Learn bushcraft

At Wildway Bushcraft, we firmly believe that that bushcraft is about more than just survival. Our wilderness living and bushcraft courses held in beautiful woodland on the Dorset/Hampshire border teach much more than how to build a shelter.

Our passionate and knowledgable instructors help you to develop a deep understanding of the woods, to respect nature and to know how best to use it to your advantage. We work with you to develop your skills so that living in the woods is not a matter of simply surviving, but thriving.  After all, a true student of bushcraft is never uneasy in the woods, why would they be? It is their natural environment.

Read on to learn more about a few of the bushcraft courses that we offer at Wildway Bushcraft

Sharpen your bushcraft axe

 

Foundation in Bushcraft Skills and Wilderness Living Course Level 2
– Weekend Bushcraft Course. (IOL Accredited Course).

This IOL Accredited Course covers all the basics of bushcraft and wilderness living. It is a great course for those who are just starting their bushcraft journey. Those who might be a little further along and just benefit from refining their skills will also take a lot from this course.

Shelter autumn

 

Foundation in Bushcraft Skills and Wilderness Living Level 2
– Assessment. (IOL Accredited Course)

Having completed your Level 2 course you have a chance to take your assessment. If you are successful in this assessment then you will be awarded the Foundation in Bushcraft Skills and Wilderness Living Course – Level 2. This course will be fully certified by Wildway Bushcraft. It is accredited with IOL. This will prove you have undertaken a professional and high standard course and assessment within the area of Bushcraft and Wilderness Living.

 

Intermediate Course

Our intermediate bushcraft course is aimed at those who want to take their skills to the next level. Running over a week, this course enables you to experience true wilderness living. Our highly skilled instructors will work with you on advanced bushcraft techniques and expand on your knowledge of traditional skills. 

friction fire lighting from Wildway bushcraft

 

Women Only One Day Course

This elementary bushcraft course enables women to learn, practice and perfect traditional bushcraft skills in a single-sex environment. Whilst this course is taught by male instructors we are mindful to ensure that participants get the benefit of a women-only learning environment. 

 

More amazing courses 

That is just a handful of the courses on offer. Click here to see our full range of courses. From Stag Dos to Family Bushcraft Courses or incredible canoeing expeditions – we have something for everyone at Wildway Bushcraft.

 

 

DISCOVER OUR FULL RANGE OF COURSES

canoe bushcraft

At Wildway Bushcraft we offer a fantastic range of wilderness living and bushcraft courses. From one-day friction fire lighting courses, through to weekend bushcraft courses and even week-long, wilderness living experiences. Wherever you are on your bushcraft journey, Wildway Bushcraft have something to offer you, we even have family bushcraft courses!

Subscribe

* indicates required



Please select all the ways you would like to hear from Wildway Bushcraft:

You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. For information about our privacy practices, please visit our website.

We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By clicking below to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing. Learn more about Mailchimp’s privacy practices here.


 

Bushcraft courses for children

Bushcraft vouchers

With the festive period coming up fast, we offer a range of bushcraft vouchers – perfect Christmas gifts for the bushcraft enthusiast in your life.

Our bushcraft vouchers are available in amounts from £75 to £185, although if you would like to discuss a voucher for a larger amount, please feel free to get in touch using our contact form or email us on john@wildwaybushcraft.co.uk

Treat someone to a Wildway Bushcraft voucher

What can my voucher be used for?

 

bushcraft voucher


Our bushcraft vouchers can be redeemed against any of our courses, provided that they are redeemed within a 12 month period. So whether you want to perfect your fire lighting skills, brush up on your tree identification, or even go on a canoeing trip along the river Spey then our
bushcraft vouchers are for you.

 

How old do I have to be to join one of your courses?

 

Canoeing preparation

 

Our bushcraft and wilderness living courses are open to anyone from the age of 18 and over. Those under 18 are welcome on most of our courses, provided that they are accompanied by an adult,  although a few have specific age limits. If you would like to know more or have any further questions please email us on john@wildwaybushcraft.co.uk .

 

Treat someone to a Wildway Bushcraft voucher

The phrase ‘bushcraft knife’ is one that is occurring more and more frequently, but what does it actually mean? In this latest blog, we look at why there is no such thing as a bushcraft knife, how to choose a tool best suited to the job at hand and a look at knife law in the UK.

With that in mind, if you are not already familiar with the ins and outs, read our blog on knife law in the UK here

Read on to learn more about bushcraft, knives and what you should be looking out for.

 

What is a bushcraft knife?

Knives are tools. As far as we are at Wildway Bushcraft are concerned, knives are designed to do certain jobs, provided that they do these jobs then they are good by us. There is no need to fetishize knives; ones that are kept locked up and perfectly clean are for show, not for practical use. We like our knives to be practical, not an object of art. 

choosing your first bushcraft knife


It is really a matter of skill 

Despite the huge amounts of discussion surrounding ‘bushcraft’ knives online, it is really a matter of skill. The highly trained, skilled woodsman who is equally at home in the woods as he is in his living room, can be more useful with a penknife than an amateur with a rambo-esque machete. Keep this in mind when first using your bushcraft knife. Before you get to make the first cut, there is a huge amount of skill involved. You need to be able to identify the best material to use, how to use it and for what ends.

Learn knife skills, friction fire lighting , shelter building and more on our
weekend bushcraft course.

Choosing your first bushcraft knife

Sharpen your bushcraft knife


On all of our courses, our pupils use a
Morakniv Heavy Duty Companion. These quality knives cost about £15 and can be obtained through places such as The Bushcraft Store. These knives have a 3.2 mm wide carbon steel blade and will withstand tough use. Remember though to always use it safely, particularly around children. Our blog on knife safety and children can be read here.  If you are interested, Wildway Bushcraft use Bear Blades, learn more about Bear Blades here.

Subscribe

* indicates required



Please select all the ways you would like to hear from Wildway Bushcraft:

You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. For information about our privacy practices, please visit our website.

We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By clicking below to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing. Learn more about Mailchimp’s privacy practices here.


Carbon steel and stainless steel bushcraft knives 

Some knives, such as the Mora Heavy Duty Companion are made from what is known as carbon steel, while others are made from stainless steel.  While the pros and cons of each vary from knife to knife, generally speaking, stainless steel knives are easier to sharpen and much better at resisting rust and corrosion than carbon steel knives. On the other hand, carbon steel knives hold their edge a lot better, meaning that they stay sharper for longer, they also get much sharper.  While they need a bit more TLC to keep them in good condition, this is a good thing as it teaches care and responsibility – two things that are important for any serious bushcraft practitioner. 

Learn knife skills, friction fire lighting , shelter building and more on our
weekend bushcraft course.


Learning how to use it effectively and responsibly

Bushcraft knife Bear Blades


If you are over 18, the minimum legal age at which you can buy a knife in the UK, then it is worth learning how to use it effectively and responsibly. So, before you dash off and spend your cash, learn the knife skills that you will need for basic (and more advanced) bushcraft skills on our
Weekend Bushcraft Course, if you can’t spare the time then we highly recommend our One Day Bushcraft Course as an alternative.

 

Learning to look after your knife 

The following blogs will help you to look after your knife, keeping it sharp, clean and ready for action.

 

Learn knife skills, friction fire lighting , shelter building and more on our
weekend bushcraft course.

Being able to use a bow drill to create fire is a cornerstone of bushcraft. This method of making fire by friction has been used by humans since prehistoric times since the 4th or 5th millennium BC. The mechanical element of the bow drill gives an advantage over other methods of friction fire lighting, such as the fire plough. 

In this latest blog, we will help you to construct your own bow drill from scratch. Read on to learn more. 

 

Making your own bow drill

bow drill being used in the woods

 

Like most things in bushcraft, constructing your own bow drill begins with a deep understanding of the natural world. Being able to identify the trees and understand how and when the different woods from each can be used is a cornerstone of bushcraft.

 

Understanding the component parts 

A bow drill is composed of the following parts:

  • The drill
    The drill is the piece of the bow drill that comes into contact with the hearth and bearing block. It is rotated by the bow itself and more specifically the cord attached to the bow.
  • The hearth
    The hearth is the piece of wood that the drill rotates into, it is a rectangular block in which the drill sits and where the embers are produced.

  • The bearing block
    The bearing block is the piece of the bow drill in which the drill sits. It should be carved so that it fits into the palm of your hand. 
  • The bow
    The bow is the part of this friction fire lighting device which gives the bow drill its name. The cordage or string that you will be using will be attached to this bow, like on a hunting bow. Unlike a hunting bow, the bow on a bow drill should be slightly curved with as little spring in it as possible. The bow gives the bow drill its mechanical advantage.

                   The image below shows the component parts in more detail. 

https://www.wildwaybushcraft.co.uk/product/one-day-friction-fire-lighting-course/

The different parts of the bow drill.

Subscribe

* indicates required



Please select all the ways you would like to hear from Wildway Bushcraft:

You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. For information about our privacy practices, please visit our website.

We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By clicking below to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing. Learn more about Mailchimp’s privacy practices here.



 

Choosing wood

Discover our weekend bushcraft course

 

Bushcraft is about living in harmony with nature, not overcoming it. It is about so much more than just survival. Being able to identify and choose woods for a bow drill is a key part of bushcraft, as is choosing wood for your shelter, spoon or anything else that you need to make while living in the woods.

What follows is a list of woods that are suitable for making a bow drill. This list is not exhaustive and is limited to UK woods. The best way to find out what woods work for you is to experiment. Try a mixture of woods to find out what works for you.

  • Elder (Sambucus nigra)
  • Willow(s) (Salices)
  • Hazel (Corylus avellana)
  • Silver Birch (Betula pendula)
  • Field Maple (Acer campestre)
  • Sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus)

Learn more about these trees in our blog Choosing Wood for a Bow Drill.

Choosing wood for a bow drill in the UK

                           Learn the art of friction fire lighting on our weekend bushcraft course

Carving your bow drill

A bow drill works, as with all friction fire lighting techniques, by rubbing two combustible materials against each other until the material is taken beyond its auto-ignition temperature.  In order to do this, it is important to carve the component parts of the drill correctly.

 

The drill 

The drill should be around 20 cm in length. It should be around 2-3cm thick and as straight as possible. One part of the drill will be in contact with the hearth and the other in contact with the bearing block. The end of the drill that is in contact with the hearth needs to be carved into a blunt point, while the end in contact with the bearing block needs to be carved into a sharp point.  The bluntness of the hearth end increases the amount of friction being generated. The sharp point reduces the amount of friction being generated in contact with the bearing block. 

 

The hearth 

The hearth should be about 40mm wide, 5 mm thick and around 30 cm long. Once the bow drill has been made, the hearth should be broken in by rubbing the drill into the hearth until a charred depression has been created. Once this has been satisfactorily achieved you need to cut the notch. This should be a straight ‘V’ extending from the depression to the outside of the hearth. Underneath the notch, place a piece of bark to catch the coal and the embers.

 

The bow 

The bow, as mentioned, should not be springy. It can be made of any wood that you like and should be about the length from your fingertips to your sternum. The cordage can either be made of any string that you have at hand, or you can make the cordage yourself – you can learn about making cordage on our intermediate bushcraft course.

 

The bearing block

The bearing block works best if carved in hardwood. It should be big enough to fit comfortably in your hand. Carve a small depression into it for the pointy end of the drill. There needs to be as little friction as possible between the drill and the bearing block. Waxy leaves such as holly can be rubbed into the bearing block in order to reduce friction.

 

                           Learn the art of friction fire lighting on our weekend bushcraft course

Fire lighting in damp conditions

Introduction to Friction Fire Lighting: Bow Drills and Hand Drills

 

The history of friction fire lighting is bound up with the history of human civilization. The ability to light a fire when needed provides security, warmth, the ability to cook food and many other tenements of human civilization. The ability to light a fire by friction is a cornerstone of bushcraft and a key part of our weekend bushcraft course .  This blog provides an overview of friction fire lighting and an introduction to getting started.

 

friction fire lighting with W

A short history of friction fire lighting 

The ability of humans to make and control fire was a huge turning point in human history. There is evidence that humans were able to control fire from about 1.7 million years ago. This control of fire would have most likely been around wildfires.

Learn the art of friction fire lighting on our weekend bushcraft course.

Making fire

The ability to make fire, as opposed to controlling naturally occurring fires, was thought to have occurred about 700,000 years ago. It allowed humans to change their locations, provided security, warmth and lead to massive changes in diet.  The ways in which people made fire was through friction, using devices such as the hand drill or fire plough.

 

Impact on human evolution

The impact of fire on human evolution is enormous. It allowed people to migrate to cooler climates as they were now more able to survive the cold winters. The ability to make fire also provided protection from animals and, it is argued, helped humans to clear out caves prior to living in them. The ability to fire also played a key part in tools and weapon making, as well as ceremonial occurrences and art.

 

An introduction to friction fire lighting

Friction fire lighting is a large and complex topic. The ability to make fire by friction is not something that can be learned quickly or even mastered. Rather it is a lifetime of learning and honing skills. Like anything in bushcraft, the ability to make fire by friction begins with understanding materials.

Learn the art of friction fire lighting on our weekend bushcraft course.

Understanding materials

 

Bushcraft in Dorset using a bow drill

 

Being able to identify trees, plants, fungi, animals, etc is the cornerstone of bushcraft. Without the ability to identify the best material for the task in hand, you are unlikely to be successful. 

Suitable woods for the bow drill/hand drill

The following are the most suitable woods for the bow drill and hand drill. For the sake of simplicity and relevance, we are only focusing on European woods.  Keep in mind that this is not an exhaustive list!

Woods for bow drill

  • Elder
  • Field Maple 
  • Willow
  • Hazel 
  • Oak 
  • Popular 
  • Yew
  • Sycamore
  • Ivy

Woods for hand drill

  • Elder 
  • Juniper 
  • Pussy Willow 
  • Sycamore

Learn more about choosing woods for the bow drill and hand drill in our blog:
Choosing Wood For a Bow Drill

 

Bow Drill

The bow drill is perhaps the best-known friction fire lighting tool. It is thought to date back as far as the 4th or 5th millennium. They were used by cultures around the world including Native Americans, Eskimos, and Aborigines in Alaska and Canada

The bow drill has one massive advantage over other friction fire lighting methods – it’s mechanical nature; that is, the drill is turned by a cord, not by the user’s hands.

Learn the art of friction fire lighting on our weekend bushcraft course.

 

Making your bow drill

A bow drill works in the same manner as all other friction fire lighting methods. That is two combustible materials being rubbed together until the material is taken beyond its auto-ignition temperature which creates an ember. This ember is then used to ignite tinder.

Component parts of the bow drill

The image below shows the component parts of the bow drill – the bearing block, bow, drill and hearth. We will then look at each of these parts in detail.

https://www.wildwaybushcraft.co.uk/product/one-day-friction-fire-lighting-course/

The different parts of the bow drill.

The Bow

The bow for your bow drill can be made of any wood that you have to hand. As the name suggests it needs to be slightly curved and should be the length from about your fingertips to your sternum.

The Drill 

The drill should be around 20cm in length and between 2 -3cm.  The wood for the drill should be made of one of the woods identified earlier in the blog. The end of the drill in contact with the hearth should be carved into a blunt point, while the end that is in contact with the bearing block should be carved into a sharper point.

The Hearth

The hearth of a bow drill should be made of one of the woods identified previously. It does not need to be made of the same material as the drill. It helps to play around and find the combination of woods that works the best for you. Ivy and Hazel are two types of wood that we particularly enjoy using. The hearth needs to be carved into a rectangle about 4cm wide and 5mm thick. Narrow a depression into the hearth in the centre of the blog then, using the bow, wear down this depression into a smooth bore then cut a V shape extending towards and over the edge of the hearth.

The Bearing Block 

The bearing block can be made of any wood that you have to hand. It should fit comfortably in your palm. You will need to carve a notch into the bearing block for the sharper end of the drill to sit in.

Learn the art of friction fire lighting on our weekend bushcraft course.

bow drill being used in the woods

Hand drill

The hand drill works on the same principles as the bow drill, although it lacks the mechanical advantage. The drill is composed of a drill and a hearth. It works as the drill is spun between your hands and is spun with downward pressure being applied. As the smoke begins to appear, increase the speed until you have produced a small ember.

fire lighting Dorset

The Drill

The drill for the hand drill is largely a matter of personal preference, experience and what type of wood you are using. It should be made of one of the woods identified previously and be between 40 and 75 cm long with a diameter of 9mm to 13mm. It needs to be as straight as possible to work effectively.

 

The hearth

The hearth should be made in a similar fashion to the bow drill but slightly shorter. Once again, it should be made of the same wood as those mentioned previously in the blog.

Friction fire lighting on our weekend bushcraft course

On our weekend bushcraft course we introduce you to the art of the bow drill. If you have never used a bow drill before, we will talk you through how to carve each of the component parts and how to correctly use it. If you are familiar with the bow drill then we can help you to troubleshoot any issues that you are having and give you tips on how to perfect your bow drill technique.

Learn the art of friction fire lighting on our weekend bushcraft course.

 

Wildway Bushcraft Owner John blowing an ember into fire

At Wildway we believe that bushcraft is about more than just survival. It is not about overcoming the elements or battling with nature, it is about living in harmony with it. For both children and adults, bushcraft can provide important learnings beyond just the skills needed to light fires or build shelters. We believe that whether an adult or a child, a bushcraft beginner or an old hand, there is something to be learned from living in the woods, in harmony with nature.

Read on to learn more

To find out more about the amazing range of courses that we offer, click the button below.

 

Respect for nature

beautiful woodland

 

Bushcraft teaches practitioners of all ages a deep respect for nature. By learning the names of the flora and fauna around us, their uses and their limitations bushcraft practitioners are more connected with the woods than many other people. Trees stop simply being ‘trees’ and instead become useful sources of sustenance, or firewood, or wood for bow drills. The skilled bushcraft person will also understand how the tree fits in the ecosystem around it and therefore only use its resources in a sustainable and environmentally friendly manner.

To find out more about the amazing range of courses that we offer, click the button below.

 

Connection with nature

Mushrooms in autumn in the UK woods bushcraft courses in the UK

Subscribe

* indicates required



Please select all the ways you would like to hear from Wildway Bushcraft:

You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. For information about our privacy practices, please visit our website.

We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By clicking below to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing. Learn more about Mailchimp’s privacy practices here.


 

According to recent reports, seven out of 10 people admit they’re losing touch with nature. And more than a third of parents admit they could not teach their own children about British wildlife.  If people aren’t connected with something then you can’t expect them to care about it. Bushcraft teaches children to develop a connection with nature and look after the planet.

To find out more about the amazing range of courses that we offer, click the button below.

Patience and importance of proper technique

Sharpen your bushcraft axe


Nothing in bushcraft can be rushed. It is not about acting without thinking, it is about patience and proper technique. Without patience and proper technique, selecting the right woods, making the right cuts, etc. whatever technique you are trying to perfect is likely to fail. The skilled bushcraft practitioner will approach each task in a calm manner, confident of their skills and ability.

To find out more about the amazing range of courses that we offer, click the button below.

 

Stillness and quiet

Get away from it all on a bushcraft course

 

Being comfortable in the woods is key to bushcraft. Once comfortable in the woods, the skilled bushcraft practitioner will find stillness, peace of mind and quiet. Something that is so difficult to find in the modern world with its 24/7, always-on culture.  The ability to sit outside and find quiet in the woods is not just a ‘nice to have’, studies suggest that it is also beneficial for your health. It is even thought that regular time outside can reduce stress, improve academic performance and improve mental wellbeing

To find out more about the amazing range of courses that we offer, click the button below.

Courses at Wildway Bushcraft are about more than just survival. They are about true bushcraft, about living in harmony with nature, about existing in harmony with the world around us. This philosophy underpins all of our courses. No ridiculous, over the top macho stuff from us, just practical, tried and tested techniques which, once learned, enable you to live comfortably in the woods.

One of our more popular courses is the Weekend Bushcraft Course. This IOL Accredited course takes place over three days (Friday night, Saturday night, Sunday morning) and gives you a chance to take your Foundation in Bushcraft Skills and Wilderness Living Level 2 – Assessment at a later date.

In this latest blog, we take a look at what is involved in our Weekend Bushcraft Course. Read on to find out more.

 

Overview of our wilderness living course

shelter building on our Weekend bushcraft course Wildway Bushcraft


Each of the elements of our courses is designed so that they inform one and other. Everything you learn on this course will have multiple uses and will be used many times over the course of the weekend.

 

Fire lighting

Fire lighting is a key wilderness living skill. Without the ability to cook food and keep yourself warm you will soon be very uncomfortable in the woods and what should be an enjoyable time will turn into a miserable experience. 

On our weekend bushcraft course, we show you how to make fire through a variety of means. This includes using components that you can pre-prepare, such as cotton and vaseline balls and char cloth. We will also show you more immediate ways of fire lighting, that could be deployed in an emergency, such as using wire wool and batteries. Our main focus though is on traditional fire lighting techniques.

bow drill being used in the woods

Subscribe

* indicates required



Please select all the ways you would like to hear from Wildway Bushcraft:

You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. For information about our privacy practices, please visit our website.

We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By clicking below to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing. Learn more about Mailchimp’s privacy practices here.


 

Traditional fire lighting techniques

 

Friction fire lighting UK


We will demonstrate more traditional fire lighting techniques including the bow drill. You will also get a chance to make and try out your own bow drill. Don’t worry if you don’t get it the first time, our expert instructors will be on hand to help you out and give you tips that you can practice at home.


If you would like to know more about what to expect when using a bow drill then take a look at these blogs:

Book your space on our weekend bushcraft course

 

Shelter building

shelter building on a weekend bushcraft course

Having a solid shelter that can withstand the elements, keep you warm and be livable is another key element of wilderness living.  On our weekend bushcraft course, we will teach you various cutting techniques, using knives and axes, tips for making cordage and site selection. These skills will be combined to help you build your shelter. You will then have a chance to sleep in your shelter on Saturday night.

 


Remember, this course is what you make of it. If you would rather sleep in a tent or under a tarp on both nights just let us know!

 

Campfire cooking 

campfire cooking


Ah, the joys of cooking over a campfire. Is there anything better? On our weekend bushcraft course, set in a beautiful Dorset woodland, we will teach you the art of campfire cooking. You will have a chance to cook the small game (fish, fin, and fur) that you will prepare throughout the course over a fire.

 

If you have any dietary requirements or preferences, let us know and we can accommodate them. 

 

Water sourcing

Water sourcing is a key wilderness living skill. Without the ability to find drinkable water you won’t be able to live in the woods for long. On this course, we will show you how to find water and then filter it in order to make in drinkable. We will also show you how to make a filter using natural materials and what you should consider when sourcing water in the wild.

Subscribe

* indicates required



Please select all the ways you would like to hear from Wildway Bushcraft:

You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. For information about our privacy practices, please visit our website.

We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By clicking below to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing. Learn more about Mailchimp’s privacy practices here.


Knife skills

bushcraft knife skills

 

Aside from knowledge a knife, or in certain circumstances an axe, is the most important thing that you can take with you. At Wildway Bushcraft, we are not precious about knives. They are tools to be used and you should be able to rely upon them. Like all tools though, they are worthless unless you are able to use them correctly. On this weekend bushcraft course, we will teach you a few basic knife and axe skills which will enable you to construct shelters, prepare small game, make tent pegs, construct a bow drill and much, much more.

Learn more about knives and axes for bushcraft in the blogs below: 

Book your space on our weekend bushcraft course

 

Much more 

There is loads more to learn on our weekend bushcraft course. Read what previous customers made of the course on TripAdvisor here.


                                                      Read our reviews on TripAdvisor here.

 

In 2019, our weekend bushcraft courses will take place on the following dates: 

 

 

Book your space on our weekend bushcraft course

 

Weekend bushcraft courses UK Dorset Hampshire

Bushcraft is about more than just survival. It is about living in harmony with nature. It is about understanding the natural world around you and how it can be used to your benefit and comfort. At Wildway Bushcraft, we promote wilderness living and encouraging understanding of the natural world. Bushcraft is about learning and perfecting the techniques that our ancestors used to keep themselves alive and to thrive in the ancient world.

Read on to learn more about what the woods meant to our ancestors.

Ancient bushcraft


Ancient Briton

The Paleolithic period, also known as the Stone Age is used to describe human prehistory and dates from around 3.3 million years ago. Mesolithic period describes a period around 9000 to 4,300 BC. During this period, ancient Britons – a mix and match of peoples from throughout what we know as Europe and further afield – were hunter-gatherers. It was not until the Neolithic period, around 4300 – 2000 BC that people first began to domesticate animals and plants. It was during this period that people began to settle down into more fixed communities. These timescales make the Iron Age (750 BC – 43AD) seem positively recent!

 

The Ancient Landscape

The landscape during the Neolithic and Mesolithic period would have been very different from the landscape today. Rather than the rolling hills and urban centres we see today the landscape would have been thickly forested with small areas of grassland. Animals such as reindeer, wild horses, and pigs roamed the landscape, and elk, red deer and wild boar formed a large part of people’s diets.  In addition to this meat, people also ate shellfish and a large number of plants.

old wood, ancient Briton imagined

Ancient intuition

Our ancestors would have been in tune with this ancient landscape, knowing which plants and vegetables were safe to eat, which ones were dangerous, where animals were likely to be found and where water was likely to be.  It is this understanding of the natural world around us that bushcraft practitioners seek to cultivate.

 

Ancient Britons and fire

The ability to make fire was a key moment in human history.  Not only was it used to keep potential predators away, it was also used for cooking meat and even defrosting meat from kills during the long and bitter winters. Evidence of controlled fire by humans dates back to around a million to 200,000 years ago. Bow drills have been thought to date back to the 4th – 5th millennium BC.  The ability to use a bow drill to generate fire as and when one wanted would have been key to ancient people’s survival. 

 

Bow Drill

 

bow drill being used in the woods


The bow drill is one of the ancient technologies that form the cornerstone of bushcraft. Our ancestors would have been able to use the bow drill to make a fire in all but the worst circumstances. It is also thought that people would have carried fire with them as they traveled. This fire would be carried by means of an ember bundle.  This is a glowing red ember in a tinder wrapped around in moss and carried like this. By carrying fire in this method ancient people would be able to light a fire in a new location without having to expend large amounts of energy.

 

Book your space on our intermediate bushcraft course today

 

Resources for learning the bow drill

Here is a list of resources that might be useful in learning the art of friction fire lighting:

Subscribe

* indicates required



Please select all the ways you would like to hear from Wildway Bushcraft:

You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. For information about our privacy practices, please visit our website.

We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By clicking below to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing. Learn more about Mailchimp’s privacy practices here.


Using all of the kill

Bushcraft cooking in the UK with Wildway Bushcraft


For our ancient ancestors, killing animals was no easy manner. It was often dangerous and used up a lot of energy, something that would be hard to replace if you had to work for every calorie that you were consuming. This is why our ancestors would use every part of the kill for something. The skilled butchery of  large and small game enables every part of the animal to be used, from the hide for clothing to the sinews for cordage.

Food preservation

Primitive peoples would also preserve their food through methods such as smoking and curing. This would enable them to use all of the animal, and not waste any food. In our Intermediate Bushcraft Course we teach participants how to skilfully skin and butcher game as well as making pots and pans to cook their food in and, of course, transport it.

 

Book your space on our intermediate bushcraft course today

 

Our intermediate bushcraft course


Our five-day intermediate bushcraft course gives participants a chance to learn and to perfect these ancient bushcraft techniques. Running over five days, this course truly lets you live and breathe wilderness living. It will build significantly on any knowledge that you have gained on our weekend bushcraft course. The course will cover skinning and butchery of large game, food preservation techniques, the making of glues, tar and pitch. Additionally, we will look at long term shelter building, green woodworking, advanced fire lighting techniques, traps and snares, basket making and much, much more.

 

Book your space on our intermediate bushcraft course today

friction fire course

There’s nothing better than being outdoors, cooking over a fire with your friends or family. There is something almost primitive in sitting around a fire and cooking. It links us with our ancient ancestors who would have been doing something essentially similar since man first discovered fire.
In this blog, we are going to take a look at how to cook over an open fire with your friends and/or family. We are going to cover safety and responsibility, which type of fire to choose, and some ideas for recipes.

 

Safety and responsibility when cooking over a fire

Fire lighting damp conditions


The most important thing when setting out to cook over an open fire is doing it in a safe and responsible manner. Fires can spread, especially in the dry weather of summer, and easily get out of control.  There are several things that you can do to reduce the risk of your fire spreading out of control. Ultimately though, you have to make a decision as to whether or not it is okay to have a fire. Ask yourself, has the weather been dry? What is the state of the surrounding vegetation? What is the soil, is it a type liable to catch fire such as peat?

 

1. Clear the ground

Make sure that the ground where you intend to have your fire is clear of vegetation and debris. Be sure to look up and around and make sure that there are no overhanging branches, bushes or anything else that could catch fire. 

2. Keep water to hand

Keep a bucket of water nearby your fire so that should a gust of wind catch it or a log fall off you can extinguish it. You should always keep an eye on your fire to make sure that it is always in control.

3. Treat the environment with care

Bushcraft is not about overcoming your environment. It is about living in harmony with the natural world. This approach to bushcraft is important to keep in mind when cooking over a fire with your family and friends. Use only dead standing wood, never chop down anything or use any living wood. Ensure that your fire will not scar the earth by clearing the ground underneath it, as with point two. Practice principles of leave no trace, douse the embers of your fire after extinguishing it, check the ashes are cool and then disperse of them by scattering them in a large area. 

4. Keep it small 

Only build the fire to the size that you need. For cooking outdoors you don’t need a roaring bonfire, you just need something small enough to do the job. Make sure that any children you have with you don’t feed the fire unnecessarily, making it bigger than it needs to be. 

 

Learn fin and fur preparation and campfire cooking on our weekend bushcraft course.

Subscribe

* indicates required



Please select all the ways you would like to hear from Wildway Bushcraft:

You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. For information about our privacy practices, please visit our website.

We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By clicking below to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing. Learn more about Mailchimp’s privacy practices here.


 

Choose the best type of fire for cooking on

friction fire lighting from Wildway bushcraft


Not all fires are created equal. Some constructions are best suited for keeping warm, while others are best designed for cooking on. It’s the latter type that you will want to build.


Whatever type of fire you choose to construct, be sure to follow the basic principles of fire lighting. That is, ensuring that you have enough suitable tinder and fuel of progressively larger diameters close to hand. After all, you don’t want to be running around looking for fuel once the fire has started.

Remember, when cooking over a fire, use the embers – not the flames. 

 

The Hunter’s Fire 

One of the most useful fires for cooking is the Hunter’s Fire.  This fire can easily be adapted for different types of cooking such as baking and grilling. This fire works by building fire between two logs the same distance apart as your cooking utensils. Be sure to use green wood or, if none is available stones. If there are no stones to hand a trench will be equally as practical.

The Star Fire 

As its name suggests, the Star Fire is made with four or five logs arranged into a star shape sticking out of the fire. Each log should be 15cm or thicker. As the fire slowly burns, push the end of each log further into the fire thereby providing more fuel. This fire burns for long periods of time and the thick logs make them ideal for supporting cooking pots, such as mess tins.

The Indian’s Fire 

The Indian’s Fire is, essentially, a collapsed tipi style fire with long logs, about an arm’s thickness, sticking out of it. These logs which make up the collapsed tipi are then slowly fed into the fire to keep it burning. One of the differences between this and the Star Fire is that the logs used for this fire should not be as thick as those used in the Star Fire.  

 

Learn fin and fur preparation and campfire cooking on our weekend bushcraft course.

 

Ideas for recipes 

Here are some favourite campfire recipes from Wildway Bushcraft.

 

 

    • Bannock Bread
      One of the favourite recipes of Wildway Bushcraft pupils is Bannock Bread. This simple to make flat bread is a favourite of bushcraft practitioners and hikers the world over.  You can discover our amazing recipe for Bannock Bread in this post here.
    • Stews
      Whatever your dietary preferences, you can’t beat a good stew. Easy to make and scale up or down to feed as many people as you have camping with you, the stew is a campfire classic. If you are in a survival situation, or somewhere where hunting/trapping is allowed, then the addition of rabbits or pigeons can add an extra dimension to your stew.

    • Steamed Trout
      Steamed trout, cooked over a campfire, is an outdoor classic. It is the stuff that boys’  own novels are made out of. After gutting and cleaning the fish, stuff it with wood sorrel. Wrap the trout is sphagnum moss, big handfuls of it, then carefully place the trout on the embers of your fire. Keep an eye on your fish and it should be ready until you see steam rising from the moss.

 

Learn fin and fur preparation and campfire cooking on our weekend bushcraft course.

With its long evenings and warm days, summer is the perfect time to start learning bushcraft. Unlike what you might see on the TV, bushcraft is not about eating grubs or swimming through muddy ditches. Rather, bushcraft is about living in harmony with nature. It is about a lot more than survival.

Read on to discover how to learn bushcraft as a family this summer.

 

Something for everyone

 

Perhaps you enjoy camping out under the stars, or maybe you have never been anywhere near a tarp in your life. Whatever your situation, and you can read about the Indoorsy Mum here, our family bushcraft courses are for you.

We understand that everyone has different levels of experience, that’s why we let you choose the level that you want the course to be run at. If you want to build your own shelter and sleep under that – brilliant! At the same time, if you would like to sleep in a tent then that is absolutely fine.

 

Family bushcraft course knife safety children

 

Cook over an open fire together

On our family bushcraft course, you and your family will learn how to light a fire and cook over it. This is a fantastic way to introduce children to eating outside and is a far cry from pizza in front of the TV! Cooking over a fire that you have made together is a fantastic family bonding experience and teaches children about where food comes from and how cooking it can be a fun experience.

Subscribe

* indicates required



Please select all the ways you would like to hear from Wildway Bushcraft:


You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. For information about our privacy practices, please visit our website.

We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By clicking below to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing. Learn more about Mailchimp’s privacy practices here.


THIS SUMMER, LEARN THE ART OF BUSHCRAFT WITH YOUR FAMILY

 

Learn to make fire

family bushcraft courses

 

While mastering friction fire lighting is a lifelong study, we will introduce you to the basics. Friction fire lighting is one of the most rewarding ways of making fire and has a history as long as human civilization. You can find out more about the art of friction fire lighting here

 

Sleep out in the woods together

On our family bushcraft course, you will have the chance to build your own shelter using natural materials. You will have a chance to sleep out in this shelter that you have built together. As we said though, if you would rather sleep in a tent or a hammock then you are more than welcome to!

At night, our instructors will stay out in the woods with you but leave you alone to spend time as a family so that you have your own privacy.

THIS SUMMER, LEARN THE ART OF BUSHCRAFT WITH YOUR FAMILY

 

Carve your own spoon or make a bow and arrow

During the course, you will have the chance to make something of your very own to take away. Whether you choose to carve your own spoon or fashion a bow and arrow out of natural materials our instructors will be on hand to help you.  You get to take away your spoon or bow and arrow with you as a memento of the weekend. 

Family bushcraft course

Family bushcraft courses to suit you

Our family bushcraft courses can be put on at a time to suit you. So, this summer, learn something amazing – learn the basics of bushcraft. You can find out more about our family bushcraft courses here

THIS SUMMER, LEARN THE ART OF BUSHCRAFT WITH YOUR FAMILY