Alec Dunne, Founder

Alec Dunne, Founder

Growing up in the heart of the Wicklow Mountains I was lucky to have nature on my doorstep, behind my house were the open hills where the lark could be heard singing on warm spring days and the call of the grouse could be heard in the distance on the moors. Nearby to our house was a valley with beautiful oak woodlands and a river. Days were spent fishing for trout in streams, exploring the mountains until the sun set late on summers evenings often returning with mouth and lips stained purple from all the fraughan (Bilberry - wild blueberry) berries we would have eaten.

The forest near our house was filled with bluebells in early summer and hours were spent building dens, tree climbing and exploring. Growing up I was not really too interested in video or computer games, my world was what lay beyond the back door. When friends would come on play dates I would take them out to the different dens or base camps I had made in the forest.

Years later and after nearly six years working with children with intellectual disabilities in a residential care setting I found a flyer advertising a course to become a trained and qualified Forest School Leader, I knew instantly this was the next logical step in my life and left the comfort and security of a stable job and started training to become a qualified Forest School leader with a view to opening up my own business. Shortly after starting the course I got a job working for Coillte (the state owned forestry company) as a leader in their outdoor adventure club- Compass Club.

In 2017, I started to put together the pieces for starting The Forest Club, a suitable woodland site had to be found, Insurance policy, training & staffing had to be arranged and in August of the same year we started with our first summer camp which was a huge success and rolled on to our after school club, other camps, Forest school sessions ( for schools) and birthday parties.


  • Trained and qualified Forest School Leader- Level 3 OCN.

  • Certificates in Ecology, Permaculture, Sustainable Woodland Management.

  • Wilderness First Aid Certificate.

  • Over 10 year’s experience working with children and young people.

  • Garda vetted & fully insured.


Ideally located 5/10 minutes from Bray, Greystones, and the N11 and 20 minutes from the suburbs of South Dublin, The Forest Club has the use of a beautiful private 45 acre broadleaved woodland. The forest lies to the east of the little Sugarloaf Mountain.

It is said that nearly every tree species in Ireland can be found in this forest along with most of Ireland’s land mammal species including the red squirrel, pine martin, hare, deer, fox and badger and a host of native bird species.

The Forest Club base camp, where we run our camps, birthday parties and afterschool clubs is a 10 minute walk into the forest, it is set in a grove of ancient oaks and the forest floor is carpeted in bluebells and wild garlic in late spring and early summer. Most of our activities are run at base camp and the remainder of the forest for nature walks. Our base camp area is equipped with seating for up to 25 people around the campfire, swings, a hammock to chill out on, mud kitchen for creative play, and 1-3 tarpaulins for shade/shelter if needed.

The woodland is situated on the Belmont estate which is also a working farm and children may also have the opportunity to see horses, sheep and lambs before making our way in to the forest.

Please note that when we are not running a program this a private farm/estate and the entrance gates may be locked.

Directions and a link on google maps are provided at time of booking