What we do
At the end of an overgrown lane, set in 24 acres, Woodrow High House, once home to both Oliver Cromwell and Sir Francis Drake, is a splendid 17th century manor house.
Many of the young people who come here have never stayed outside of London before, let alone on their own country estate. Many have never seen the blackness of a night sky nor explored a wood in the evening. Youth workers and teachers often comment on the enclosed nature of the grounds allowing young people the freedom to play unsupervised – something they can’t do at school or in inner-London streets.
We provide residential courses – typically for schools during the week and youth clubs at weekends. We offer day courses for those who want to try out before committing to a residential. Woodrow is also home to Activenture, our pioneering disability initiative. Programmes are accessible all year round and designed to help young people to learn and develop.
On-site, there are outdoor activities including archery, map reading and orienteering, pond dipping, team exercises, ropes courses and a campfire. There are sporting options exploiting our astroturf pitch, swimming pool and sports hall. Plus, there’s a stage with sound and lighting and observatory.
Within the House, spacious drawing rooms allow for all-important group-based work, tackling the most pressing issues confronting young people. A key feature of Woodrow is the chance to combine challenging and enjoyable activities with opportunities for reflection and discussion.
Fifteen minutes beyond the M25 and served by Amersham station, 44 minutes out of London on the Metropolitan line, one of the attractions of Woodrow High House is its sheer ‘get-at-ability’. Young people can leave London after a full day at school or college and be unpacked and immersed in Woodrow by supper-time.
Groups who come to the House evaluate their stay with us. This feedback, together with recent interviews with Woodrow users, highlight the intimacy of Woodrow, the ‘family atmosphere’, the feeling that nothing is too much trouble and the reassurance of seeing familiar faces in the catering, housekeeping and instructing teams on return visits.
In sum, when we asked visiting groups, ‘Can you give a score from 1-10 to rate the value of a visit to Woodrow’, for London Youth member youth clubs the average score was 9.5, for schools 9 and across all 9.15.