What is bushcraft?
Bushcraft is the skills to live in the outdoors. This can include any or all of these activities:
- Shelter Building – Using a natural wood frame, covered with tarpaulins or natural thatching
- Fire lighting – Lighting a fire without matches using a spark or friction. Building and maintaining a cooking fire
- Cooking on a camp fire - From simple to complex meals using basic cooking equipment
- Preparing and cooking small game
- Using cutting tools – including bushcraft knives, bow saws and axes
- Making decorative items from wood and natural materials
- Building rope swings and bridges in the woods or over a stream
- Learning to navigate in woodland using a map and compass
- Complex team challenge
I have the use of some private woodland near Colchester and also near Clacton. I can also help you to negotiate the use of other woodland that may be nearer to you.
Bushcraft activities can be run throughout the year but are more challenging in the winter months. Depending on the nature of your group and what you want to achieve I can design a day for you. Click the links below or scroll down to read more about the options:
If you have woodland near you or are prepared to travel to woodland I can work with various sized groups. Using any of the activities listed above the children can develop ‘personal learning and thinking skills’ as they work together. Many activities can be linked to or enhance the curriculum. For example- the Rope Bridge Challenge covers friction and how to overcome it, mechanical advantage, pulleys, forces, tension and vectors as well as how knots work. If you have mature trees on your school site then this activity can be done there.
These are suitable for any age but are understandably popular among children. In a typical 3 hour session the children would work in teams to build shelters, learn fire lighting and build their own fire, cook a meal on a central fire, toast marsh mallows and have a short game.
Build your own shelters, cook a meal and sleep overnight in the woods. Wake up to the ‘dawn chorus’ and a cooked breakfast. Suitable for all ages. Young children need to be accompanied by a parent or guardian Mostly run from May to September but possible in the colder months for those who are suitably equipped.
A Therapeutic environment
Recent research has confirmed what many people have believed for centuries – that the natural environment can be therapeutic and healing, particularly for mental and emotional health. If you want to read academic papers on this click here
It is my experience that people with behavioural problems or mental health issues are usually far more relaxed when outdoors in the woods or open spaces, creating opportunities for openness, discussion and a ‘breathing space’ from the stress of normal life.
Corporate Events and Team Challenges
As a team leader or manager you may want to consider taking your team away for a day or two. A bushcraft experience can be a great ‘leveller’ and provide opportunities for team bonding and development. Depending on what outcomes you are looking for I can design an experience for your staff that will help to strengthen the team as they solve problems and face challenges together in a totally different environment to normal work. Briefing, reviewing and de-briefing would be part of the experience.
The bushcraft experience can be part of a wider challenge involving some travelling on
foot or by boat.
Family Bushcraft Days
These normally run in the Spring, Summer and Autumn. They are a great opportunity for parent/child bonding and for the whole family to work together. A shared experience where adults may be learning as much as the children, helping each other build shelters, light fires and cook food can be great fun and create wonderful memories.
Alternatively you can look at the bushcraft courses and events coming up:
See more on the courses page
Colchester Positive Activities for Young People
The young people I work with had a great time on your bush craft days,
Comments from young people, "awesome" "never cooked on an open fire before food tasted great" had a great time making a swing" "best day out ever, when can we do it again" "never been in a wood before thought it was going to be scary but it was amazing, James was really really good taught us how to do things safely"
Bush craft adventure day and overnight camp for grand parents and 6 teenage grandchildren.
Thank you for giving us such a lovely time in the wood last week. We have had very happy feed back from the children and their parents report that they went home to bed and stayed asleep for most of the day!
Essex County Council
Bushcraft Day for Tendring Youth Club
Just to say a big thank you for giving us the opportunity to hold this event last week - it was a great success.
We had eleven youngsters who all had a great time (as did the three adults!). James was great with them and they are now asking to do an over-night session. Thanks.
Bushcraft Day for a Princes' Trust Team in Colchester
Some comments from a few of the young people:
Tom - "A breath of fresh air, both literally and metaphorically. Safe through common sense rather than suffocating health & safety rules"
Stephen - "Exciting, fun, free and survival are just some words to describe this amazing day"
Matt - "I really enjoyed the day out. I learnt how to light and cook on a fire. Great experience for everyone"
Alex - "It was a great experience and great fun. An amazing day out "
Jade - "I had a really good day & learnt a lot. My favourite part was making our own fire"
Jacob - "Our day was fantastic. Basic survival is fantastic. One word for the whole day is superb?