Schoolchildren walking down a path

Shared stories

The Hive's (formally known as Suntrap) aim is to encourage our visitors to develop a strong sense of guardianship for Epping Forest, with an understanding, love and respect for the natural world. 

For some this has developed into a lifelong legacy and for others fond childhood memories. 

If The Hive has inspired you please share with us your story!   

  • Joyce Colder

    Patient at Suntrap Maternity Home 1944

    'As the bombing was a bit naughty I was advised to have my baby at Suntrap'. 

    Read Joyce's story
  • Sean Dingwall

    Pupil at Henry Maynard School

    Arriving on the school bus we nicknamed Goober (after the cartoon Goober and the Ghost Chasers).

    Read Sean's story
  • Ayse Rifat

    Award winning artist

    Then out of the blue came Suntrap!


    Read Ayse's story
  • Marnie Rose

    CEO The Garden Classroom

    These are some of my happiest childhood memories and inspired me to start The Garden Classroom a charity and social enterprise ..

    Read Marnie's story
  • Steve Harvey

    Executive Director at Groundwork Hertfordshire

    Activities involving compasses, maps and "talking bushes" (teachers springing out to point wayward kids in the right direction)!


    Read Steve's story
  • David Mills

    Waltham Forest teacher 1970's onwards

    "Wow!" on seeing a Great Diving Beetle to wails of anguish at losing a Wellie stuck in mud.

    Read David's story
  • Sally Hopper

    Employed at City of London Open Spaces

     “Oh,” she said, “they’re rabbit droppings”. I’d never seen them before and to me they looked rather like currants my Mum used at home for baking! 


    Read Sally's story
  • Sally Payling

    Teacher at Chingford Church of England Junior School 1990s

    ‘Imagine the scene…. Me and my Year 5 class strolling back to Suntrap after a busy afternoon in the forest.


    Read Sally's story
  • Wendy Gabriel

    Pupil at Connaught School in 1980's

    Little oasis of Suntrap, seeing a real-life owl and the stunned silence of the class when the bird almost completely rotated its head.


    Read Wendy's story
  • Brian Jenkin

    Pupil at Chase Lane Primary School

    That's me in the glasses: the wary look is probably because that bird gave me quite a peck on the nose once.


    Read Brian's story
  • Sarah Hicks

    Church Mead Junior, Leyton 1986

    Having to find our way around the forest from one point to another -how brave I felt.


    Read Sarah's story
  • Helen Watts

    Pupil at Chingford C of E School in '70's

    The mantra “take only pictures, leave only footprints, kill nothing but time” remains with me to this day. 

    Read Helen's story
  • Irene Buchan

    Suntrap teacher from 1972 - 1992

    The look of joy and concentration on the faces of partially sighted children from Joseph Clarke School as they climbed on and explored the trunk of a huge fallen oak.

    Read Irene's story
  • Si Hussain

    St Mary's C of E mid 1970s

    This was my very first trip away from home on my own. 

    Read Si's story
  • Hazel Mead

    Selwyn Primary/Chapel End Primary

    Memories such as moss on colder side of tree trunk means its north facing.


    Read Hazel's story
  • Gary French

    GTF Tree Care

    Going to Suntrap as a kid showed me another way of life and I'm grateful for the chance it gave me.

    Photo: Ken Hoy and class

    Read Gary's story
  • Gill Watts

    Waltham Forest teacher

    One time I wasn’t sure where we were in the forest and it looked as if we were heading in the wrong direction. So I asked my class ‘Who wants to lead us back?’   

    Read Gill's story