saturday 19 October 2019 11.00-3.00

    Putting the finishing touches to our event at One Hoe Street, E17.  Free art workshop, chance to meet the artist Emma Smith and from 1.00 onwards the animals will be arriving for an educational session.

    Find out more
  • Grandad's Island at Langthorne Park

    Sunday 13 October 2019

    We took along some of our animals for the finale of this fantastic programme of events.  It was a great opportunity to educate local children about the importance of respecting animals.   

    Photo credit: James Robertshaw

    Video of the day
  • Car-free day in Walthamstow

    Sunday 22 September 2019

    We had a great day meeting lots of people who shared their Suntrap memories with us.  It gave us the chance to help educate on the importance of respecting our local natural environment.  

    upcoming events
  • Bringing wildlife to local libraries

    September 2019
    Waltham Forest Echo

    Helen Bigham helps bring wildlife to local libraries this month.  Article about the Suntrap Library Roadshow and the important role libraries play. 

    Read more
  • Swarm Exhibtion, Vestry House Museum

    Saturday 21 September 2019

    The Suntrap team brought along our portable hive and honey spinner to let visitors experience the process of harvesting honey.  It was a bee-utiful experience!

    Slide show of the honey harvesting
  • William Morris Gallery Family Open Day

    Saturday 31 August 2019

    The Suntrap animals were introduced to the many visitors who came to this fun event.  Chance to learn an important life lesson in facing your fears! 

    Suntrap animals on tour
  • Smithfield Street Party

    A Beastly Advenutre

    The team ran a stall at this great event.  9000 people came along which gave us a great opportunity to bring nature nearer to them!  Our first visitor was a friendly City of London policeman.  

    Suntrap animals on tour
  • Clearing the site!

    August 2019 update

    Our decrepit green hut, garage and animals sheds are all now gone!  Looks so different without them. We're glad our Artist in Residence, Emma Bond captured them on canvas before they were pulled down!   


    Keep updated on exhibition news
  • Free workshops for all schools in Waltham Forest!

    Autumn 2019 - Spring 2020

    Through Great Places:Creative Connection Scheme funding Suntrap is running free workshops on our local heritage and natural environment for Waltham Forest schools.   



    Book your free space!
  • Waltham Forest Library Roadshow

    September 2019 onwards

    In Waltham Forest we're on a Library Tour with an inspirational exhibition and the chance to meet the Suntrap animals and learn more about our local heritage.


    Library Roadshow
  • Open Day

    Saturday 29 June 2019

    It was wonderful to see so many visitors at our Open Day on Saturday 29 June. Our Facebook page has more photos from the event, please leave a post with your own reminisces of Suntrap.


    Visit our Facebook page
  • Wow! £4.1 million to be invested in Suntrap Centre!

    Waltham Forest Council has made a £4.1 million investment in Suntrap to upgrade and improve the facilities on offer to families and young people. 

    Get the full story here.

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