Course Location: Oxfordshire
Course Time: 10:00 Sat - 15:00 Sun
Course Duration: 6 Months 6 Weekends
Course size: Family Units
Course Age Range: 8 +
Call US: 01234 351006 (09:30-16:30 7 Days)
Family Bushcraft Immersion Course 6 Weekends
The first course of its kind to be offered in the UK opens the door to longer duration woodland immersion and wilderness living skills to the whole family to form an experience everyone will treasure forever.
For many years our 2 year Woodland Wayer course has set the benchmark for immersion into comprehensive bushcraft skills, but why should the grown-ups have all the fun? We figured it was time to share with everyone in the form of the 6 month Family Immersion Course.
Spread over a 6 month period, the 6 individual weekends, introduce the whole family to the basics of survival and wilderness living then gradually builds on these to increase confidence and improve personal skills. Our picturesque 250 acre Oxfordshire woodland offers the perfect backdrop to cover a wide variety of habitats, flora and fauna. As the seasons change over the duration of the course your family unit will start to gain a deeper understanding of what it means to survive and thrive in wilderness style camps. Our experienced instructors will ensure everyone is challenged with appropriate skills and knowledge expanded during every task and activity. Although the content is comprehensive there's still plenty of personal time set aside to focus on your own projects or needs as a family, always with the full back up of your instructors to offer guidance and advice if needed.
After the initial welcome and introductions at the meeting point it will be time to load up with bags and make the 15 minute walk through the woods to main camp. Here you'll get acquainted with key bits of kit and resources before heading out on a tour of the woodland to orientate yourselves. Your instructor will open your eyes to points of interest and resources to help you start scoping where you might like your permanent camp to be for the duration of the course. It's a decision not to be taken lightly so at main camp we'll stop for a hot dog lunch to ease everyone into the transition from "civilisation" into a quieter pace of life and discuss ideas.
The afternoon is dedicated to tool safety and natural shelters. Different styles, depending on the size of your group, will be fully covered before its time to get hands on and build your permanent base for the remaining 5 weekends. Your instructor will also be happy to give you the option of spending that first night under a tarp which can be supplied. After the energy expended building it's time to get ready for dinner and your first introduction to a "wild food" source that needs preparing. Processing meat from source to plate is a sensitive subject but one that is important to experience and get hands on with but don't worry we never force anyone. Pigeon stir fry is on the menu for your first evening and you'll get to learn about the bird and a knife-free means of freeing the meat from within the feathers plus a bit of biology thrown in for good measure.
After a hearty meal its time to spend a short while tuning into the environment and the different kinds of animals you might see and hear by playing a fun game. With a busy day done its time for hot chocolate and marshmallows before drawing Saturday to a close.
Sunday starts with breakfast at main camp before starting your first carving project to start building your kitchen kit and working on fine motor skills, tool use and safety under close guidance. Its usually the adults that get pulled up for bad habits with the younger members shining as perfect examples. With your butter knife released from the wood it was hiding inside it's time to put it to good use when we make damper bread for lunch to supplement a ploughmans style buffet.
The rest of the afternoon is dedicated to all things fire. From sparks, friction, chemicals and electrical you'll all get to understand the science, best practice and most importantly have a go. Once even the most enthusiastic fire lover has been satisfied its time to get packed down and return to the world out there until next month.
From this weekend onwards the option to arrive Friday evening is extended to you, or you can arrive on the Saturday morning. Tuition starts officially Saturday morning once camps are checked and bags dropped off. Having learnt all about fire already you now need to turn your rudimentary shelter into a home by adding your own fire pit. Carving project number two will run alongside this with the production of a cooking crane system to use with a Dutch Oven cooking pot that will be supplied.
Lunch will be approaching fast so its time to get hands on with game preparation again so you can enjoy partridge fajitas. Any projects that need finishing off can be done in the afternoon before we head off to explore the wider surroundings with a trip to a more tranquil stretch of the River Thames. Here we will talk through the merits of traps and set some Crayfish traps to hopefully catch the invasive Signal Crayfish.
With traps set for the night its back to camp to get ready for dinner with the introduction of an animal in fur rather than feather. We fully understand the different emotions that might occur and all preparation is done with the utmost respect on animals that have already been despatched humanely. While dinner cooks its time to add to the carving skills and kitchen kit with a spatula project.
A night in the woods by now is becoming more normal for your family tribe so we start Sunday with a morning Sit Spot to help tune in even more to the animals that are there all around you. It's then back to your own camp to rest and prepare your own damper bread breakfast when you're ready before we meet up to head back to the river to collect our traps. With success achieved (fingers crossed) the Crayfish will be taken back to main camp for a communal Crayfish Chowder lunch.
Now you've covered animals from air, land and water the afternoon is spent looking closer at the plants and trees that are of use with a foraging game. By the end of the afternoon the woods should be a little less green and brown by becoming an abundant resource for food, medicine and fibres.
Another weekend draws to a close as we pack down and say farewell to your woodland home for another month.
By now the roof over your head and the warmth from your fire is well established so the day is dedicated to comfort of a different form - beds. Using natural materials you will be encouraged to say goodbye to your man-made bedroll to make a more natural sleeping platform. Our instructors will be on hand to teach, advise and offer guidance but as lunch is self-catered its over to you as a group to organise your time with the designs of your choice. Any remaining time in the afternoon can be spent on personal projects or just enjoying the surroundings.
As the day progresses dinner calls and this time its over to the family unit to draw on the knowledge that's been given to prepare, cook and supplement a provided meat source with natural greens that you can forage.
By now the rhythm of the woods is becoming very familiar and your natural bed will be calling you into a peaceful slumber next to the glowing embers of your own fire. Sunday starts at your leisure with a self-catered breakfast at your own camp before being instructed in all things cordage. Your eyes will be opened to a huge array of natural materials that can rival many man-made strings. Once the knowledge is imparted its time to get hands-on again to create your own cordage so you can further develop projects and skills at your own camp.
By Sunday lunch time the tribe have proven themselves worthy so we'll treat you to a catered lunch to set you up for the last key component of survival basics water. The science, biology, dangers and methods of making safe are all covered with a session of theory and practical application before again its time to round things off and head back to what is perhaps becoming a little less like "civilisation".
With the comfort of camp really coming together this weekend is all about the journey and the skills needed to traverse the landscape confidently and safely. The morning is dedicated to compass and natural navigation and getting to grips with your pacing to help calculate the distance travelled. A quick break for lunch at your camp then its off on a navigation course with a bit of a refresher on tree, plant and resource identification along the way.
After a day of stretching your legs and brain power its time for a treat with a catered dinner at main camp and hand-made, naturally flavoured ice cream. What flavour will you make?
Sunday keeps focus on the journeying mentality but switches to "what if" scenarios for when things might not go to plan. Basic first aid skills and emergency signalling are practised in the morning and then before its time to head home again its all brought together with some search and rescue exercises.
Have you got what it takes to add the hunter aspect to your hunter-gatherer challenge? Before you can hunt you need the skills to find so Saturday is spent carving your tracking stick and going out to explore the woods from a different perspective. Our instructors will open your eyes to all the track and sign that's been around you from the beginning of your experience to give you a closer connection to the wildlife you're sharing the woods with. As the light fades it will be time to break for dinner at your camp before we come together after sundown to round the day off with some stellar navigation and some of the folklore and stories connected with the stars.
With a good nights sleep done and breakfast at your camp its a morning of creating primitive weapons before putting them into action with some harmless target practice fun. The afternoon makes way for personal time to pursue whatever projects you've had on your mind. Our instructors will be on hand to advise, guide and assist if required before drawing the weekend to a close.
It will hardly seem possible that the final weekend has already arrived in a weekend that wraps up with a celebratory experience and a bit of a challenge. The morning starts with a project to make a clay pot candle ready to strip away the need for torches on your final night in the woods. With this done its time to prepare for your dinner - a whole deer needs to be prepared and a ground oven set up for a sumptuous feast. While the venison cooks you've got some free time to explore, make or just relax as your last night approaches and then with stomachs full its off to bed.
Sunday morning brings the final test. Can you bring your navigation knowledge, fire skills and water knowledge together to prove you can find, filter and purify water in a wilderness environment?
Venison steak sandwiches await for your lunch time treat. While the fire starts to die down on your time with us we'll reflect on the journey the family have been on. It's then sadly time to start packing down before saying goodbye to your woodland home for the last time but that connection will never leave your heart and adventure will continue to draw you back.
The price of this course is £550 per person for up to four persons. If you have more than four people in your group please contact us and we will discount any further places by 50 percent. We have set a guideline age of 8 years old and above, however, this is about the family unit experiencing skills together and so is suitable for young teenagers and smaller children if they form part of the family. This price covers everything for the course, private access to our woodlands from the Friday evening, and our instructor. It is run during the warmer months of the year.
2022 INTAKE DATES
2023 INTAKE DATES
Nestling on the banks of the River Thames we have sole access to a 250 Acre Private Woodlands just outside the Village of Appleton, in Oxfordshire. With 125 Acres designated as SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) there is an abundance of flora and fauna. With a mixed canopy throughout the woodlands and a mosaic of habitats this woodlands provides us with amazing resources, with Oak, Ash, Beech, Birch, Hazel, Hawthorn, Cherry, Blackthorn and more. We have resident populations of Muntjac, Roe and Fallow Deer. Plus a huge variety of other fauna with almost daily sightings of Stoat, Tawny Owl, Buzzard, Red Kite and so much more. We operate all of our courses here for individuals to book on to, including our Woodland Ways Weekend, we also offer private bookings, school bookings, stag do's and corporate events.
Toilet facilities are available my means of composting toilets and a portaloo. There are central covered teaching area's within the woodlands comprising of timber and canvas structures.
This wonderful wonderful woodlands is situated within 45 minutes of West London and the local train station (Oxford) is less than a 15 minute cab ride away. Please ensure when travelling to the venue you use the directions and not rely on Sat Nav in order to prevent getting lost.
This course can be purchased as an 18 month voucher, to book online choose "36 month voucher" from the options above and we will email the details over to you. Alternatively if you are purchasing this course as a gift we can post you a full colour gift presentation pack for just £4.25, just choose posted instead of emailed delivery option. Or contact us by phone to make the arrangements.
Call Us: 01234 351006 (09:30-16:30 7 Days)
We’re happy to take course bookings and payments over the phone. Simply give us a call and we’ll place the booking for you before emailing through confirmation. Alternatively, drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll call you back.
If your course booking is for a gift, no problem, just let us know at the time of booking and we’ll email you a personalised gift certificate or 18-month voucher to print at home. Or, for a small supplement, we’ll print out a gift pack and pop it in the post for you.