New CPD Dates

04 October, 2017

Wide Horizons train over 600 teachers every year. Our unique range of courses can help you further develop your current programmes and educational visits, support learning outside the classroom, and keep your skills up to date with the latest methods.

Join us for an incredible Continuing Professional Development session for Teachers! Click here to learn more and book your session

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  • New CPD Dates 04 October 2017  

    Wide Horizons train over 600 teachers every year. Our unique range of courses can help you further develop your current programmes and educational visits, support learning outside the classroom, and keep your skills up to date with the latest methods.

    Join us for an incredible Continuing Professional Development session for Teachers! Click here to learn more and book your session

  • A team of volunteers helped us get a piece of overgrown land ready for children to use. 04 October 2017  


    This summer, a team of volunteers arrived at our Horton Kirby centre, ready for a day of mowing, ploughing and seeding, all helping to get a piece of overgrown land ready for children to use. Volunteers from A Plant, Loxston Groundcare, P Livertons and DLF all came together to transform the overgrown and unsafe land into a new area with unlimited potential for adventures!

    How this project will help children

    Now transformed, the land will provide a safe place for children as young as five to learn about the wider world around them whilst making discoveries about their own skills.

    Last year, over 8,000 children visited Horton Kirby. Of these children, 1 in 5 were growing up in poverty, often missing out on childhood experiences that many of us take for granted. Through environmentally-focused activities, even more deprived children than ever before will now be able to take part in creative and engaging experiences that will inspire them to learn about natural green spaces. As well as this, even more children will now have the opportunity to practice resilience and determination through outdoor team challenges in the new learning zone.

    We are incredibly grateful for the dedication and hard work of A Plant and friends, without whom this exciting project would simply not have been possible.


  • French Adventure Challenge 15 August 2017  

    Wide Horizons added a new and unique challenge to its annual programme – September 1st 2017.

    The Ardeche Adventure Challenge combines beautiful scenery with a double marathon over 2 days of a 4 day adventure.

    The first challenge involves trekking across the spectacular landscape, which includes Europe’s largest canyon, and the second, canoeing 42km along the river itself, for a completely different perspective.

    Challenge yourself, and help provide life-changing adventures for young people throughout the UK.

    Please see the Wide Horizons Ardeche Adventure Challenge web page for more details and to register your interest.


  • Bertie's 300 07 July 2017  
    Tom and Julie Sheldon are truly the Salt of the Earth kind of people. They are strong advocates of Wide Horizons and Tom has recently helped secure funding to develop a new activity at our Margaret McMillan House. At just 2 years old, Tom and Julie’s grandson Bertie was diagnosed with Infantile Batten Disease, a devastating neurological degenerative illness. Bertie is unable to play, feed himself, sit independently or communicate. To help his parents adapt Bertie’s living space, Tom and Julie are organising a bike ride suitable for literally the whole family. On Sunday 9th July, join us and become one of Bertie’s 300! 

    Click here to learn more

    Download the flyer

  • den 15 Outdoor Things to do in June - What's your favourite one? 26 June 2017  

    Nature, Nature, Nature!

    More and more studies show the benefits of nature for mental health and wellbeing. The more time we spend outside and get involved in adventures, the better our mind and body feel. With this in mind, here are our top 15 outdoor things to do in June.

    1   Plan an adventure with your friends or family

    plan an adventure in June

    2   Create some art using natural materials

    natural art in June

    3   Find a dandelion and make a wish

    find a dandelion in June

    4   Go for a walk to recharge your batteries

    go for a walk in June

    5   Find the perfect spot to build a den

    build a den in June

    6   Sit in the sun and read your favourite book

    read a book in June

    7   Roll over a log and look for minibeasts

    look for minibeasts in June

    8   Listen to birds singing for 1 minute

    listen to birds in June

    9   Find some plants that need watering

    water the plants in June

    10   Mix mud and water and create funny potions

    mud and water in June

    11   Draw a treasure map and search for buried treasure

    treasure map in June

    12   Look for shapes in the clouds

    clouds in June

    13   Find some smelly objects and make a scent trail

    scent trail in June

    14   Find a tree you can sit in and enjoy the view

    view in June

    15   Sketch your favourite tree

    sketch a tree in June

  • Social Impact Report 2016: "The Impact of Adventure Learning" 04 June 2017  

    Wide Horizons have released the findings of our survey into the benefits of adventures for children.

    The report, supported by environmental campaigner George Monbiot, describes how children experiencing adventure see a marked change in many personal attributes with increased resilience, confidence and well-being coming out as the top areas of improvement.

    Alex Brooks-Johnson, CEO at Wide Horizons commented:

    “Last year we worked with nearly 50,000 children and so already had a good understanding of why Adventure Learning is so important, but even we were surprised with how powerful the change in children can be when they get outside and take on an adventure”

    The children surveyed undertook a series of programmes designed to improve their social and personal skills, whilst at the same time working with them to better understand some of the curriculum subjects more traditionally taught in the classroom.  The programmes included a range of adventurous activities such as climbing, canoeing and raft building, as well as more environmentally focussed sessions such as nature walks and pond dipping.

    Child-Climbing-Wall-MMHThe study showed that 92% of children saw an increase in their well-being, based on how happy they were when they finished the programme, and 90% of them were found to be more resilient.  It is this combination that the charity understands to be the most useful form a learning and development perspective.

    “When children are happy and engaged, they will be in a better position to learn.  Their self-esteem will also be boosted through the experience, and when you overlay all of that with the creative and inspirational way you can teach children outdoors it almost becomes an absolutely necessary thing to be doing during time at school”

    says Graham Agnew, former Secondary Head and Ofsted inspector and now Wide Horizons Board member.

    “In addition, Wide Horizons works hard to support disadvantaged children and so can aim specifically at helping to close the gap in performance at school between them and their peers.”

    Wide Horizons works with 355 schools a year of which three quarters have a higher than national average level of disadvantaged children. 

    Professor David Hopkins, founder of Adventure Learning Schools and Professor of Education at Bolton University commented:

    “Wide Horizons, with their focus on disadvantaged children and providing them access to this extraordinary way of learning are helping to directly address the issue of child poverty in this country, not just by providing the opportunities for education but then facilitating the improvement in life skills that aim to increase their aspirations and ultimately provide them with better chances in life.”

    Professor David Hopkins will be joining author and environmental campaigner, George Monbiot, in launching Wide Horizons Social Impact report at an event at City Hall on Wednesday night to an audience of key figures from the world of politics and education.

    George Monbiot

    George Monbiot

    George Monbiot added:

    “We live in a world where the education system is not necessarily providing our children with the experiences that will help them in life. And with all the closures of outdoor education centres happening, we may face a generation of children not having the opportunities that organisations like Wide Horizons can provide in giving access to the benefits of adventure or the natural wonder and beauty of the outdoors.”

    To find out more about the work of Wide Horizons download a copy of our Social Impact Report here, visit our website www.widehorizons.org.uk or email info@widehorizons.org.uk

  • Nightline Raise money for your school's Adventure Learning with NIGHTLINE 04 June 2017  

    On Saturday 24th June 2017, your school – teachers, parents, friends and family – are invited to take part in an incredible summer solstice night-walk, ‘Nightline’.

    This unique event is one that your school can take part in to raise funds for your adventure programmes with Wide Horizons – the Adventure Learning Charity.

    Walk 25km or 50km through the urban beauty of London to the gorgeous countryside of Kent on a mid-summer’s night.

    Trek through the night – Sunset in London. Sunrise in Kent

    All the money you raise will go directly towards your school programme with Wide Horizons, giving your children the opportunity to grow and develop through adventure including going on a bear hunt, exploring a river or even climbing a mountain!

    By taking part in this adventure you are directly supporting children in your school to experience life changings adventures.

    So parents, staff, governors or friends and family, unearth your sense of adventure with this exhilarating challenge!


    About Us | Our Impact | Our Brochure | Get in touch


  • Building Better Partnerships 25 April 2017  

    Wide Horizons have partnered with national leisure provider Better who will be supporting us in bringing adventure to disadvantaged Children.

    Better are a Charitable Social Enterprise that manage more than 250 public sport and leisure centres, 57 libraries in partnership with more than 30 local councils, public agencies as well as sporting organisations across the UK and will be sponsoring our fundraising event Nightline. The incredible summer solstice night-walk, through the striking urban landscapes of London and the gorgeous countryside of Kent, raises vital funds to help local children experience life changing adventures!

    The partnership work doesn’t stop there, with Wide Horizons delivering a number of team building events for Better staff members, including a London to Cambridge bike ride that will ultimately help Wide Horizons deliver its aim of providing adventure to everyone as part of their education and development.

    Further to this, Chris Symons, Better’s Director of Development, is running the London Marathon for Wide Horizons.

    “Wide Horizons is a great local charity. For over a decade Wide Horizons have been taking inner city children out of their urban surroundings to experience ‘adventure learning’ in the great outdoors. They run a number of day centres and residential centres without any subsidy, providing life changing social, educational and personal development for our young people” said Chris on his reasons for running for Wide Horizons.

    If you wish to Sponsor Chris on his marathon challenge please visit his Just Giving page.

  • Raise funds to improve your School grounds with the TESCO bag scheme 29 March 2017  

    Wide Horizons is proud to support a new funding opportunity for schools

    The supermarket chain Tesco and environmental charity  Groundwork have joined up to provide this scheme..

    Introducing children to the wonderers of nature and the outdoors is critical for their development. Tesco Bag Funding scheme is a fantastic opportunity for schools to apply for grants between £1,000 – £4,000 to transform their outdoor space into areas, that will inspire learning and creativity.

  • Adventurous plans for Lewisham residents take shape 08 March 2017  

    The UK’s leading Adventure Learning charity, Wide Horizons, are delighted to be supporting the regeneration of Lewisham’s largest open space, Beckenham Place Park, as one of the key partners in the project.

    News that the project was successful in receiving £4.9m from the Heritage Lottery Fund was released at the end of last year and work has already started on making the park more accessible to more people than ever before.  Wide Horizons are working closely with Lewisham Council and the other project partners such as Phoenix Community Housing to ensure the project is relevant and as exciting as possible for local residents, and that the park is restored to its full glory.

    As part of the initial plans for the park’s redevelopment, volunteers have begun the planting of 15,000 trees around the edge of the ancient woodland in a project funded by the Mayor of London and the GLA.  Lewisham will be calling on more volunteers to help with planting and other activities. Details can be found on their website and Facebook page, as well as park noticeboards.

    Alex Brooks-Johnson, CEO at Eltham based Wide Horizons commented,

    “I’m so happy that after many years of planning we can now see so many people enjoying the majestic beauty and natural wonder found in this amazing space”

    He added,

    “for too long this park has been enjoyed by a lucky few, and now we can really see that there’s a much wider community appeal.  Communities need access to these spaces and should know that the benefits and enjoyment to be had really are for everyone”.

    Alex Brooks-Johnson Staff Conference 2017

    Alex Brooks-Johnson

    Wide Horizons will be operating an education space being built in the old stables block in Beckenham Place park, which is just one of the many developments now underway as part of the park regeneration project.

    Alex said

    “We worked closely with Lewisham to find out from local schools exactly what they wanted from the park in terms of education, and we’ll be putting together an exciting programme based on that feedback.”

    Wide Horizons have been leading the way on understanding the impact of adventure and the environment on children’s learning and development.  In a recently released report, the importance of children having access to nature, the environment and adventure was highlighted by just how much children benefitted from the experience.

    Head of Partnerships and Projects at Wide Horizons, Neil Munro, who led on the collection of data from children commented,

    “As a charity working with nearly 50,000 children every year; we feel we have a duty to enable them to have access to inspirational green spaces near to where they live so that once they get back from visiting one of our eight centres around the UK, they can carry on enjoying, and therefore hopefully protecting, their local natural spaces.”

    To find out more about the work of Wide Horizons including updates on developments at Beckenham Place Park and to find a copy of their Social Impact Report, visit the website www.widehorizons.org.uk or email info@widehorizons.org.uk.

    Full press release here


    About Wide Horizons | Our Impact | Our Brochure | Get in touch

  • #WorldBookDay 2nd March 02 March 2017  

    Adventure Learning tutors at Wide Horizons Environment centre (WEC) have dressed up today celebrate #WorldBookDay. What are you wearing to mark the date?

    Wide Horizons Adventure Learning tutors Jannes (one of the ‘three little pigs) and Amy (a female Wizard of Oz), dressed up today to celebrate World Book Day.

    The Three little pigs features in one of WEC‘s various living fiction, literacy sessions, which bring books to life through allowing children to take part in the story telling of a number of a number children’s books.

    “This is just a normal day at WEC” jokes Jannes, as the pair prepare to greet 30 children from Eltham C of E Primary, just a fraction of the nearly 50,000 children the charity helps each year.


    The children head outside after making their own pig masks, on an exciting adventure around the grounds. Visiting the full sized straw hut, stick house and brick house, re telling the story along the way.

    Watch out for the big bad wolf! Which house will they decide is best suited for the pigs? The session finishes by meeting and feeding WEC’s Kune-Kune pigs Darwin and Wallace, and a chance to make their own shelter or clay house.

    About Us | Our Impact | Our Brochure | Get in touch






  • adventure outreach London and Walsall London literacy levels revealed 09 February 2017  
    adventure outreach London and Walsall

    Five of London’s parliamentary constituencies are among those with the lowest literacy levels in England, according to a new study from The National Literacy Trust and Experian.

    Barking scored 55 for its literacy vulnerability score, with only Middlesbrough ranking below it. The study found that 86% of constituencies in England contain at least one ward with serious literacy issues, leaving just 75 constituencies, out of 533, with no serious literacy issues at all.

    Wide Horizons Adventure learning programmes are the perfect intervention. Whether going on a Bear Hunt and following the Gruffalo Trail at one of our day centres or takin part in one of our high adventure activities such as rock climbing, scrambling or canoeing to name just a few at our residential centres, we can tailor make a bespoke programme that will enforce and increase children’s literacy.

    By taking children out of their comfort zone in inspirational locations we force them to improve their communication and use of langue, take on board different points of view and monitor the reactions of themselves and their peers thus increasing their knowledge and understanding of literacy . For more information and to discuss how we can create a programme for you please consult our highly qualified Adventure Learning Team.

  • Welcome to the Adventure Outreach Blog for Northwest London 31 January 2017  

    “Many greenspace and activity variants”

    To start with I should introduce myself. I am Dan Bell, a teacher of sorts, with a mixed experiential background of freelance creative design & making workshops and primary education.

    Northwest London Adventure Outreach Tutor - Dan Bell

    Northwest London Adventure Outreach Tutor – Dan Bell

    As an Adventure Learning Tutor, I liaise with schools to integrate learning outside of the classroom in whichever way is best for their target classes of children. This involves me going to the school, chaperoning them to the local greenspace of choice before delivering half day Adventure Learning sessions to classes across KS1 & KS2 age groups in schools across the north west boroughs of London.

    I have always had a passion for working outdoors, being creative where possible, with learning which is underpinned by strong environmental principles of sustainability. The school groups commence learning from the classroom, and continue with myself, as we transport ourselves as a group from the school to the outdoors (weather and all), to fulfil the focus of the session that day. The breadth of the subject matter these outreach sessions cover is so varied. Inherently, we will aim to cover aspects of the curriculum that benefit directly from the embellishment of the authenticity of investigations in the outdoors.

    For example lately, in the autumn and winter of the existing term I have accompanied academy school children from years 3, 4 and 5, in central London, on learning journeys to their local recreation grounds. With the groups we explore those areas within their local park with potential for learning opportunities – the woodland, pathways and open spaces. Then we utilize the merits of each environment to meet the objectives in a tangible manner, where the connection to real life examples of the subject matter is paramount. Topics have included areas such as Habitats, Tree Detectives and basic Mapping.

    The weather always plays a part, good or bad, but as long as adherence to the correct clothing and footwear is followed, (thankfully) this unknown quantity almost always serves merely to punctuate the progress of the session.

    Coming into contact with Seeds, Insects, Tree Leaves, Soil, Frost and elemental things first hand, is so important for the children’s enquiry skills. It is often this aspect of the outreach sessions that is most appreciated by teaching staff.

    Not to mention the unplanned (but happy) learning accidents which occur along the way, which add an extra layer to the learning taking place on excursions outside of the four walls of usual classroom environment. But also familiarizing and enthusing the children with the features and merits of their local park or greenspace.

    Every trip has an adventure element, and, depending on the objectives of the session, there are always additions which originate from the children themselves. Indeed the children have ample opportunities to share and enrich the learning we achieve during outreach.

    In many of the scenarios, skill sets such as team working and team building are of paramount importance, as can be the need for collaboration and good communication with their peers. However, even where not explicitly outlined as objectives, an outdoor setting, with all its risks and uncertainty, often increases the learning in these areas.

    Dan Bell

  • WEC gets Interactive Weather Centre as Britain's 'Big Freeze' Continues 18 January 2017  

    Young weather watchers may be interested to hear that Wide Horizons Environment centre staff built a new interactive weather station this week.

    UK temperatures again hit the minus numbers this week, and unusually this included the southeast of England, and of course therefore, the Eltham Environment Centre (WEC).

    Despite the apparent drop in temperatures,  in fact continental Europe has taken the brunt of this year’s bad weather, with the UK Winter being actually milder than average so far with only brief cold snaps.

    WEC Senior Adventure Learning Tutor Amy Crudgington said:

    “We are excited to introduce our new interactive weather station to the centre this week.  It has been built purely from recycled and reclaimed materials by the Wide Horizons Environment Centre tutors and some fantastic volunteers.  It will be used to enhance many of the programmes we offer, particularly our EYFS sessions based around the seasons. The children will have the opportunity to change out panels dependent on the weather, displaying the correct clothing to wear. There is also a space for children to insert discs displaying items found within the natural environment at different times of year.

    Our Key Stage One and Two groups will also benefit, using it for scientific investigations and data collection by recording the temperature and rainfall. We will be linking this with all our Adventure Science sessions. It will be interesting for the children to understand how the changing weather patterns have an abiotic effect on the pond and land invertebrates found at the centre. We will also be introducing a meter for the children to measure the sunlight intake of plants for Photosynthesis.

    The weather station has taken pride of place in our adventure playground where it will be visible to all visiting groups. We hope they will enjoy taking note of the weather patterns during their visits and that it will be enjoyed for many years to come!”

    WEC Weather Station - Wide Horizons Environment Centre, Eltham, London

    WEC Weather Station – Wide Horizons Environment Centre, Eltham, London

    Weather Station Kids - Wide Horizons Environment Centre Eltham London

    The WEC Weather Station includes a number of interactive elements that Children can use.

    WEC Weather station thermometer - Wide Horizons Environment Centre, Eltham, London

    Sunshine on a frosty day makes all the difference to temperatures taken

    Rainfall can be measured here




  • Social Impact Report 2016: "The Impact of Adventure Learning" published today 23 November 2016  

    Wide Horizons, have today released the findings of our survey into the benefits of adventures for children.

    The report, supported by environmental campaigner George Monbiot, describes how children experiencing adventure see a marked change in many personal attributes with increased resilience, confidence and well-being coming out as the top areas of improvement.

    Alex Brooks-Johnson, CEO at Wide Horizons commented:

    “Last year we worked with nearly 50,000 children and so already had a good understanding of why Adventure Learning is so important, but even we were surprised with how powerful the change in children can be when they get outside and take on an adventure”

    The children surveyed undertook a series of programmes designed to improve their social and personal skills, whilst at the same time working with them to better understand some of the curriculum subjects more traditionally taught in the classroom.  The programmes included a range of adventurous activities such as climbing, canoeing and raft building, as well as more environmentally focussed sessions such as nature walks and pond dipping.

    Child-Climbing-Wall-MMHThe study showed that 92% of children saw an increase in their well-being, based on how happy they were when they finished the programme, and 90% of them were found to be more resilient.  It is this combination that the charity understands to be the most useful form a learning and development perspective.

    “When children are happy and engaged, they will be in a better position to learn.  Their self-esteem will also be boosted through the experience, and when you overlay all of that with the creative and inspirational way you can teach children outdoors it almost becomes an absolutely necessary thing to be doing during time at school”

    says Graham Agnew, former Secondary Head and Ofsted inspector and now Wide Horizons Board member.

    “In addition, Wide Horizons works hard to support disadvantaged children and so can aim specifically at helping to close the gap in performance at school between them and their peers.”

    Wide Horizons works with 355 schools a year of which three quarters have a higher than national average level of disadvantaged children. 

    Professor David Hopkins, founder of Adventure Learning Schools and Professor of Education at Bolton University commented:

    “Wide Horizons, with their focus on disadvantaged children and providing them access to this extraordinary way of learning are helping to directly address the issue of child poverty in this country, not just by providing the opportunities for education but then facilitating the improvement in life skills that aim to increase their aspirations and ultimately provide them with better chances in life.”

    Professor David Hopkins will be joining author and environmental campaigner, George Monbiot, in launching Wide Horizons Social Impact report at an event at City Hall on Wednesday night to an audience of key figures from the world of politics and education.

    George Monbiot

    George Monbiot

    George Monbiot added:

    “We live in a world where the education system is not necessarily providing our children with the experiences that will help them in life. And with all the closures of outdoor education centres happening, we may face a generation of children not having the opportunities that organisations like Wide Horizons can provide in giving access to the benefits of adventure or the natural wonder and beauty of the outdoors.”

    To find out more about the work of Wide Horizons download a copy of our Social Impact Report here, visit our website www.widehorizons.org.uk or email info@widehorizons.org.uk

    Press Release

  • Shelley's Blog: Climate Change and Education 29 September 2016  

    Climate change is a topical issue: talks of melting ice caps and rising waters, have put this topic at the forefront of environmental discussions and media coverage, in recent years, but what has this got to do with the role of an educator?

    UNESCO state that  “Education is an essential element of the global response to climate change. It helps young people understand and address the impact of global warming, encourages changes in their attitudes and behaviour and helps them adapt to climate change-related trends.”

    66dc15f4-1096-46a8-80fc-6e48b1c9351bBeing responsible in looking after the world around us is something any teacher would advocate; the new curriculum reflects this with topics such as recycling and composting firmly embedded in the new specification.  However, at Wide Horizons we are passionate that this understanding and respect of nature goes beyond the confines of a lesson plan.  We believe that engaging children in the outdoors will provoke a life-long respect and love for the world around us.

    Whilst we do offer engaging sessions in recycling and sustainability, we believe that a whole journey in Adventure Learning throughout a child’s life will have the greatest impact in securing the future of our planet.  In fact, our theory of change identifies environmental awareness and connection to the natural world as 2 key outcomes of adventure learning; there are only 3 outcomes!


    Dr Robbie Nicol (c/o EOE Network)

    This premise is supported by Dr Robbie Nicol, senior lecturer in outdoor and environmental education at Moray House Institute, the School of Education of the University of Edinburgh.  He states

    “My life motivation comes from the realisation that human activities are fundamentally altering the planet’s ability to sustain us in the long term. As an educator I believe that the outdoors provide places where individuals can rediscover their direct dependence on the planet through embodied experiences.”

    We are on a journey, partnering with schools, to ensure that every child has the opportunity for such adventures, thus securing the future of our planet.


  • new Pevril Lounge at Wide Horizons Townsend Centre New Townsend Centre Pevril Lounge Open 23 September 2016  
    new Pevril Lounge at Wide Horizons Townsend Centre

    Last week saw the grand opening of our new Pevril Lounge at Wide Horizons Townsend Centre. Hopefully this will add the desired level of comfort for visiting teaching staff.

    The lounge was opened at noon on Friday the 9th September by Paul Kermish who slaved away for a month on the refurbishments.


  • Now Available: Winter Programme Discounts for 2016-17 23 September 2016  

    Wide Horizons Winter Programme discounts are now available.

    Our winter programmes offer a unique way for children to experience Adventure Learning.

    Every year we offer sensational value on our Winter Programmes and this year is no exception. So please do take advantage of 25% discounts available for a limited time only.

    Plan Your Winter Adventure











  • Exciting New Opportunities For Outreach 21 September 2016  

    Do you teach in a school in North West London, Walsall or near Crystal Palace Park?

    We have new exciting opportunities for subsidised Adventure learning sessions.

    In Walsall and North West London, the Wide Horizons Adventure Outreach programme brings Adventure to your school and takes place in your school grounds, local parks and other outdoor spaces close to your school and where your children live.

    Adventure Outreach sessions bring classroom subjects to life in a practical setting, increasing children’s understanding of curriculum subjects. By taking children outside and providing an experience which is adventurous, child-centered and fun the Adventure Outreach sessions can play a key part in adding value to the teaching inside the classroom with the aim of increasing a child’s attainment and motivation to learn.

    We are also delivering Adventure Outreach sessions in Crystal Palace Park. This iconic venue is the perfect place for learning to come alive. It delivers a whole programme of activities including Adventure English, Adventure Maths, and a new Adventure Engineering programme.

    An Outreach Case Study

    Fryent Primary in Brent, have benefitted from 43 Outreach sessions on a variety of topics across 5 year groups. The school has at least 22 sessions booked for Summer.

    “Wide Horizons have been supporting us with our Outreach programmes for the past three years. Every year we have such positive feedback from the children, teachers and parents about how excited the children were to be learning outside the classroom and the new knowledge and experiences they have gained. Parents have commented that they now feel more confident to take their children on nature walks and can see a real benefit from the children learning outside the classroom.

    Teachers noted that children’s behaviour and attitude had changed in some instances, with disengaged pupil becoming more engaged in the environment around them, and taking on more leadership type roles within their groups. We will continue to use Wide Horizons to support our staff and pupils for outdoor learning, as they have been a real asset to our school and community.” Grace Gonzalez, Assistant Head teacher, Fryent Primary School

    For  examples of the activities we can offer for Outreach please see our Adventure Outreach page.


  • NCS groups voluntary work at Wide Horizons Margaret McMillan House 04 August 2016  

    On Tuesday 2nd August, two NCS groups visited Wide Horizons Margaret McMillan House Centre to do some voluntary work

    The scheme is a voluntary day at the end of the NCS programme where the groups go to a local community project or charity and complete work for them.

    The groups who both come from the Eltham area, worked hard and painted the new Archery Range, as well as some maintenance on the paths in the woodland.





  • Pigs' Names Revealed 03 August 2016  

    Our recent Family Fun Day at WEC included a competition to guess the names of our new Kunekune pigs

    Their names are Darwin and Wallace, after the famous theorists on Natural Selection, Charles Darwin and Alfred Wallace.

    Only one person successfully guessed one of the pigs names (Wallace)


  • Family Fun Day Feedback Survey 03 August 2016  

    We’d love to know what you thought of the day

    Please complete our brief survey




  • Family Fun Day is Biggest Yet! 26 July 2016  

    Over 1,000 people flocked to Wide Horizons Environment Centre in Eltham last Saturday, making it the biggest Family Fun Day the charity has ever had.

    The day raised £800 – which will help the charity do more work with less fortunate children.

    The event was also bigger than ever in terms of activities and attractions, and local people clearly appreciated that by showing huge support, as they enjoyed the burgeoning British Summer sun. Members of the public began streaming in from opening time at 11am with their little ones in tow, and continued until close of business around 3pm.

    DSC_3975While some chased butterflies, others could examine bees and taste real honey. Here and there children explored the 9 acres site, or joined a line of young and old following the words to Michael Rosen’s book “We’re going on a Bear Hunt”. Others could find a good map and follow a Gruffalo trail with characters from another children’s classic.


    The day seemed to capture something often unfamiliar in modern life -that ability to enjoy the outdoors, our natural surroundings, and above all inspire the imagination of our little ones to explore, gain confidence, and have new adventures.

    DSC_3941Visitors joined in with pond dipping, scaling a climbing wall, uncovering fossils, or just found a quiet spot in the beautiful grounds and gardens to relax or have a picnic. There was still time to enjoy a cake, and a cup of tea, or an ice cream, and have your face painted.

    Climbing Wall Tower

    Adventure Learning Manager and organiser Barney Clarke said:

    “This year, at the Family Fun Day we added some more of the activities which form part of our Adventure Learning programme for schools and the 8,000 children who visit the Wide Horizons Environment Centre in Eltham every year”.

    DSC_3948Wide Horizons are also running a new Summer Holiday Adventure Club in August, to extend their provision of adventure to the local community in Eltham. For further information, click here.


    Wide Horizons CEO Alex Brooks-Johnson said:

    “I’m really excited about being able to offer a new summer holiday programme to children this year at the Environment Centre in Eltham” He added, “what better way to spend the summer holidays than experiencing a potentially life changing adventure at our amazing 9 acre site.”


  • Eltham Environment Centre Gets Archaeological 22 July 2016  

    As part of Wide Horizons ongoing commitment to innovative outdoor Adventure Learning, this month saw the opening of our new archaeological dig  feature at the Wide Horizons Eltham Environment Centre (WEC), and will also feature at this year’s Free Fun Day open event to the general public.

    KidsLabThe simulation includes three dig pits where students can excavate model bone fossils and other artefacts created by our team, then examine them in our laboratory area next door.

    WEC labThis project provides an innovative and unique hands-on experience of fossil discovery and identification.

    Initially lessons will start with exploration of the Jurassic era, a period which saw the most diverse range of organisms that Earth had yet seen. We will later expand this to other eras of archaeological investigation.

    Wide Horizons Environment Centre Adventure Learning Manager Barney Clarke, described the new area:

    “This is a new hands on adventure learning experience with curricular links to evolution and adaptations, stone age and creature creation. 

    Children will be introduced to famous fossil hunters, Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace.

    Searching for, digging up and investigating a range of fossils and artefacts and then taking them into the kids lab to study them closer and question how and why animals have evolved over thousands of year.”


  • Wide Horizons Adventure Outreach Programme to start in Walsall 07 July 2016  

    We have received funding from the Mercers Company which will help us to deliver a subsidised Adventure Outreach programme to Primary Schools in Walsall.

    The Wide Horizons Adventure Outreach programme, brings the adventure to your school grounds and local parks bringing classroom subjects to life. Register your interest to receive details.

  • Pigs Arrive at the Wide Horizons Environmental Centre Eltham 07 July 2016  

    At Wide Horizons we are passionate about children being actively involved in their learning.  “Research has demonstrated that engaging students in the learning process increases their attention and focus, motivates them to practice higher-level critical thinking skills and promotes meaningful learning experiences”. Adventure Learning provides the perfect opportunity to do this. Whether this is taking children to the river Darenth (near our centre at Horton Kirby) to study first-hand the characteristics of the river as river rangers or using the picturesque views at Bryntysilio to inspire children to write poetry.


    We are constantly exploring ways to make our sessions and centres more inspirational.  With this in mind there have been 2 recent additions to the Wide Horizon Environment Centre in Eltham: our little pigs.  The pigs have only been here a few weeks but they have stolen the hearts of the staff, and the children who have visited the centre.  The Kunkune breed harks from New Zealand and is probably descended from the Asian variety.  They may be cute (and rather noisy) but they have an important role in our Adventure Learning programmes.  Whether children are coming to our new 3 little pigs session, exploring habitats or adaptations or looking at free range farming, you can be certain that the pigs will play their role: to engage children and make the learning experience memorable.

  • Margaret McMillan House – Pilgrim dormitory upgrade completed 05 July 2016  

    The month of June saw a facelift to the Pilgrim dormitory at Margaret McMillan house in Wrotham. The immensely popular accommodation hall underwent renovation with a new bathroom built for teachers and staff following feedback received from schools.

    Wide Horizons Chief Executive Alex Brooks-Johnson stated “the work that has taken place in the Pilgrim dorm has breathed fresh life into it. “Whilst our focus will always be on the thousands of life changing experiences we deliver to children every year, we also want the teachers who accompany them to enjoy their visit and be comfortable in their accommodation, we feel that this upgrade will achieve just that”.

    Joy Ashwin-Carter (pictured), Deputy Head at Jude & St Pauls school in Islington officially opened the new the new facilities and is delighted with the improvement saying “I have been taking school groups to Margaret McMillan House since 1981 and the upgrade to the Pilgrim Dorm is a fantastic improvement that has really refreshed the area with the addition of a brand new teacher’s bathroom a real bonus to our visit.”

    With the end of the academic year in sight bookings are taking place for 2016-2017 school visits. To book please contact mcmillan@widehorizons.org.uk alternatively call 01732 822651.

  • Adventure Learning: re-engaging children with nature 29 April 2016  

    woodlandsBy Shelley Drury,
    Head of Adventure Learning,
    Wide Horizons


    Recently a Year 6 group were visiting our Wide Horizons Environmental Centre in Eltham, it had been a cold frosty night and the pond was covered in a thick layer of ice. One of the children asked me whether we had put the ice on top of the pond, they had no concept that it was a normal part of nature, a consequence of the environmental conditions. A recent survey has revealed that 64% of children play out less than once a week and 28% have not been on a countryside walk in the last year. It also revealed that children were more likely to identify a Dalek than an owl. At Wide Horizons we are passionate about re-engaging children with nature because it has so many benefits to children and young people.

    Indeed the new primary national curriculum seems to lay more emphasis upon the knowledge of nature through the inclusion of criteria such as the identification of plants within the science programme of study. As a former science teacher I welcome the engagement with the real world but there is an expectation that teachers develop an expertise in these areas. This in itself can be a challenge!

    Adventure learning, however, involves far more than purely knowledge of the outdoors; it encompasses a whole range of activities and experiences that have a wide range of benefits to children. Educationalist, Sir Ken Robinson, in an interview with the TES last month, emphasises the importance of outdoor learning to enhance emotional, physical and social development. He states that schools have an important role in addressing the lack of outdoor experiences as children spend so much of their day within their care. Moreover, OFSTED states: “When planned and implemented well, Learning Outside the Classroom contributed significantly to raising standards and improving pupils’ personal, social an emotional development.”

    Clearly the classroom teacher has a massive impact upon a child’s experience of Adventure Learning. You can have the best grounds and outdoor learning facilities but if you don’t have teachers who are passionate about taking learning outside the classroom then these facilities are wasted. Quality training is needed to ensure that the standard of provision is good (or outstanding) and engages children in their learning. We are excited about our role in this. We are dedicated to supporting teachers towards quality Adventure Learning and we have developed a CPD programme including Forest School and curriculum based courses to help you develop your expertise.

    Our Adventure Learning Member schools can also benefit from our twilight sessions that are a great opportunity to network, share ideas and get some input from our Adventure Learning team.

    The greatest impact is when Adventure Learning becomes embedded within the curriculum rather than an odd lesson here and there. We work with our Adventure Learning Partner schools to develop a whole curriculum approach to Adventure Learning. For all schools we offer a whole range of activities from outreach in your school, day visits to residential experiences with high end adventurous activities to support you providing excellent Adventure learning.

    To find out more, contact one of our centres for more information.

    We look forward to journeying with you on your latest adventure!

  • Sharing Adventures Winners Announced 22 March 2016  

    We would like to say congratulations to St Paul’s Academy and West Kirby Residential School, this year’s winners of our £10,000 schools visit competition to Wales, ‪#‎SharingAdventures‬.

    As part of the competition, the schools produced a one minute video showing what they hope to achieve during the visit and what they expect the impact of an adventure in Wales will have on them and their school.

    Some of the winning videos can be seen below:


    The May visits will take place at our adventure centres, Wide Horizons Ty’n y Berth Centre, situated on the edge of the beautiful Snowdonia National Park and Wide Horizons Bryntysilio Centre, set above the River Dee. During the visits, pupils will engage in a number of outdoor adventures including canoeing, gorge walking and rock climbing.

    Gordon Davis, Head of Geography at St Paul’s Academy, Said: “It is an honour to have received the £10,000 prize from Wide Horizons #SharingAdventures competition. This is testament to the work ethic and dedication of the Year 10 Geography students. They are an asset to St Paul’s Academy and the subject in which they study. Congratulations to them and have an amazing experience in Wales. Thank you to Wide Horizons for giving us the opportunity to achieve such an accolade.”

    Graham Macdonald, Computing Coordinator at West Kirby Residential School said: “As a school we are very excited to visit after winning the competition! Being an additional needs school lots of our students have raised anxiety when faced with challenges so we use outdoor education as a key factor in supplying opportunities to them to grow and learn in naturally calming environments.”

    Adventure Learning plays a major role in developing children’s personal and social skills such as trust, resilience and cooperation, and provides unparalleled opportunities to learn curriculum based subjects.

    In addition to St Paul’s Academy and West Kirby Residential School winning prizes  – Haimo Primary School, Eglinton Primary School and Plumstead Manor School were runners up in the competition.

    Alex Brooks-Johnson, Wide Horizons CEO said, “Congratulations to St Paul’s Academy and West Kirby Residential School for winning our Sharing Adventures competition. The standard of entries was exceptionally high and every school that entered showed a clear passion for Adventure Learning and a thorough understanding of the many benefits it has for both pupils and schools alike. We believe every child should have the opportunity to experience adventures as part of their development and education, and I hope that by providing this week of free adventures in Wales for our winning schools demonstrates our commitment to making that happen.”

    He added, “The response to this competition was very inspiring, the judges had a hard time selecting the winner, all the videos were very creative and persuasive. If we could provide free residential weeks for every school that entered, we would. We’ll certainly be running this competition next year to provide two more lucky schools with a free week of Adventure Learning with Wide Horizons.”

    Following this success, schools can now register their interest in taking part in next year’s competition.

  • Get Out, Go Wild Wins Award 17 March 2016  

    P1010992Get out, Go Wild, part of L&Q’s Community Investment One Goal Holiday programme, won the award in the best outcomes for resident’s category at the CIH regional conference held in Brighton on 10th March.

    The award was collected by Richard Southall, L&Q’s Assistant Director for the South East Neighbourhood, John Joannou, L&Q’s Neighbourhood Director and Lois Barratt (Adventure Learning Partnership Coordinator) on behalf of Wide Horizons.

    The programme delivered in partnership between leading Housing Association L&Q and Wide Horizons, The Adventure Learning Charity, enabled 162 young people to take part in a week long adventure learning programme designed to focus on the individual development of the young people; helping them to build valuable personal and social skills. Through adventurous activities such as rock climbing, bush craft and mountain walks, young people learnt how to co-operate with others, take responsibility for their own welfare, and develop the confidence and determination to overcome challenges in a supportive setting.

    A thorough monitoring and evaluation process was used to record the impact of the programme with 93% stating they were happier after the experience.

    Paul Nehra, Community Investment Manager, creating positive futures for young people said ‘the programme has helped to transform the lives of the young people that took part. We have received so many positive comments from young people and their parents, carers and guardians. I am proud of the partnership we have with Wide Horizons and the fact their work has been recognised through the award’.

    Alex Brooks-Johnson, Chief Executive of Wide Horizons said “Wide Horizons is delighted to work with L&Q to deliver a life changing holiday programme for disadvantaged children in South East London. We believe that all children and young people, regardless of their circumstances should experience adventure as part of their development. We have worked hard to design a programme that develops well-rounded young people who are environmentally conscious, active members of their communities and have the right skills to build their own futures. It’s fantastic to win an award that recognises the impact of the programme for children and young people who really need it. We look forward to working with L&Q again to give more children and young people the chance to Get Out and Go Wild.”

    The last word goes to the mother of one of our young Lewisham residents ‘My son came back a different person. He has made new friends and is able to sustain these relationships. He is more independent; he eats less rubbish and now eats healthy food he wouldn’t have touched before. He goes out to play with his friends instead of sitting in front of a computer. He has lost weight and is such a happy and fun-loving child. Thank you GOGW for changing our lives for the better’.

    Find out more about our community programmes here.

  • Winter Adventure Learning Programme 09 March 2016  

    If you’re looking for a quality residential for your group, but don’t want to stretch the budget, a winter visit could be a brilliant alternative.

    Attributed to Max Stotksy

    Attributed to Max Stotksy

    Winter Adventure Learning Programmes

    During the day, groups keep active and warm enjoying our exhilarating Adventure Learning activities, most of which can be run all year round. Plus, we have a range of flexible indoor activity spaces with some fantastic sessions available, including archery and problem solving activities, so there’s fun to be had whatever the weather! In the evenings, you can choose from team-building games around the campfire, a school disco or even a local night walk.

     Group in Snow

    Winter Revision Programmes

    A Winter Revision Programme is a great value option, ensuring your pupils are fully prepared and motivated for their SATS, GCSE or A-Level examinations in the Summer Term. This residential stay combines intensive subject-based revision from your staff with personal development and Adventure Learning activities from our staff. It’s a winning combination that really helps prepare pupils for exams in a new, inspirational setting. The programme can be combined with coursework and controlled assessments.

    Book Now

    Adventure Learning Centres

    Our accommodation is warm and cosy throughout the year. Plus, our hearty meals will keep everyone going throughout the stay; from a full cooked breakfast in the morning to freshly prepared cake in the afternoon and a traditional home made meal in the evenings.

    MMH House Compressed

    Wide Horizons Margaret McMillan House Wrotham, Kent

    A spectacular residential centre located in rural Kent on the North Downs and conveniently near to London. There are 26 acres of grounds for groups to explore including woodland, ponds and a large camping area.

    Capacity in house:136  Camping:36

    Wide Horizons Bryntysilio Centre

    Wide Horizons Bryntysilio Centre Llangollen, Wales

    A beautiful centre set above the River Dee, situated in ten acres of beautifully landscaped grounds. We provide a broad programme of adventure activities including mountaineering, canoeing and mountain biking.

    Capacity in house:60 Camping:40

    Widehorizons Ty'n y Berth Centre

    Wide Horizons Ty’n y Berth & Bryn Coedwig Centres Corris, Wales

    Residential centres located on the edge of the picturesque Snowdonia National Park. Surrounded by Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty this site is in an ideal location to take part in adventurous activities such as climbing, caving and gorge walking.

    Capacity in house: 40 & 30

    Book Now

  • Economists Provide Advice On The Impact Of Adventure Learning For Wide Horizons 23 February 2016  

    We have approached economics charity, Pro Bono Economics, to gain an understanding on the impact of our outdoor learning programmes on children who visit our centres.

    Volunteers from the National Audit Office (NAO) put together an advice document for us  in order to address two questions:

    1. Is there evidence that Adventure Learning has an impact on a child’s education?
    2. How do you design research to investigate the impact of Wide Horizons?

    The team of volunteers used our Theory of Change model as the framework for analysis. The ToC model allowed our staff and PBE volunteers to consider the intended impact of their programmes on individuals, but also wider societal benefits such as more environmentally-friendly young people and a more productive society.

    A review of available evidence suggests that Adventure Learning does make a difference to academic achievement, however the evidence base is limited. The What Works Education Centre has estimated that participating in Adventure Learning enables an additional three months of progress in attainment over a year, with improved self-confidence, self-efficacy and motivation being other effects on the individual [1]. PBE volunteers recommended that we prioritise certain outcomes in order to begin measuring impact. We have decided to focus on resilience, confidence, communications and well-being in line with suggested outcomes from a report by the Young Foundation. PBE volunteers were able to offer suggestions on methodology.

    Alongside Pro Bono Economics, we would like to thank Sarah Shakespeare, Julie Bouchard, Vasilisa Starodubtseva, Zaina Steityeh and Nathalie Larsen for their time and hard work on this advice report.

    Read the original article here.

  • We're Recruiting Adventure Learning Tutors! 12 February 2016  

    Wide Horizons is the Adventure Learning Charity and we believe that every child should have the opportunity to experience adventures as part of their education and development.

    We are now recruiting two Adventure Learning Tutors.

    Adventure Learning Tutor

    Eltham, London | Seasonal
    Deadline: Ongoing
    Location: Horizons Environment Centre, Eltham, London
    Contract: Seasonal

    Adventure Learning Tutor

    Kent | Maternity cover 
    Deadline: Ongoing
    Location: Wide Horizons Horton Kirby Centre, Kent
    Contract: Maternity cover

  • Wide Horizons Bryntysilio Refurbishment 10 February 2016  

    We are delighted to announce some recent refurbishment work at Wide Horizons Bryntysilio Centre.  We can now host two separate school groups at the same time with the two wings of the centre able to be used independently, with new showers and toilets. Whilst still retaining the ornate character of the beautiful Georgian house, we’ve updated the facilities with some new modern shower and toilet facilities.

    We can also now provide an en-suite room for two staff in what is known as the ‘girl’s wing’ of the house while the ‘boys wing’ has a designated new shower and toilet for teachers.

    The new lay-out of the facilities now means we can accommodate either a different school group on each side of the house or one school group can use both sides of the house with boys on one side and girls on the other.

    The landing and stairs have also been refurbished with new carpets, and downstairs we now have a bedroom for six students (with wheel-chair access) and an en-suite bedroom for two teachers.

    Wide Horizons Bryntysilio Centre now has even more flexibility to suit your needs and we are sure you will be impressed with the new accommodation and bathroom facilities which now  for your Wide Horizons Adventure Learning week.

    We hope to welcome you back soon.

    Find out more about Wide Horizons Bryntysilio Centre.

  • Beckenham Place Park-Children & Young People Survey 18 January 2016  

    youtellus-notext01We are asking children and young people about making improvements to Beckenham Place Park and what they think would work.

    Please complete our survey so that we can redesign the park to be a place you would want to spend time in and enjoy.

    Win a free day of adventure!

    People who complete the survey can enter a prize draw for either a free day of adventure for your class at Beckenham Place Park, or a free adventure birthday party at Wide Horizon’s centre in Eltham, south east London. See competition Terms & Conditions.

    Complete the survey

    Who should fill in this survey?

    Any child or young person between the ages of 7 and 16 years of age.

    We will keep your responses confidential and it should only take 10 minutes to fill in.

    cypsurvey3_logo (2)

  • Three Wide Horizons Centres Get Bronze! 14 December 2015  

    GREEN IMPACTThree Wide Horizons centres have received the Bronze distinction as part of Green Impact Award Ceremony at the University of Greenwich.

    The amazing achievement by Wide Horizons Environment CentreWide Horizons Townsend Centre and Wide Horizons Horton Kirby reflects the centres dedication to positive environmental action.

    Green Impact offers a framework for staff to improve the ethical and environmental credentials of their organization. Since the start of the programme in 2005, 387 organisations have taking part in Green Impact recruiting 3,031 teams with 5,616 team members reaching 108,092 staff, and generating over 216,000 ‘green’ actions.

    Wide Horizons was one of five organisations taking part in the Green Impact Enterprise pilot lead by the Greenwich Sustainability Hub. In its first year the programme trained 34 students as Green Impact Assistants or Auditors, recruited twenty teams and 100 staff members together completing over 500 ‘green’ actions, and reached 1,000 employees. Highlight actions included ‘ICT Switch Off’ campaigns to utilise PC power management options, staff taking ‘Green New Year’s resolutions’, setting copiers ‘by default’ double-sided & black & white, switching to using 100% recycled paper, making notebooks from one-sided paper, and lobbying Estates, Procurement, IT departments for further sustainability products and services.

    Glenn Lane, Wide Horizons Adventure Learning Tutor, said: It was an enjoyable campaign to do with support of my colleagues, and it was fantastic to be recognised for the environmental work that we do.’

    Wide Horizons looks forward to working more with Green Impact.

  • What's New at Wide Horizons Adventure Centres 10 December 2015  


    Wide Horizons is getting better than ever with new activities from mountain biking through to raft building.

    If you’re thinking about booking your educational visits for next year, read on to find out about the Adventure Learning programmes Wide Horizons can offer. 

    All of the programmes at our Adventure Centres will allow your pupils to develop key personal and social skills, and bring curriculum subjects to life.

    What's New at Wide Horizons Adventure Centres

    What’s New at our Day Centres

    Our day centres have been working hard to add new and exciting adventures to our innovative programme of activities, all of which are designed to bring any curriculum subject to life.

    Why not spend a day at Wide Horizons Horton Kirby Centre where, on our Brilliant Birds course, pupils will have the chance to discover the fascinating life of birds. Your pupils will compare the differences between different varieties of birds, their habitats and more.

    Pupils can also spend a day at the centre discovering what life was like in the Stone Age; our new archaeological course. Pupils will take part in a range of activities including an archaeological dig, recreating Stone Age tools, and cave painting with natural materials in the centre ‘cave’. To enquire about a visit to Wide Horizons Horton Kirby Centre, please contact us.

    New Sessions at Wide Horizons Environment Centre

    At Wide Horizons Environment Centre, pupils can learn about Evolution and Adaptation through a hands-on and interactive day of exciting activities. On the course pupils will spend the day doing a range of activities from fossil hunting to learning about Darwin’s ‘Survival of the Fittest’.

    Enquire about a Day Visit

    We’re also pleased to announce that we will be running more Forest School training sessions. Forest Schools is a fantastic way of integrating the outdoors in to your everyday classroom teaching and our Forest School training courses give you the tools to do just that. Courses take around 10-months to complete and lead to an accredited Forest School Practitioner Level 3 qualification.

    Enquire about Forest School Training

    What’s New at our Residential Centres

    Our residential centres have also been working hard with new activities to help make staying away from home even more memorable.

    At Wide Horizons Ty’n y Berth and Bryn Coedwig Centres, our new orienteering course will take your pupils across mountainside and forestry, with the shortest course covering less than a kilometre, whilst for the older pupils the long course comes in at 3.3km, and includes a challenging 200 metres of ascent.

    Our new fleet of primary school mountain bikes at Wide Horizons Bryntysilio Centre will allow your pupils to cycle through moorland, farm tracks, country tracks and canal paths, eventually finishing at the stunning Horseshoe Falls. Children are taught about balance, weight shift, braking and use of gears before setting off on their adventure through the countryside!

    Down at Wide Horizons Margaret McMillan House, pupils can try our new raft-building challenge, using just poles, a barrel and some ropes. Pupils must use their creativity and initiative to design and create a floating raft. Working together, teams will be given the bare essentials to create the vessel which will then need to carry the whole team across the water.

    Raft Building

    Alternatively, why not spend some time on the coast at Wide Horizons Townsend Centre and bring history to life with their new session on ‘A Day in the Life of the Romans and Celts’. Your pupils will hear the story of how the Romans encountered the ‘Blue Giant’ Celts when they first landed in Britain before becoming immersed in history themselves through spending time fire lighting, handling Roman and Celt objects, and dressing up to re-enact a few battles!

    Book a Residential Visit

    If you are looking for a high-quality residential on a budget then take a look at our Winter Programmes for up to 25% off incredible Adventure Learning programmes across three of our residential Adventure Centres.

    From November to February, we can offer a wide range of winter adventurous activities or provide revision programmes for your group to help them prepare for their exams in the summer.

    For more information on how Wide Horizons can provide incredible Adventure Learning experiences for your school please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us on 020 8294 8160 or email info@widehorizons.org.uk.

  • Local volunteers transform community open spaces 14 November 2015  

    Community volunteers have successfully transformed five open spaces across Lewisham for a Wide Horizons and Phoenix Community Housing led project.

    As part of ‘Space Invaders’, 64 volunteers spent the summer building, painting and planting flowerbeds at five different sites. They also cut up hundreds of bundles of wood to construct bug hotels and even painted and hung 20 birdhouses in Peter Pan Park.

    On the last day of the build, children from Downderry and local schools added their artwork to the art sculpture. This art work will be changed once a month by the schools to showcase the children’s work to the wider community.

    Space Invaders started when Phoenix Community Housing and Wide Horizons were awarded £50,000 from the Big Lottery Fund, after winning a public vote that was televised on ITV.

    The main aim of the project was to create outside spaces in the community that everyone can use and feel proud of, with the hope that these new spaces will deter fly-tipping, anti-social behaviour in the area, and encourage children to spend more time outside, therefore supporting the many children from schools that we work with in and around Lewisham.

    Wide Horizons Chief Executive, Alex Brooks-Johnson, said: ‘The project was a huge achievement for the community and it is great to see how the green spaces have been regenerated to encourage new wildlife and engage locals with nature.’

    The newly developed open spaces can been seen at:

    • Roundtable Road
    • Corner of Downham Way and Churchdown
    • Peter Pan’s Park
    • Downderry Road
    • Corner of Oakview Road and Sedgehill Road

    We look forward hearing more about Phoenix and Wide Horizons community projects.

    To find out more about volunteering go to: http://www.widehorizons.org.uk/get-involved/careers/volunteer-with-us/


  • Buy a Christmas tree and help provide children with adventures 11 November 2015  

    xmastreeBuy a Christmas tree today and £6 will go directly to Wide Horizons, so that we can continue to provide life changing adventures for children

    All the trees are fresh and cut within 24 hrs!

    Order now and collect on Sunday 13th December, 10am,
    at Wide Horizons Margaret McMillan House, Gravesend Road, Wrotham, TN15 7JN.


      5ft 6ft 7ft 8ft
    Norway Spruce (Traditional, fragrant) £31 £34 £39 £47
    Serbian Spruce (beautiful with silver/blue underneedles) £32 £36 £40 £48
    Nordmann (well known non-drop) £37 £41 £46 £54
    Blue Spruce (very fragrant) £32 £37 £42 £47

    VAT free as grower is a registered flat rate farmer.

    To order
    Please email: helen.degeorgio@widehorizons.org.uk or call 07895052945.

    For any requests outside of the listed dates and sizes*
    Please call the grower Eric directly on 07968375324.
    *Trees up to 15ft be can provided and will deliver large trees for displays earlier than the delivery date.

  • Liz Kendall MP shares an adventure with kids at Wide Horizons 26 August 2015  

    Liz KendallLabour leadership candidate, Liz Kendall MP, visited Wide Horizons’ Environment Centre in Eltham today as part of her campaign to become the leader of her party.
    Liz was keen to understand the link between adventure and education, and was particularly interested in how Wide Horizons are linking adventure with curriculum subjects to help children learn, and spent time with a group of 11 year olds from Lewisham.

    Alex Brooks Johnson, CEO at Wide Horizons commented, “Liz is really passionate about the education of disadvantaged children and was impressed with how we’re using the environment and adventure to deliver some real education to 41,000 children every year” He added, “It was great to see how well Liz interacted with the children here today and in particular helping one young girl with her fire lighting skills’.

    Liz pledged to ensure she would do all she could to protect and support the important services that organisations like Wide Horizons provide, recognising the importance of adventures on the education of pupils and the importance of maintaining a provision for disadvantaged children.

    Find out more about the work of Wide Horizons and plan your school visit.

  • M&S Sparks Something Good in Eltham 07 August 2015  

    MSOn Wednesday 29th July, M&S employees and volunteers came to Wide Horizons Environment Centre to renovate the animals area, providing a new place for the ducks and chickens to live and local children to learn.

    Spark Something Good saw 24 community projects completed around the capital in just 24 hours. With the help of 400 volunteers the work carried out will benefit over 6,500 people, showing what can be achieved in just one day when people come together united by a common goal.

    Joanna Lumley, M&S Spark Something Good ambassador, comments: “This isn’t just about today or even tomorrow. It’s about the cumulative effect of people giving back to their community over time. We want to make people happy and spark a relay of good deeds across the nation and we need your help now! The potential is simply enormous.

    People tell us they’d like to support local charities and they want to give hands-on help and see lives being changed. Donating time is just as valuable as giving money and is often more rewarding.”

    Alex Brooks-Johnson, Chief Executive at Wide Horizons adds: “It was great to have the opportunity to work with M&S on Spark Something Good and see how people can work together to help the community. We hope that all the volunteers who took part in the event experienced a brilliant adventure and were fulfilled by knowing that their contribution will help Wide Horizons in supporting local disadvantaged children to have unforgettable adventures too.”

    Find out more about community and volunteer projects at Wide Horizons.

  • Mayor's adventure at Wide Horizons Woodland Centre 30 July 2015  

    The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, paid a visit to our our Woodlands Centre on 30th July 2015.

    Boris was shown how children learn through adventure at the five acre site, which was derelict until a team of volunteers helped the charity develop the site into an inspirational learning space.

    Wide Horizons received support from Team London, an Olympic legacy inspired GLA project that matches corporate volunteers with charities and provides funding for organisations to get community volunteering projects off the ground.

    Alex Brooks Johnson, CEO at Wide Horizons said: “The support we have received through this project has enabled us to open this amazing space up to thousands of local school children who are now able to visit it as often as they like”, he added, “children learn best when they are outdoors and inspired by nature and the environment, we can harness the spirit of adventure to teach just about anything and at the same time children are developing character traits that will stand them in good stead for the rest of their lives”.

    Boris Johnson was quick to participate in some of the activities and demonstrate his own taste for adventure as he scrambled through bushes and up and down muddy slopes. He spent time baking bread on an open fire with local children and even had a go at lighting a fire himself.

    Jack Gower, Wide Horizons tutor was with Boris as he lit a fire and said: “resilience and determination are just two of the things that children gain through adventure learning and Boris showed both of these by getting that fire alight, he wouldn’t give up.”

    Find out more about Wide Horizons Woodland Centre.

  • How Adventure Learning can Benefit your Pupils 20 May 2015  

    Wide Horizons has years of experience working alongside schools and teachers to provide Adventure Learning.

    Our adventures focus on the development of a child’s personal and social skills, and on bringing the school curriculum to life.

    If you’re thinking about your educational visits for next year, read on to find to find out about how Adventure Learning can benefit your pupils.

    Adventure Learning Outreach

    Outreach Image Cropped

    Adventure Learning Outreach is a key stepping stone on a child’s journey to learning outside the classroom. Wide Horizons tutors will visit your school to deliver half-day Adventure Learning sessions where children will visit open spaces in and around the school.

    A typical session involves visiting a local park, woodland or playing field and taking part in planned activities such as orienteering, nature/habitat walks, environmental art or storytelling.

    The sessions aim to connect children with nature, reduce and remove anxieties and fears of learning outside, introduce pupils to new skills and link with classroom subjects.

    The sessions are tailored to involve specific curricular-links to subjects being studied in school and the environment and history of the local area.

    Find out more about Adventure Learning Outreach

    Day Visits

    Pond Dipping

    Our Day Centres teach children as young as two about the wider world around them through environmentally-focussed activities such as habitat walks, river studies and pond-dipping.

    For example, on a day visit at Wide Horizons Environment Centre children as young as two can have a go at pond-dipping for the first time and discover what kinds of plants and animals survive in this habitat. Engaging with nature in this very hands-on way gives children an appreciation for the natural world and ensures that they will safeguard it for future generations.

    Find out More about Day Visits

    Residential Visits

    Residential Visits

    Our Residential Centres offer adventurous activities like canoeing, gorge walking and climbing, where children learn how to co-operate with others, take responsibility for their own welfare, and have the confidence and determination to overcome challenges in a supportive setting.

    For example, at Wide Horizons Ty’n y Berth Centre pupils have the chance to explore a network of underground mine passages, working together as a team to navigate their way in the dark. Pupils learn how to cooperate with one another to find their way through the tunnels, and will grow in confidence as they overcome this amazing challenge in a supportive setting.

    Find out More about Residential Visits

    If you’re interested in finding out how your school can use a Wide Horizons Adventure Centre to enhance your pupils’ learning, then please do get in touch with us to find out more or call 020 8294 8160.

  • Revision Tips with an Adventurous Twist 28 April 2015  

    In the academic world, the start of summer also means the onset of exams! Wide Horizons believes that Adventure Learning has a powerful role to play in helping make your revision programme as productive and pain-free as possible.

    Here are some of our top tips on using the outdoors to boost your pupils’ revision.

    Girl looking under rock Cropped

    1. Take revision breaks outside! It is widely known that being outside helps you to feel more relaxed and think more clearly. Take your pupils’ outside when they need a break from revision to help them recharge.

    Wide Horizons’ Forest School Tutor, Alice Pinwill, says:

    “One of the things we do with the children who come to Forest School is to get them to sit outside, close their eyes and then focus on tensing up different parts of their body for ten seconds and then relaxing. This helps the children to feel more relaxed ahead of the session and gets them in a mindset to learn.”

    2. Incorporate the outdoors into your subject revision. Think about where adventure can help to highlight curriculum topics in a new way. Direct, hands-on experiences are powerful and memorable learning tools and will help your pupils to absorb subject matter ahead of their exams.

    For example, if your group is studying poetry, why not take them outside and get them to write a poem about what’s around them using all five of their senses? Or study pushes and pulls by creating a log rope swing?

    Last year, Wide Horizons Margaret McMillan House ran a revision booster camp for children from one Greenwich school. Children spent three days looking at curriculum subjects whilst having adventures at the same time – whether they were scrambling up the climbing wall to grab a maths problem hanging from the footholds or learning to use scientific classification charts through minibeast hunts and pond dipping.

    Studland - 19 May 2011_2355 - Cropped

    3. Give your pupils a confidence boost. Studying multiple topics at the same time can be stressful for children, especially when faced a looming exam deadline. It can also knock their self-confidence. As well as classroom-based revision sessions, head out on some mini adventures with your class to give them the confidence they need to succeed.

    Why not set up a miniature orienteering course around your school grounds, or in a local park, and have some ‘treasure’ for pupils to find at the end of the course? Not only will this give them a huge sense of achievement but they will be utilising their problem-solving skills which will help them with problem-based questions in their tests.

    Wide Horizons sees every day the effect adventure has on a child’s confidence. During the February half term, we took a group of young people, aged 11-15, to Wide Horizons Bryntysilio Centre in Wales. They got to try brand new activities like rock climbing, canoeing and mountain walking. One young girl, Tamara, aged 12 commented:

    “I feel happy. It’s been good for me and my life because now when I get older and get a job I can communicate better, ask for help, have more confidence and achieve what I want to achieve. I didn’t think I could do that before.”

    4. Build up your children’s “R&D” – that’s Resilience and Determination! One of the key’s to exam success is persevering, even when it feels like you’re getting nowhere.

    Help your pupils to build up their resilience and determination skills through adventure. Problem-solving challenges are great for this as children learn how to keep going even when they don’t succeed the first time around.

    At our Schools Adventure Challenges, children must walk, in teams, between 5km and 5-miles and solve ‘mystery challenges’ along the route. These involve things like climbing through a giant ‘spider’s web’ blocking their path or working out how to collect water from a nearby stream in a drainpipe with holes punched in the side. Small challenges like this help children to build up their resilience and tackle problems in a different way.

    Schools Challenge 2 Cropped

    5. Walk it off. A study released last year in the ‘Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition’ showed that walking for just eight-minutes helps to unleash creativity and this effect lasts even when the person has gone back inside.

    Taking your children out for a walk ahead of revising core subjects which require creativity – such as English and Literacy – can help to increase their productivity back in the classroom.

    These are just a few of our top tips for using the outdoors as part of your revision. We’d love to hear more of your ideas on how you’ve found the outdoors can be beneficial to a revision programme. Get in touch with us on Twitter or Facebook to let us know your ideas!

    If you’re interested in finding out how your school can use a Wide Horizons Adventure Centre to enhance your pupils’ revision in 2016, then please do get in touch with us to find out more.

    *Names of children have been changed.

  • 'Pooling' Around with George Monbiot 09 April 2015  

    Writer, Guardian columnist, environmentalist and Friend of Wide Horizons, George Monbiot, spent some time with inner city London school pupils on an educational visit to Wales.

    George Fishing for Shrimps.jpg Small

    George Monbiot spent a day as a Wide Horizons’ Adventure Learning Tutor when he accompanied St Mary Magdalene’s Primary School to a Wide Horizons Adventure Centre on the edge of Snowdonia National Park. The Guardian filmed the event and you can watch the video here.

    George knows the area extremely well and took the group rock pooling. Before long all the children were fascinated with their individual rock pools and the abundance of life that the pools supported. One little boy, calmly holding his hands in the water, grasped at just the right time and caught a Sea Scorpion in his bare hands! This is an amazing feat and a memory that will stay with him for a lifetime.

    George commented, “I cannot think of a richer or more rewarding experience than taking inner city children rock-pooling.” He added, “It was great to get out to the rock-pools with the kids; everyone has been so engaged and learnt so much about the pools. Watching inner city kids play around and enjoy the environment around them is amazing. Today has been something that will stay with me for a long time, and I’m sure it is something they will always remember.

    George is passionate about the power of Adventure Learning, and the impact these intimate experiences with the outdoors can have on a child’s education and development. Unfortunately, more often than not, children are missing out on these life-changing experiences.

    George regularly shows his support for Wide Horizons by visiting our Adventure Centres and the young people we work with – sharing his innate love of the great outdoors with a generation that are rapidly losing their connection to nature. He has recently signed up to become a Friend of Wide Horizons; a new membership scheme to enable the charity to continue providing children in poverty with life-changing adventures in the outdoors.

    Wide Horizons Chief Executive, Alex Brooks-Johnson, said “We always love having George come to visit our Adventure Centres. His knowledge and passion engages the children so well, with most of them leaving wanting to know more and hopefully going on to explore the outdoors in their local neighbourhoods. We’re very proud to say that George is also a Friend of Wide Horizons, supporting us while we continue to provide children with amazing experiences. He is a brilliant ambassador for Adventure Learning.”

    42,000 children visit Wide Horizons’ Adventure Centres each year. Your support is vital to ensure the continuation of our work with inner city children. You can join George in becoming a Friend of Wide Horizons today and enjoy a range of benefits including a membership pin badge, 15% discount on clothing and equipment at Cotswolds Outdoor and an invite to our Annual Friends Event.

    Become a Friend

  • Adventure Learning Residentials in Summer 05 March 2015  

    If you’re looking for a fantastic Adventure Learning residential during the summer term then Wide Horizons has select availability at our Adventure Centres across England and Wales.

    All of our centres provide your pupils with top-quality Adventure Learning experiences set against the backdrop of stunning countryside locations.

    Whether you take your pupils to our centre on the Jurassic Coast in Dorset, the Kent North Downs or the Welsh mountains they will experience adventures that bring curriculum subjects to life and help them to develop key personal and social skills.

    Currently we have limited weekday dates available in April, May, June and July so enquire with us to see how we can accommodate your group.

    Enquire about Available Dates

    Weekend Adventure Learning Programmes

    Alternatively, why not consider a weekend Adventure Learning residential for your pupils? Our Friday – Sunday programmes still allow plenty of time to experience a wide range of Adventure Learning experiences that will have lasting impacts.

    We are offering up to 25% off our weekend programmes in the summer term when you book before the end of March for 30 or more pupils. This is a great way to experience incredible Adventure Learning without stretching the budget.

    Enquire about Weekend Availability

    Our Adventure Centres

    All of our Adventure Centres are set in beautiful countryside locations and provide comfortable dormitory-style accommodation, home-cooked meals and fantastic adventurous activities run by our qualified outdoor instructors.

    MMH House Compressed

    Wide Horizons Margaret McMillan House Wrotham, Kent

    A spectacular residential centre located in rural Kent on the North Downs and conveniently near to London. There are 26 acres of grounds for groups to explore including woodland, ponds and a large camping area.

    Capacity in house:136  Camping:36

    Wide Horizons Bryntysilio Centre

    Wide Horizons Bryntysilio Centre Llangollen, Wales

    A beautiful centre set above the River Dee, situated in ten acres of beautifully landscaped grounds. We provide a broad programme of adventure activities including mountaineering, canoeing and mountain biking.

    Capacity in house:60 Camping:40

    Widehorizons Ty'n y Berth Centre

    Wide Horizons Ty’n y Berth & Bryn Coedwig Centres Corris, Wales

    Residential centres located on the edge of the picturesque Snowdonia National Park. Surrounded by Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty this site is in an ideal location to take part in adventurous activities such as climbing, caving and gorge walking.

    Capacity in house: 40 & 30


    Wide Horizons Townsend Centre, Swanage, Dorset

    Located on the gorgeous World Heritage Jurassic Coast, the centre is in a great location for a range of adventurous activities and curriculum-linked field studies. We make use of surrounding local landmarks like Studland Bay, Durlston Country Park and Corfe Castle to bring classroom subjects alive.

    Capacity in house: 103


  • We did it! 50k to regenerate Lewisham 27 November 2014  

    You helped us secure £50,000 of National Lottery funding for Wide Horizons’ regeneration project Space Invaders!

    Thank you for inspiring your friends, family and colleagues to vote. An astonishing number of phone calls were made to vote for the project. Which means we can now start improving lives and regenerating green spaces in Lewisham.

    50k Cheque

    To find out more about Space Invaders, get in touch on 020 8294 8160 or email info@widehorizons.org.uk.

  • Friends of Wide Horizons 10 November 2014  

    Today, only one in ten children regularly plays in natural spaces. Time spent outdoors has halved in just one generation. With your support, our future generations can have the same love of the outdoors that we had when we were young.

    Friends Of - Webpage

    You may have read this statistic before – and perhaps it saddened you that children today don’t have the fantastic memories of building dens, climbing trees and making mud pies that you had as a child.

    We are launching Friends of Wide Horizons to ensure that, with your support, our future generations have the same love for adventure that we had when we were young.

    Adventure helps you learn; it helps you learn about yourself and about the world around you. We need to make sure, as best we can, that children aren’t missing out on these life-changing experiences.

    Become a Friend of Wide Horizons

  • Young people have Half-Term like no other 31 October 2014  


    Many teenagers would have been spending their October half term inside; keeping out of the cold and planning their costumes for upcoming Halloween parties. But one group of 25 young people went ‘all out(doors)’ for three days of high adrenaline adventures at Wide Horizons Margaret McMillan House in Kent.

    Get Out, Go Wild – Wide Horizons’ adventure holiday programme funded by L&Q Housing Group – is a programme of adventurous activities aimed at 11-15 year olds living in L&Q social housing communities.

    The programme first ran during the Easter and Summer holidays, with more than 190 young people attending. In these instances, young people travelled on a coach each day to Kent and then went home again in the evenings. Some of those who attended in the summer, and were particularly enthusiastic, were then selected to stay for two nights at the centre during the October half term. The majority of the young people who attended said that if they hadn’t been at Get Out, Go Wild they would have spent their half term at home; playing on games consoles or watching TV.

    SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESYoung people took part in a range of adventures including a walk across the Kent North Downs, archery, cooking dinner over a camp fire, and flying down a 100m zip wire. As well as being fun, these activities were designed to help young people improve their communication, develop their leadership skills, improve resilience and determination and create a sense of citizenship to take back to their local communities.


    Feedback from the young people was hugely positive, with many young people trying out activities they’d never done before and overcoming their fears – whether that was a fear of heights or a fear of meeting new people. One teenage girl commented:

    “It [Get Out, Go Wild] made me feel proud of myself. When my mum told me I was going I was sad because I am not good at making friends but in the end I did and I had heaps of fun!

    Many of the young people felt privileged to be a part of the programme, with one boy adding that he felt ‘extremely blessed’ that children got these kinds of opportunities.

    The hope is that these young people will continue building on their adventures in the February half term, where they will be invited to spend time at one of Wide Horizons’ Adventure Centres in Wales. Additionally, more young people will have the chance at Easter to start on the day programme and have new adventures for themselves. And who better to convince them that the programme is worthwhile than one of their peers – when asked ‘what would you say to a friend about Get Out, Go Wild?’ one teenager responded:

    “I recommend that you spend less time indoors and Get Out and Go Wild. It is an educational, fun experience. You get to challenge yourself in every activity.”

    To find out more about Get Out, Go Wild, call Wide Horizons on 0845 600 65 67 or email info@widehorizons.org.uk.

  • Adventure Learning improves school's grades 31 October 2014  

    Camden Case Study

    Why is it important to become a Friend of Wide Horizons?

    Friends of Wide Horizons are schools, individuals and organisations, who, like us, are passionate about the outdoors and the way it can inspire our future generations. It’s just £10 a year to become a Friend of Wide Horizons. Your support means that we can continue to provide life-changing adventures for schools. Working together we can help a new generation of children discover the outdoors.

    Become a Friend of Wide Horizons

  • Fire at Wide Horizons Townsend Centre 11 October 2014  

    An unoccupied dormitory was damaged by fire caused by a lightning strike at Wide Horizons Townsend Centre in Swanage.

    The fire service was on site quickly after the alarm was raised at around 5:30am on Saturday 11th October.  The incident was deemed safe at around 7:30am that day after fire crews managed to quickly control and extinguish the fire, which damaged part of the dormitory including the roof.

    The Wide Horizons Townsend Centre is a multi dormitory site and so operations can still continue.

    Alex Brooks-Johnson, Wide Horizons’ CEO said, “We are so fortunate that there was no-one in the dormitory last night.  Our centre management team are working to ensure the rest of the site is safe and ready to continue delivering Adventure Learning” He added, “This is a big blow as there are supposed to be groups of children using that dormitory for the visit they’ve been looking forward to for so long, we’ll do all we can to ensure they still get to come.I’d like to thank the Dorset Fire Service and my team for dealing with this incident so effectively”.

    Wide Horizons Townsend Centre delivers life-changing adventures for thousands of children every year.  Most are school groups who visit from London, many of whom have never visited the countryside, let alone somewhere as beautiful as the Dorset Coast.  During their stay, they’ll get to experience all the area has to offer and learn about the rich history and natural environment, taught by experienced Adventure Learning tutors.

    Wide Horizons is a registered charity and relies on voluntary support in order to be able to deliver low cost adventures to 34,000 children a year, many of whom are unable to otherwise afford it.

    If you are able to support Wide Horizons, you can do so at http://www.widehorizons.org.uk/get-involved/donate/

    For press enquires, please contact Alex Brooks-Johnson on 07834 771973.

  • New Bryntysilio Centre Brochure 2014/2015 06 October 2014  

    We have just developed an exciting new brochure for teachers, which is packed full of great ideas for supporting the National Curriculum and pupils wellbeing.

    What’s inside?

    • Over 20 great outdoor activities – including gorge walking, kayaking and climbing
    • Adventure Learning Partnerships – an exciting new initiative embedding Adventure Learning into the school curriculum, whilst ensuring the funding challenge is met
    • Our Centre- learn more about our excellent facilities, team, accommodation and safety record

    Download your Wide Horizons Bryntysilio Centre  Brochure below.

    If you would like to discuss any of the great programmes and outdoor activities available to your school, please get in touch on 0845 600 65 67 or email enquiries@widehorizons.org.uk.

  • Funding To Open New Woodlands Centre In London 18 September 2014  

    The Mayor of London awards Wide Horizons £9,465 to help set up a new Woodland Centre in the heart of London.

    Woodland Path

    The Wide Horizons Woodland Centre initiative is one of ten that Team London, the Mayor’s volunteering programme, is supporting as part of its Small Grants scheme. Over the course of the next year, the Wide Horizons Woodland Centre project will work with over 1,500 young people, from a wide variety of backgrounds, to increase their skill and experience set, and improve their well-being by being outside and engaging with nature.

    “The development of Wide Horizons Woodland Centre is a new project. We have reclaimed an abandoned urban green space which we aim to use to develop a centre of excellence for Forest School programmes and environmental education. The Mayor of London’s support will mean we will be able to provide countless adventures for the thousands of London children that will visit this site every year, and will allow us to engage with the local community to provide meaningful volunteering opportunities.”

    Alex Brooks Johnson, Chief Executive at Wide Horizons

    They will undertake work such as clearing dense undergrowth, removing fly-tipping from the forest and replanting and pruning foliage. 60 per cent of the young people attending the project will be from BME communities, and many will be out of education and employment and at risk of social exclusion.

    “It is a fantastic that increasing numbers of young people are willing to give their time to build stronger communities and improve the capital by volunteering at brilliant projects like this. The beauty of volunteering is that in giving time they also gain skills and experience that can be hugely beneficial to their future employment opportunities. I encourage as many young people as possible to visit the Team London website and get involved.”

    Boris Johnson, The Mayor of London

    If you would like to find out more about more about Wide Horizons Woodland Centre please get in touch on 020 8294 8160 or email info@widehorizons.org.uk.

  • 'Toughest' Adventure Gives Children Adventures of their Own 05 September 2014  


    In August, Wide Horizons supporter, Patrick Hollins, took on the South-West Tough Mudder to raise funds for disadvantaged children to experience life-changing adventures.

    This notoriously difficult 10-12 mile obstacle course throws everything it can at its participants including swimming through ice cold water, running through electric wires, and climbing up walls covered in grease. Above all many of the obstacles involve mud. A lot of it.

    By taking part in Tough Mudder, Patrick has so far raised over £200 for Wide Horizons. Thanks to his support, children trapped by poverty can experience the outdoors in an inspirational way; building their confidence and creating happier, healthier young people with a brighter outlook for their futures.

    Watch Patrick’s video, below, to see how he managed to get through what the organisers describe as ‘the toughest event on the planet. Probably.’



    If you are impressed by Patrick’s achievement (or think he was crazy to do it in the first place!) then sponsor him by following this link and help more children to experience life-changing adventures.

    Looking to take on a challenge of your own? Why not conquer Wide Horizons’ 30-metre abseil tower this October. Or if you have an idea for your own adventure in aid of Wide Horizons, then email events@widehorizons.org.uk to find out how we can support you.

  • Parents Can't Afford Increasing School Costs 01 September 2014  

    New revelations on the financial strains placed on parents from increasing school costs does not come as a surprise to children’s charity Wide Horizons.

    A recent survey carried out by The Association of Teachers and Lecturers uncovered that 90% of parents are being asked to contribute to the cost of curriculum-linked educational visits.

    Out of the 500 school staff surveyed one third said that if parents could not afford to make this contribution then children were left feeling like an ‘outsider’. A shocking 38% of teachers supported this by saying pupils had no option but to miss out on the school visit if parents were unable to make a contribution.

    Wide Horizons’ Chief Executive, Alex Brooks-Johnson, commented, “We are finding more and more that pupils are missing out on quality outdoor learning experiences due to financial constraints. We work with 400 schools every year and on average 66% of pupils get left out due to lack of funding.

    Adding, “Financial pressure on parents, paired with dramatically reduced funding from Local Authorities to support vital learning experiences, is clearly impacting on children’s education and wellbeing.  We want to ensure that all children get an equal education and not just those whose parents have a higher income”.

    To lessen the strain on both parents and schools, Wide Horizons has developed a new educational support scheme to ensure that every child has the opportunity to participate in key educational experiences outside of the classroom. ‘Adventure Learning Partnerships’ is an exciting initiative helping schools embed outdoor learning into the new school Curriculum whilst ensuring the funding challenge is met, particularly for the most disadvantaged children and young people.

    Wide Horizons is currently working with over 40 Adventure Learning Partner schools across London.

    Turnham Primary Foundation School, in the London borough of Lewisham, is an Adventure Learning Partner with Wide Horizons. With the support of a grant from a local company, Wide Horizons was able to subsidise the cost of the school’s Adventure Learning and deliver a fantastic outdoor  programme for pupils from Reception up to Year 5 including; Forest School sessions, a “Survival Day” at Wide Horizons Margaret McMillan House in Wrotham, and overnight residentials for Years 3, 4 and 5.

    Head Teacher, Louise Salewski, said, “We are delighted to be working with Wide Horizons as an Adventure Learning Partner. Our pupils benefit from Adventure Learning in so many ways as we are able to introduce them to an environment they have never experienced before, bring the Curriculum to life in a practical way, and at the same time strengthen relationships with their peers and build their self-esteem.”

    Wide Horizons has seen that building long-term relationships with schools not only reduces the cost to parents, but helps raise attainment levels back in the classroom.

    Mick Waters, QCA’s Director of Curriculum said, “If you want to increase attendance, improve behaviour and raise achievement, get kids out of the classroom.”

    These sentiments are also supported by Ofsted, “When planned and implemented well, learning outside the classroom contributed significantly to raising standards and improving pupils’ personal, social and emotional development.” OFSTED Learning Outside the Classroom Report 2008

    To find out more about Wide Horizons’ work with young people, or Adventure Learning Partnerships, please  get in touch with the Wide Horizons’ team on info@widehorizons.org.uk or call 020 8294 8160.

  • 400 London Children Experience Day of Adventure 21 August 2014  

    Happy Children - Cropped

    In July, 400 children from inner city London schools rounded off their school year with an unforgettable day of adventure at Bewl Water in Kent. The pupils, aged 10 and 11, completed a 5-mile walk around the reservoir and enjoyed a free ferry ride across the water itself.

    The Schools Adventure Challenge was sponsored by outdoor clothing company, Páramo, and waterproof product manufacturer, Nikwax. The event was part of the joint ‘First Adventure Days’ campaign between Wide Horizons, Páramo and Nikwax which aims to ensure that 10,000 children can experience their first ever adventure. Staff from Páramo and Nikwax volunteered at the event to help the day run smoothly.

    It was one of the hottest days of the year so far and each participating child had an incredibly positive attitude as they set out to complete the course in groups of six. Along the route, children were faced with ‘mystery challenges’ that were designed to build up pupils’ skills in communication and team work. These included challenges like sending a hula hoop round a circle of pupils without breaking hands or rolling a ball through sections of drainpipe into a bucket at the end of an obstacle course.

    IMG_5856After finishing the walk, children were awarded with a medal to celebrate their achievements. Many children had never walked this distance before, with one girl amazed that she’d walked the equivalent of the distance to her school (though she laughed when asked if she now planned to walk to school every day).

    Each school which took part in the event ran fundraising activities in the build up to the day, and were sponsored by friends and family for taking part. All of the money the children raised is set aside for the school to use on their pupil’s future adventures with Wide Horizons. This ensures that no pupil will miss out on experiencing life-changing outdoor adventures!

    Next year’s Schools Adventure Challenge for the South-East will be taking place on Thursday 2nd and Friday 3rd July. More information can be found on the Schools Adventure Challenge webpage, or contact the Wide Horizons Events Team on 0845 600 65 67.

  • Raising Educational Aspirations in Kent 31 July 2014  

    Ace - Girl Climbing

    The Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys have awarded a grant of over £9,000 from their Stepping Stones Programme, to help deliver Wide Horizons’ Skills for Future Success Project for 30 young people in Kent, who have been or are at risk of permanent exclusion from school.

    Working with North West Kent Alternative Provision Service, Wide Horizons’ will provide a seven day Adventure Learning Programme which is designed to improve young people’s chances of remaining in education, training or finding employment by improving their:

    • Team and leadership skills
    • Communication skills
    •  Resilience and determination
    • Self confidence and self esteem

    “Wide Horizons has a firm belief that children and young people should have access to adventures as part of their education and development. This is a great opportunity for the three organisations to work together to provide a progressive alternative for these young people, all delivered at our largest Adventure Centre – Wide Horizons Margaret McMillan House.”

    Ian McInnes, Deputy CEO at Wide Horizons 

    Royal Masonic

    The Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys is a charity funded by Freemasons which aims to relieve poverty and advance education for children and young people.

    North West Kent Alternative Provision Service (NWKAPS) is a cross phase pupil referral unit catering for children and young people between the ages of 5 and 18. The service covers a wide geographical area in North West Kent, has seven sites and caters for a maximum of 150 pupils at any one time accessing full time provision.

    The programme will be starting in September 2014, if you would like to hear more about the progress of the project please get in touch with Lynn Leadbeater on lynn.leadbeater@widehorizons.org.uk or call 020 8294 81 70.

  • £5 million investment for Lewisham’s largest park 21 July 2014  

    Beckenham Place House

    Lewisham Council have developed a vision to transform Beckenham Place Park into ‘one of London’s most outstanding areas of green space’ with the help of        £5 million Heritage Lottery funding.


    Beckenham Place Park is the largest green space in the borough of Lewisham, covering 96 hectares, with large areas of ancient woodland and a wildlife site.

    Sadly, use of this great park has been declining over a long period of time with reduced golfing numbers, lack of local interest in using the 16  football pitches available, and many derelict buildings making the park a cause for concern. This was accentuated by a recent arson attack on listed stables blocks in the centre of the park.

    A survey of the park’s usage confirmed the low numbers of visitors and also highlighted that there was little use by the younger generations of Lewisham. This is due to a lack of facilities in the park for young people, and the current dominance of a golf course in the park.

    Lewisham Council’s initial worry had been confirmed, and they recognised that the park had now become ‘irrelevant’ to most local people. Lewisham needed to effectively bring the park back to life to ensure the longevity of this great local resource, and to reconnect Beckenham Place Park, to the local community. This is a considerable feat for any local council. To ensure the success of the project partner organisations have been brought on board, including Wide Horizons.

    Wide Horizons is a leading charity provider of Adventure Learning in the UK, and has strong educational links in Lewisham working with over 97% of schools in the borough. Historically the charity’s eight outdoor centres were run by Lewisham, Greenwich and Walsall councils. The charity came into existence once continued budget cuts in outdoor education (estimated at a staggering 95%) left the three councils unable to continue managing the outdoor centres.

    “We plan to re-engage the young people of Lewisham, and the surrounding schools, with this amazing park by developing an Adventure Learning curriculum that will teach young people about rivers, habitats and the park’s local history.”

    Alex Brooks Johnson, Chief Executive of Wide Horizons

    Other partners for the park’s redevelopment include The Environment Agency and Phoenix Community Housing. Working together these organisations aim to bring the joys of ‘the great outdoors’ to some of Lewisham’s most excluded communities.

    This innovative programme has hopefully found a realistic solution to the ongoing problem of London’s diminishing green spaces.

    If you would like to find out more about the redevelopment of Beckenham Place Park, please get in touch with Wide Horizons on enquiries@widehorizons.org.uk or 020 8294 81 60.

  • Highland Adventure Gives Children Adventures of their Own 10 July 2014  

    Photo 14-07-2014 18 15 07 Cropped


    In July, 10 brave cyclists travelled across Scotland in just three short days. The 310-mile challenge was set against the stunning backdrop of the Scottish Highlands as cyclists went from Glasgow to Aberdeen – around 100 miles each day. Along the route they cycled through Cairngorms National Park, passed Balmoral Castle and saw an endless number of lochs!

    By taking on such an incredible challenge, each cyclist fundraised to allow disadvantaged children to experience their first outdoor adventure as part of Wide Horizons, Páramo and Nikwax’s “First Adventure Days”.Photo 13-07-2014 09 33 41 Cropped

    This is a campaign which aims to provide 10,000 children with their first adventure – getting them out in to the fresh air and teaching them about the surrounding world. Adventure can be a life-changing experience for a disadvantaged child; whether that’s by helping them to understand a school subject, conquer a fear, learn to work as part of a team or simply grow in confidence. Children’s charity, Wide Horizons, already provides these unforgettable experiences for over 34,000 children every year – from abseiling in Kent to kayaking in North Wales.

    More than a third of children living in London today have never been to the countryside. There are children in the capital who have never seen a cow, have never been to the seaside and who don’t know where vegetables come from.  With 4 in 10 children in London living in poverty, most will never have these simple experiences that we often take for granted.

    Neil Munro, Fundraising Manager at Wide Horizons, organised the Scottish cycle and commented on the immense challenge that the 10 cyclists took on:

    “it was possibly the best three days cycle I’ve ever had on a bike, as the views were absolutely incredible, but it was also the worst three days on a bike I’ve ever had as some of the climbs were very steep!”

    Neil completed the challenge in Páramo’s Fuera Ascent Windproof Jacket – he says he wouldn’t have chosen anything else to keep him warm and dry during each 100-mile stint of the challenge;

    “The jacket was brilliant. It was really easy to cycle in as it was so lightweight and was really breathable to wear for the entire three days of riding.”

    So far, the 10 cyclists have raised more than £4200 – enough to provide more than 150 children with their first ever adventure. The hope is that they can raise enough funds for 200 children. Just £27 is enough to give a child their first taste of the outdoors. If you think you can help them reach this goal then go to: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/highlandfirstadventure to sponsor the team.

  • VINCI Facilities Collaborates with Barking & Dagenham College to Renovate Wide Horizons Margaret McMillan House 08 July 2014  

    This May VINCI Facilities joined forces with Barking & Dagenham College to embark on a social value project, at Wide Horizons Margaret McMillan House.

    The students donated 300hrs of time to the project, with hands on training from VINCI staff to refurbish a whole kitchen area at Wide Horizons Margaret McMillan House, a residential centre for children and young people.

    “I’m enjoying it! Learning how it is in a real work environment, with other trades around you. Everyone’s helping each other, and the teachers are really good.”

    Charlotte Weir, Painting & Decorating Student at Barking & Dagenham College.

    This project gave pupils experience in a real working environment, outside of the college. The collaboration provided great work experience for the students, and also ensures the future of Wide Horizons Margaret McMillan House for the 1000’s of young people that use the residential centre every year.

    “VINCI has kindly helped us out with the maintenance and renovation of the centre; commercially it would have cost us a huge amount of money to do that. It is great to have a company to come in and support us, so that the facilities are better for all the young people that visit.”

    Niall Leyden, Assistant Director of Adventure Learning at Wide Horizons.

  • Schools Visits Improve Writing Quality 08 July 2014  

    In 2013, over 85,000 young people leaving primary school had failed to achieve a Level 4 or above in writing. Level 4 is the expected level of attainment before advancing into Secondary Education.

    The Education Endowment Foundation recently released a report on the effect memorable school visits can have on pupils in Year 6, who did not reach Level 4 in English, as they progress in to Year 7. The aim of the project was to improve writing skills during the transition period in to secondary school.

    The study was based on research carried out in North America, whereby children used a memorable experience as a catalyst for their writing skills. Such experiences included days out in the countryside, historical visits to castles and trips to the zoo.

    The trial was undertaken by 800 pupils from both primary and secondary schools, with the Education Endowment Foundation finding “The approach had a strong positive effect on the writing outcomes of low attaining pupils at the transition from primary to secondary school…”

    The results saw a staggering increase in attainment levels:

    • Writing age increased by an average of 9 months compared to the Control Group
    • Writing age increased by an average of 18 months for those on Free School Meals

    Alex Brooks-Johnson, Chief Executive at Wide Horizons, commented, “Many schools use their time at Wide Horizons to improve the writing skills of their class. Inspirational outdoor settings are great for encouraging pupils to write creatively about a new experience”.

    Wide Horizons, The Adventure Learning Charity, operates eight Adventure Centres, where children can experience memorable school visits in the outdoors.

    Alex Brooks- Johnson added, “We work with 34,000 children every year and I’ve seen first-hand how direct experiences are the most memorable. The Education Endowment Foundation research proves that these experiences are vital for raising attainment back in the classroom.”

    Wide Horizons runs educational ‘Booster Camps’ for schools which aim to improve writing skills. If you would like to find out more about how the charity could run a bespoke programme to help raise your pupils’ attainment get in touch on 020 8294 81 60 or email enquiries@widehorizons.org.uk.

  • Using the PE and Sport Premium for Primary Schools 07 July 2014  

    Are you maximising your PE and Sports Premium?

    The sports funding has now been extended to the academic years 2014/2015, with the potential for every state funded primary school to receive an additional £8,000 lump sum, to improve their provision of PE and Sport.

    Knowing how to maximise this funding for your school, can be tricky. Wide Horizons have developed a great new guide on ‘Using the PE and Sport Premium for Primary Schools’.

    How can I use my funding at a Wide Horizons Adventure Centre?

    • Residential Visit
    • Day Visit
    • Outreach

    To find out more about maximising your funding with Wide Horizons get in touch on enquiries@widehorizons.org.uk or call 020 8294 81 60.

  • First Ever Nightline Challenge a Huge Success 24 June 2014  


    See more pictures from the night here.

    On Saturday, more than 100 people walked in Wide Horizons’ first ever Nightline challenge. This was a spectacular 50km walk through the night starting at Wide Horizons Environment Centre in Eltham, South-East London, and finishing at Wide Horizons Margaret McMillan House in Kent.

    Walkers took on this incredible challenge to raise funds for Wide Horizons, so that we can provide more disadvantaged children with life-changing adventures. So far the event has raised over £14,000 for the work of Wide Horizons. Wide Horizons’ Chief Executive, Alex Brooks-Johnson, was amongst those taking part:

    “We are delighted that so many people turned out to take this challenge on, taking part in their very own adventure and raising funds to provide children with their very own adventures.  It was a tough, but immensely enjoyable, night and I only got through it myself because of the contagious adventurous spirit of people that I met along the route.  With the funds raised through Nightline, we will now be able to provide more affordable days of adventure for thousands of children that could potentially change their lives.”

    Nightline Walkers

    The walk took in some of the most famous trails in South-East London including the Green Chain Link, London Loop, Darent Valley Path and North Downs Way. Along the route were famous London and Kent landmarks including Five Arches Bridge, Lullingstone Castle and Charlton Athletic training ground.

    Andy Mathieson, Head Teacher at Kelvin Grove Primary school in Sydenham, took part in Nightline with three other teachers from the school:

    “We had a fantastic night – a great adventure and one that drew on all our reserves. Wide Horizons are a fantastic charity and we all agreed that the walk was brilliantly organised. We hope more can join us next year for what we hope will become an annual event.”

    More pictures from the night can be found on the Wide Horizons Facebook page. For more information about Nightline, or the work of Wide Horizons email events@widehorizons.org.uk or call 0845 600 65 67.

  • The Adventure Learning Charity 05 June 2014  

    Introducing Wide Horizons The Adventure Learning Charity

    At the heart of every great charity is a great brand.

    Wide Horizons are excited to unveil our new brand, reflective of the work we do with 34,000 young people every year.

    The compass symbolises the core of our work Adventure and Learning. Adventure is in our hearts, our heritage and our history. This is the driving force behind our work. Using the outdoors we give every child hope for a better future; whether that’s helping them to understand a school subject, overcome a challenge, work as a team, or grow in confidence.

    With the new brand come some big changes. Here are a few:

    The Split
    We are now Wide Horizons instead of Wide Horizons.

    The Strap Line
    The Adventure Learning Charity

    The Compass
    Symbolises the core of our work

    If you would like to find out more about Wide Horizons new brand, please get in touch with the Marketing Team by emailing  nicola.mcgerty@widehorizons.org.uk or calling 020 8294 8165.

  • 35% of children have never been to the countryside 15 May 2014  

    35% of Children have never been to the countryside

    More than a third of London’s children have never been to the countryside.[i] This, paired with dramatically reduced access to educational visits for school children[ii], is causing concern about children’s futures due to the reduced connection to nature and the multitude of benefits associated with the outdoors.

    Adventure Learning charity, Wide Horizons, has recently conducted a survey of over 2000 school children, where a shocking 35% stated that they had never had the simple pleasure of visiting the countryside. Wide Horizons’ CEO, Alex Brooks-Johnson, commented “We had heard several reports about the statistics on this so decided to survey for ourselves.  The results are worrying as engaging a child at a young age with the environment is absolutely critical to their education and development. Playing and learning outdoors can teach children and young people so much about the world they live in and themselves”.

    Guardian writer and environmental campaigner, George Monbiot, had the opportunity to see first-hand the impact that outdoor learning can have on a child when he spent two days working with Wide Horizons at one of their Adventure Learning Centres in Wales. He said, “We paddled in a stream, rolled down a hill, ate blackberries, tasted mushrooms, had helicopter races with sycamore keys, explored an ants’ nest, broke sticks and collected acorns. Most had never done any of these things before, but they needed no encouragement: the exhilaration with which they explored the living world seemed instinctive. I realised just how little contact they’d had when I discovered that none of them had seen a nettle or knew what happens if you touch it.”[iv]A plethora of recent studies have shown the extensive benefits learning in an outdoor environment has for children: ‘outdoor learning activities, such as those that take place in school gardens, local parks, farm visits and residential centres, help make core subjects rich and relevant and get students excited about learning.’[iii]

    If you would like to find out more about Wide Horizons’ work with young people, or would like to help the charity reduce the number of children that have never been to the countryside, please contact the Wide Horizons’ Team on info@widehorizons.org.uk or call 020 8294 8160.

    [i] Wide Horizons Adventure Learning Charity. March 2014. ‘Have you ever been to the Countryside Survey’. (2,175 schoolchildren throughout the UK).

    [ii] British Youth Council, Child Poverty Action Group, Kids Company, National Union of Teachers. April 2014. The Costs of Going to School, from Young People’s Perspectives. http://www.cpag.org.uk/sites/default/files/The%20Costs%20of%20Going%20to%20School%20FINAL.pdf

    [iii] Kings College, London. April 2011. Understanding the diverse benefits of learning in natural environments. Commissioned by Natural England.


    [iv] George Monbiot. October 2013.Rewild the Child. http://www.monbiot.com/2013/10/07/rewild-the-child/

  • Nick Clegg hears about Adventure Learning 28 March 2014  

    Alex Meets Nick Clegg

    Wide Horizons Chief Executive Alex Brooks-Johnson was delighted to speak with Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg at an event in Blackheath this week.

    Nick Clegg was impressed by Wide Horizons work with 34,000 children and young people in the UK, with particular interest in the charity’s Adventure Learning programmes with schools.

    Although they only had a few minutes together, Alex talked about the innovative Adventure Learning Partnerships scheme launched this year which enables children and schools who might otherwise not be able to afford it, the chance to experience the benefits of adventure.

    We are delighted to be working with Wide Horizons as an Adventure Learning Partner. Our pupils benefit from Adventure Learning in so many ways as we are able to introduce them to an environment they have never experienced before, bring the Curriculum to life in a practical way, and at the same time strengthen relationships with their peers and build their self-esteem.”

    Head teacher at Turnham Primary School in Lewisham, Louise Salewski

    Wide Horizons have been invited to continue discussions on the benefits of Adventure Learning with Nick Clegg’s advisors. If you would like to get in touch with Wide Horizons CEO Alex Brooks-Johnson to further discuss Adventure Learning programmes please get in touch on 0845 600 65 67 or email alex.brooks-johnson@widehorizons.org.uk.

  • Join News Shopper and Wide Horizons on Nightline 19 February 2014  


    Wide Horizons are proud to be launching our partnership with News Shopper today to give residents of Lewisham, Greenwich, Bromley, Bexley, and North Kent the opportunity to take part in our fantastic Nightline Adventure!

    Today’s article in the News Shopper gives readers the chance to see the sun set in London and then rise again in Kent all on Saturday 21st June. The event will raise money for local children and young people to experience adventure.

    Nightline is a 50km walk starting at Wide Horizons Environment Centre in Eltham, and finishing with a hot breakfast at Wide Horizons Margaret McMillan House in Wrotham.

    Participants will get to walk some of the most spectacular trails in the South-East including the Green Chain Link, London Loop, Darent Valley Path, and North Downs Way. For those who don’t wish to walk the full 50km, there is also the option to complete a half route of just 25km.

    By taking part in Nightline, participants will raise funds for Wide Horizons to provide more children and young people with life-changing adventures. Using the outdoors we give every child hope for a better future; whether that’s helping them to understand a school subject, overcome a challenge, learn to work as a part of a team, or simply grow in confidence.

    Those who sign up before Friday 28th February will be in with the chance of winning 1 of 10 pairs of stylish, top-quality walking shoes from our supporter Merrell.

    For more information, check out the Nightline webpage or get in touch with the Wide Horizons Events Team on 0845 600 65 67 or by emailing events@widehorizons.org.uk.

  • Free February Half Term Activities 24 January 2014  

    Monday 17th February– Tuesday 18th February 2014


    Wide Horizons Environment Centre

    Eltham, London


    Are your children looking for an adventure this half term? 

    Join us for an exciting two days of outdoor activities at our nine acre wildlife site, conveniently located in London.

    Here is all the great outdoor programmes we will have on offer;



    Monday 17th February

    Bear & Bug Hunt |3-7yrs|10.00-12.00 Bring your bear on an adventure! Come on a Bear Hunt before exploring the ponds a minibeast areas for signs of winter life in our beautiful environmental site.
    Nature Explorers & Artists | All Ages/Families | 2.00-3.30 Play nature games, explore our woods with a scavenger hunt and create some wonderful art using natural materials and clay.

    Tuesday 18th February

    Winter Sprites & Wands | 3-6yrs | 10.00-12.00 Explore the magical woodland here at the Environment Centre, share a story, take a habitat walk and make a winter wishing wand or winter sprite using natural materials. 
    Woodland Adventure 6-11yrs|1.30 -4.00 Venture into our woods and learn how to shelter build and cook over a camp fire. (Bring your own sausages & marshmallow).

    All sessions are free! Please book in advance to avoid disappointment, by contacting;

    Wide Horizons Outdoor Education Trust

    77 Bexley Road, London, SE9 2PE

    0208 294 8177


    Children under 7 to be accompanied by an adult. We only have a maximum of 30 children per sessions, so please ensure to book ahead.

  • House of Lords Event: #ALPsLaunch 16 January 2014  

    House of Lords Speakers

    Wide Horizons are excited to have launched our brand new initiative Adventure Learning Partnerships at the House of Lords last night! #ALPsLaunch

    View Images From The Night Here


    With over 80% of people living in urban areas , spending most of their lives on concrete and tarmac and 40% of children living poverty in London  alone – it’s time to take action!

    The benefit of an adventure to these children can be life changing. BUT, the cost of an adventure for parents and schools can be a challenge.

    That is where Adventure Learning Partnerships come in to play………….

    We work with schools to;

    • Design a bespoke programme of Adventure Learning that will work for their children and curriculum
    • Help provide funds for their programmes, ensuring that every child has the opportunity to experience an adventure.


    Find out more about Adventure Learning Partnerships and how you can get involved.

  • New Adventure Trail at Wide Horizons Townsend Centre 02 January 2014  

    Big Lottery FundA grant of £9,804 from The Big Lottery Fund Awards for All  matched with donations from The Bournemouth Rotary Club, The Rank Foundation and a generous individual has enabled the team at Wide Horizons Townsend Centre to build a new children’s play area.  The Adventure Trail will provide increased play and physical activities for the 4000 children who visit this iconic centre every year, located on the Jurassic Coast in Dorset.

    Children from South Rise Primary School in Greenwich officially declared the Trail open.

    Adventure Trail- South Rise Primary

    ” My Club has supported Wide Horizons Townsend Centre for a number of years now, and is delighted to make a donation towards the Adventure Trail, which we know, will bring pleasure to a great number of children”.

    Past President Keith Adams of Bournemouth Rotary 

  • The Screwfix Foundation Light Up Wide Horizons Environment Centre 09 December 2013  

    Wide Horizons Environment Centre is happy to receive a £1,750 grant from The Screwfix Foundation, to help improve lighting facilities at the Centre for the 10,000 children that use the site every year.

    Ian and Manager at ScrewfixWide Horizons Environment Centre works with children from across London to provide powerful Adventure Learning experiences at our unique nine acre wildlife site in Greenwich.

    “We are so grateful to The Screwfix Foundation for donating these essential funds to Wide Horizons. Anything that improves the experience of our visitors is extremely important to us. We’d like to thank all those who were involved in the fundraising, as the improvements will make a real difference to the children who come to the centre.”

    Ian McInnes, Director of Development at Wide Horizons

    The Screwfix Foundation is a new charity set up by Screwfix in 2013. They have a clear purpose of raising funds to support projects that will fix, repair, maintain and improve properties and community facilities specifically for those in need in the UK.

    “We’re really pleased that one of our local charities has been awarded funding by The Screwfix Foundation….. It’s fantastic to see the money we have raised being injected back into the community in Lewisham.”

    Chris, Manager of the Screwfix store in Lewisham

    To learn more about The Screwfix Foundation grant please get in touch with Lynn Leadbeater on lynn.leadbeater@widehroizons.org.uk.


  • Quiz Night with Sainsbury's Forest Hill 14 November 2013  

    Quiz Night News Banner

    On Wednesday 20th November, Wide Horizons and Sainsbury’s Forest Hill will be putting their general knowledge to the test in our fantastic quiz night!

    The quiz is being held at local pub, The Sylvan Post, in Forest Hill where eager eggheads and brilliant brainboxes will be competing in teams to be crowned Wide Horizons’ Quiz Champions!

    The quiz will start at 8pm, and entry is £2 per person. Money raised from the night will go towards the work of Wide Horizons providing Adventure Learning for children and young people who couldn’t otherwise afford it.

    If you fancy a great night in Forest Hill with friends, then come along to The Sylvan Post for 8pm on Wednesday 20th November.

    For more information call 0845 600 65 67 or email ceri.rhoades@widehorizons.org.uk.

  • Halloween with Wide Horizons and Sainsbury's Forest Hill 25 October 2013  

    Halloween Picture

    Come along to Sainsbury’s Forest Hill on Thursday 31st October 2014 for some spookily spectacular Halloween activities!

    Wide Horizons will be running ‘frighteningly’ fabulous activities including adventure apple bobbing and a creepy colouring competition in Sainsbury’s Forest Hill store.

    This is just one of many in store events that Wide Horizons will be doing as part of our Local Charity of the Year partnership with Sainsbury’s Forest Hill. Sainsbury’s and Wide Horizons have teamed up to raise money for children, who otherwise couldn’t afford it, to experience adventure.

    Wide Horizons have a long-standing history with the local residents of Forest Hill, working closely with Forest Hill schools to provide adventurous experiences to young people through our outreach work in the community and our seven outdoor centres across the UK.

    So come along to Sainsbury’s Forest Hill from 11am on Thursday 31st October 2014 to enjoy some Halloween-themed fun (if you dare……!)

    To find out more information contact us on 0845 600 65 67 or email ceri.rhoades@widehorizons.org.uk.

  • Project Wild Thing 22 October 2013  

    We are happy to announce, on Sunday 27th October 2013, we will be hosting the screening of the short film Project Wild Thing.

    Bring the whole family down to Greenwich Picture House at 3.30pm to watch the film and then get involved with a debate about Childhood led by Wide Horizons’ Director of Outdoor Education, Mike Penny.

    What is Project Wild Thing?

    PWT Original

    Project Wild Thing is a film led movement to get more children (and their parents!) outside and reconnecting with nature. The film is an ambitious, feature-length documentary that takes a funny and revealing look at a complex issue, the increasingly disparate connection between children and nature.

    Project Wild Thing is much more than a film, this is a growing movement of organisations and individuals who care deeply about the need for nature connected, free-range, roaming and outdoor playing children in the 21st century.

    British children have never been more disconnected from the natural world. The roaming distance that children play from their home has shrunk by 90% in 30 years, with time playing outside down 50% in just one generation. At the same time study after study shows time spent outside in nature increases happiness, health and well-being in children (and adults too).

    Get involved!

    We are very pleased to be involved with this project, and we would absolutely love to see you there.

    It will be a wonderful opportunity for you to be a part of a movement which allows children to connect with the environment and their natural surroundings.

    Join the Movement

    Book tickets for the Film

    For more information about Wide Horizons & Project Wild Thing please contact us using the link below.

    Get in touch

  • Writer George Monbiot becomes an Adventure Learning tutor for the week 03 October 2013  

    Writer and environmental campaigner George Monbiot has spent two days working with Adventure Learning specialists Wide Horizons at one of their residential Adventure Learning centres in Wales. Wide Horizons Tyn Y Berth, welcomed George Monbiot to lead Adventure Learning sessions for primary school children from Greenwich, London.

    The year 6 children from Notre Dame Primary School in Greenwich were on an Adventure Learning residential based out of Wide Horizons Ty’n Y Berth, a specialist provider of Adventure Learning programmes linking adventure to the curriculum. The group’s first day with George was spent taking part in some rock climbing and abseiling on a sea cliff and cave in North Wales. George was working with smaller groups looking at homes and habitats in rock pools close by. The children found Hermit crabs and even tried eating live prawns that they had found. The second day saw George walking with some of the children in the Llyfnant valley, a remote spot with plenty of history, just outside Machynlleth.

    George at Ty'n y Berth

    When asked how he had found working with Wide Horizons, George commented, “This has been an amazing experience, one that I feel very lucky to have a part of. Watching the children become more and more engaged with places that I have been visiting for years, gave me the chance to see them through fresh eyes. Standing back and watching these kids from Greenwich run around and enjoy the wild natural environment was something that will stay with me for a long time.”

    Child on George's visit to Ty'n y Berth

    Wide Horizons CEO, Alex Brooks-Johnson, said “We are really excited about George’s enthusiasm for our work, and are pleased that he has chosen to support us. Through his extensive knowledge and passion for the environment, he will be able to help us make a positive difference to the lives of many children. We look forward to a continuing relationship with George as a real ambassador for adventure learning .”

    George at Ty'n y Berth 2

    Adventure Learning is an important part of a child’s education, enabling young people to connect with the world around them whilst developing a deeper understanding of themselves and others. Wide Horizons run seven Adventure Learning centres throughout England and Wales and provide adventure learning for over 34,000 children and young people every year.


  • British Cycling Approved MTB Centre 09 July 2013  

    Nics Catch The Sun 2012 079Wide Horizons Bryntysilio Centre has become one of the first Adventure Centres in the UK to become a British Cycling Approved MTB centre.

    The centre was proud to be awarded as a British Cycling Approved Centre, through our highly skilled staff team who hold mountain biking leader qualifications.


    The centre can lead your group  on some thrilling purpose built trails at Coed Llandegla, one of the finest mountain biking routes in Europe! Students will be taught basic off-road biking techniques, encouraging confidence on the trail and allowing groups to take in the beautiful surrounding scenery.

    Mountain Biking can fit in perfectly as an adventurous activity for your GCSE PE Specification and the centre team can access your groups  practical performance for your exam syllabus.

    If you would like to find out more about Mountain Biking at Wide Horizons Bryntysilio Centre  please get in touch with Barbara Raybould on barbara.raybould@widehorizons.org.uk or 01978 860 454.


  • Birthday Parties 08 July 2013  

    037_Wide Horizons Open Day 2013 037 - croppedCelebrate your child’s birthday at Wide Horizons Environment Centre with up to 20 friends! We have a number of different birthday parties for you to choose from:

    Come with us on a magical adventure to look for fairies and elves! Children create their very own magic wand and build gardens for the fairies to hide in. Join us at base camp to build a woodland shelter and camp fire! Bring along your own sausages to cook and marshmallows to toast!

    Create a new superhero at our Supermini Beasts party! Children hunt for minibeasts amongst the leaves and then make their own mini creature with superhuman powers!

    For budding artists, join us to create amazing works of art, birthday cards, animal nests, fluffy chicks, and more all from natural items found around the centre!

    Our birthday parties last around 2 ½ hours and are suitable from three years up to ten years. They include led-activities, and the use of our site and one of our indoor classrooms. Catering is not included.

    Any birthday parties that take place before September 2013 will receive a 25% discount!

    Get in touch with the centre on environment@widehorizons.org.uk or 020 8850 1760 to book your birthday party today!

  • Free Coach Booking Service 24 June 2013  

    We are very pleased to offer a reduced rate on coach services to and from Wide Horizons Margaret McMillan House, Wide Horizons Horton Kirby Centre and Wide Horizons Environment Centre with The Kings Ferry. This local company have been providing coach and travel services to Wide Horizons for several years and we are able to offer fantastic rates for you to take advantage of.

    Centre SE London School Pick -Up Time Centre Pick Up Time Cost (exc VAT)
    Wide Horizons Margaret McMillan House, Kent 9.30am/ 10.00am 1.30pm/2.00pm £180
    Wide Horizons Horton Kirby Centre, Kent 9.30am 2.30am £165
    Wide Horizons Environment Centre, London 9.30am/10.00am 1.30pm/2.00pm £165


    For schools located outside of South East London, Bexley Bromley & dartford or looking for alternatives times of travel then please contact the centre to get a quote. Please note that this service is subject to availability and in the event that there is a coach breakdown or other significant delay then The Kings Ferry will provide another coach to fulfil the booking. Wide Horizons provide this booking service in order to allow schools to take advantage of these rates and any booking agreements would be between the school and The Kings Ferry.

    Get in touch with the Centre today to organise your Free Coach Booking Service.

  • Duke of Edinburgh Expeditions 24 June 2013  

    DofE AAP

    Nestling at the foot of Cadair Idris and close to the Dyfi and Mawddach Estuaries, Wide Horizons Ty’n y Berth and Bryn Coedwig Centres our fantastic locations from which to run expeditions and explorations at Bronze, Silver and Gold levels.

    The coastal and estuary paths offer inspiring routes for Bronze level routes. The hills and open valley above the seaside town of Tywyn provide a feeling of remoteness for Silver, and the ridges of Cadair Idris and the Rhinogau present participants with challenging Gold routes.

    Our Duke of Edinburgh Packages start from just £150 per pupil.

  • Winter Term Discounts 24 June 2013  

    We still have a few weeks available that we are offering at a 10% discounted rate to our schools.

    Wide Horizons has two mountain centres on the edge of Snowdonia National Park Wide Horizons  Ty’ n y Berth Centre and Wide Horizons Bryn Coedwig Centre  which offer a range of adventurous activities including mine exploration, climbing, canoeing and gorge walking.

    Book your course before the end of Autumn term 2013 to claim any of the discounted dates below  for your group.

    We can offer a full range of Adventure Learning courses from primary up to A-level, linked in with your curriculum needs or extracurricular options including personal development courses, or Duke of Edinburgh award expeditions.

    If you are looking for a shorter residential, all of these dates can be offered as a three or four day visit.

    10% discount on the following dates;

    Monday 9th – Friday 13th


    All Dates

  • River Thames - Source to Sea 2013 12 June 2013  

    Kevin and eight year old daughter Lauren have embarked on a 235 mile kayak adventure down the whole of the river Thames, from its source in the Cotswolds to the Thames estuary near Sheerness Kent.

    The father and daughter team have taken on this challenge to help raise funds for Wide Horizons, helping many more children to experience an adventure of their own which otherwise they could not afford.

    Source to Sea


    Along the way, they will be posting on their blog including exciting tales of their adventures so far and useful information for schools on the river processes and survival skills they encounter on route. Helping children to learn in a new and exciting way.

    You can track us along the route, to keep up to date with our latest progress.

  • Henwick Primary School Abseil 06 June 2013  

    Henwick staff and pupils have been enjoying the benefits of becoming one of Wide Horizons Adventure Learning Partners. Wide Horizons worked with the school to organise their own sponsored abseil down the school building, the children had a fantastic time and raised nearly £3000, which has helped fund a trip for 34 children to enjoy a week of adventure with Wide Horizons Townsend Centre!

    Boy Descending Henwick School

    If you think that your school could benefit from becoming an Adventure Learning Partner with Wide Horizons contact Georgia Harris, our Adventure Learning Coordinator on  alps@widehorizons.org.uk or 020 8850 1581.

  • New Programme of Activities 03 May 2013  

    We are excited to let you know about our new programme packed full of adventure activities for schools this term.

    Throughout the programme you will find lots of great courses that you can link in with your curriculum to help bring classroom based learning to life, whether you’re looking to learn about plants by exploring our nine acre wildlife site, or discover the seasons through nest building and pond dipping.

    To book get in touch with Tracy McDougall our Centre Administrator on 020 8850 2615 or environment@widehorizons.org.uk.

  • Golden Welly Award 24 April 2013  

    Do your pupils need a little incentive to get things done sometimes?

    A new Wide Horizons Townsend Centre Award scheme has just been put in place to encourage pupils to keep their rooms and the centre tidy.  For many children, part of the learning experience is about being away from home, sometimes for the first time. This award helps children learn independence whilst staying with the Centre.

    Golden WellyRooms will be checked throughout the week, points and certificates awarded for particularly good rooms. An award and prize will be sent to the highest scoring school each term!

    To find out your position on the leader board please get in touch with Louise Hesketh our Centre Administrator on louise.hesketh@widehorizons.org.uk or 01929 422 448.

  • School Sport Funding 17 April 2013  

    The Government is providing funding of £150 million per annum for academic years 2013/14 and 2014/15 to provide new, substantial primary school sport funding.

    Did you know you can use this funding to support your trip to a Wide Horizons Centre?

    New Primary School Sport Funding Policy

    Schools will have to spend the sport funding on improving their provision of PE and sport, but they will have the freedom to choose how they do this. In the new draft PE Curriculum Outdoor Education features heavily as a requirement in the primary programme, stating;

    “Pupils should take part in outdoor and adventurous activity challenges both individually and within a team.”

    PE Draft Curriculum, 2013

    This is supported by Ofsted’s updated framework for school inspectors which emphasises the importance of sport throughout the report.

    How much funding will my school receive?

    • All schools with 17 or more primary-aged pupils will receive a lump sum of £8000 plus a premium of £5 per pupil.
    • Smaller schools will receive £500 per pupil

    If you would like to find out more about how you can use you’re funding to support an educational day visit or an adventure residential with Wide Horizons, please get in touch on info@widehorizons.org.uk.


  • Grade II listed 17th Century Barn kept open by The CEMEX Community Fund 12 April 2013  

    Wide Horizons Margaret McMillan House
    received a grant of over £10,000 from The CEMEX Community Fund to renovate their Grade II listed 17th Century barn.

    The renovation project will allow the 6,500 children, young people and adults who visit the centre every year to continue enjoying activities in the barn such as archery, team building and adventure games. The restoration will also ensure that a building of architectural and historical importance can continue to be accessible to children and the community to enjoy and learn in.

    The CEMEX Community Fund is a dedicated grant resource for enabling and assisting communities local to CEMEX quarry and landfill sites to carry out projects which improve or enhance local community facilities and places of interest.

    To learn more about the renovation project at the barn please get in touch with Lynn Leadbeater on lynn.leadbeater@widehroizons.org.uk.

    CEMEX comm fund

  • New Lease of Life for 'Wilko' Dorm 20 February 2013  

    Wide Horizons and L&Q, one of the largest housing associations in the country, have joined forces with a number of building companies to help renovate Wide Horizons Margaret McMillan House, our residential centre in Kent.

    The dorm is being named ‘Wilko’ after Keith Wilkinson, an L&Q Director and valued supporter of Wide Horizons who sadly passed away last year.

    I am very proud that L&Q has been part of this great project and want to thank all of the project partners for their help throughout – they have made it a reality and delivered this modern new facility for Margaret McMillan House and Wide Horizons.” Adding, We hope the new dorm will be enjoyed by future generations as more and more school children experience the great adventure learning that Wide Horizons offer. This is a fitting way to remember our late colleague, Keith Wilkinson, Assistant Director of Stock Investment at L & Q, who, like L&Q was passionate about making a difference for local families.”

    David Montague, Chief Executive at L&Q.

    Cutting The Ribbon

    The dorm will be used by thousands of children as they experience life-changing adventures at the centre.

    Read the full story

    View the Album

  • Sainsbury's Forest Hill Raise £690 at Half way Point 12 February 2013  

    Sainsbury’s Forest Hill have reached the half-way stage into their year-long partnership with Wide Horizons and thanks to the support of the Forest Hill community, the partnership has achieved great success so far raising £690 for the charity.

    Sainsbury's Cheque

     “When our customers helped us to select Wide Horizons as our new Local Charity Partner, we knew this was a charity that would really capture the hearts and minds of our colleagues. We’ve now held several fundraising activities and we’re working to ensure the second half of our partnership will support the charity further”.

    Mike Miller, Store Manager at Sainsbury’s Forest hill.

    Find out more about the partnership and our future events here.


  • London 2012 Gold Medalist talks to Wide Horizons Children 22 October 2012  

    On Monday 15th October 2012, Mickey Bushell a Paralympic gold medalist gave an inspirational talk to a group of local Walsall children at the Wide Horizons Bryntysilio Outdoor Centre. Mickey is the current world record holder for the Men’s T53 100m and stormed the competition in the London Games, gaining Britain’s 19th gold medal in the men’s T53 100metres.

    Mickey Bushell

    Mickey was born with a rare disease that meant he had no stomach muscle control, missing vertebrae and under developed legs. Doctors were unsure if Mickey would ever have the ability to move by himself, however at the age of three Mickey defied all odds and was crawling, climbing and even attempting handstands.

    Mickey’s remarkable abilities were spotted on an adventure trip in Wales where Wide Horizons Head of Centre, Anthea Cooper, spent some time climbing with Mickey and was amazed at his climbing ability.

    To contact Wide Horizons or find out about how adventure changes lives, contact 020 8850 1581.


  • Your Adventure 12 July 2012  

    Supporting Our Young People

    Your Adventure is an exciting new initiative created by Wide Horizons, enabling all children to reap the benefits of adventure with the help and support of the Your Adventure Team. Wide Horizons’ Director of Outdoor Education, Mike Penny discusses his first adventure and the importance of helping others find theirs.


    Mike Penny


    Find out more about Your Adventure by getting in touch with the Your Adventure Team.

  • Kate Middleton visits Wide Horizons Children 17 June 2012  

    The Duchess of Cambridge visited the Wide Horizons centre in conjunction with ARK schools, working together with disadvantaged children from inner city backgrounds. The Duchess had the opportunity to see first-hand the amazing impact of adventure, increasing team-building and communication skills, for children who had never visited the countryside before.

    Wide Horizons head of centre Niall Leyden guided the Duchess around the 26 acre site in Kent, trying her hand at shelter building and lighting a fire, commenting;

    “”Kate was really fabulous. She walked around and talked to all the children. She was very at home with all the woodland activities; I would have her as an instructor here any time.”

    Kate Middleton

    If you would like to find out more about the royal visit to Wide Horizons Margaret McMillan House, please get in touch.