Course Location: Oxfordshire
Course Time: Weekends 13.00 Friday-12.00 Sunday
Course Duration: 8 weekends and 2 five day modules over 18 months
Course size: 10 Persons Maximum
Course Age Range: 16+
Call US: 01234 351006 (09:30-16:30 7 Days) / 07843 064114 (Out of hours)
The Pioneer Year
Dusk is gathering, it is time to select a suitable site to camp for the night. Ahead of you is the rest of your party, though they look a little different to when you entered the woods some months before. Instead of the jangle and rustle of their modern equipment they now seem to possess a softer, simpler garb that merges with their landscape. Across their shoulders is strung a bed roll, ready to welcome the gathering chill. About their person are, hand forged knife, flint striker and prepared trail foods. Inside your head is the knowledge to source, materials for a cooking tripod, bedding material and where to secure foods what other resources you need to make your life comfortable in camp.
These skills are just some that those braving the frontiers had to overcome on a daily basis. Carrying only what nature could not easily provide, they were able to travel light through remote areas while still providing all the comfort they needed.
We are aiming to travel back through the subject of bushcraft in the eyes of the pioneering past through to the golden age of camping. The aim of this course is to provide you with those skills that enabled you to travel light, reliant on your personal ability and working in tune with your surrounding in a way that conventional equipment does not permit.
"Go light; the lighter the better, so that you have the simplest material for health, comfort and enjoyment." (Nessmuk, woodcraft and camping 1920)
We will be travelling back to a time when this was very much the way things were done when less was more and someoneâs worth was measured by the contents of their head rather than that of their rucksack. Throughout this course, we shall start a journey back to simpler times when, people equipped with the bare necessities, achieved everything they needed from the lands around them.
The Pioneer Year starts in the late Summer and runs through until the early Autumn of the following year. This course will be run within our stunning 250 acre woodland in the heart of Oxfordshire - a stunning rural location in which to immerse yourself in our great British countryside.
The course is comprised mainly of weekend modules running from 13:00 Friday afternoon through until 12:00 Sunday afternoon, with a long weekend module starting 19:00 Thursday and running to 13:00 Monday at the start of the course. The test phase at the end of the course will run from 19:00 Thursday until 13:00 Tuesday.
The long weekends are designed specifically to allow students the time in the woods required to make effective woollen and waterproof layers and then ultimately to give them a suitable test phase at the end of the course.
Throughout the duration of this course, we strongly encourage participation beyond our modules in the woods and set our students âHomeworkâ throughout the year either in preparation for the weekend to come or to build on skills previously covered. Largely this homework will entail the completion of select craft work and projects to the desired level by the customer. It will also include handouts on skills covered, recommendations for further reading and links to useful resources so that customers will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the subjects of the golden age of camping.
Whereas we would never turn any budding student away, we would expect students in attendance to have some bushcraft experience under their belts. In true Woodland Ways style this is a hands on and hard work course, we will be with you every step of the way for advice, tutoring and guidance but expect a level of commitment and enthusiasm to match the fascinating skills on offer.
Largely your weekends will be self-catering apart from those weekends when we are utilising seasonal foods or preparing game as part of your training. Students will be expected to provide their own breakfast, lunch and evening meals during typical modules so that we can apply as much time as possible to covering the skills you will need without âeatingâ into valuable course time.
Ultimately you will be collecting, processing and eating wild foods during your 5-day test phase and both students and instructors all come together for meals on those modules that involve processing game such as Venison, Goose and Squirrel.
Initially, you will need to bring along a sleeping system for the woods until everyone has created their very own pioneer cloth shelter. A hammock and tarp or a tent will be perfect. Throughout the duration of the course, customers will have access to a group baker tent which will form a centre point for teaching for most modules throughout the course. Students will be able to alternate between staying in their own handmade cloth shelter and the baker tent.
This course is designed to show you exactly what you do not need!
Initially you will need to be equipped with the usual items to make life comfortable in the woods, our aim is to guide you through the process of replacing every piece of equipment on this list with handmade and natural alternatives or doing away with item entirely replacing toxic plastics and heavy metal items with weightless and indestructible knowledge.
During the course introduction module, we will set out the various modern pieces of equipment commonly listed as vital or highly desirable during an extended wilderness excursion. Alongside these we will talk you through the period equivalents, giving you the foundations for some of the projects during future modules.
Although the course is not specific to an absolute historical time period or location, a large percentage of the work you will be producing is based on the equipment thought or known to have been carried by Pioneers, Mountain men and famous expeditions throughout the time period... complimented by contemporary bushcraft and survival knowledge.
During this course, you will work very closely with our senior instructing team here at woodland ways where you will have access to not only just a course. You will forge friendships and relationships that open up huge areas of opportunities both with woodland ways as well as the larger bushcraft community. All attendees on our higher end courses are granted specially invited access to our other woodlands, are included in one off event and often find themselves behind the scenes with woodland ways learning about the bushcraft industry and supporting us at events.
MODULE 1: Introductory weekend 5 - 7 May 2017
MODULE 2: Blankets, bedrolls and cover 3 - 7 August 2017
MODULE 3: Pioneer cooking 8 - 10 September 2017
MODULE 4: Knife making Weekend 3 - 5 November 2017
MODULE 5: Traps and snares weekend 12 - 14 January 2018
MODULE 6: Flint and steel Weekend 2 - 4 March 2018
MODULE 7: Camp furniture Weekend 11 - 13 May 2018
MODULE 8: Fur trade Weekend 13 - 15 July 2018
MODULE 9: Consolidation Weekend 10 -12 August 2018
MODULE 10: Test phase 4 - 9 October 2018
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 "18 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) / 07843 064114 (Out of hours)
We'll take your details and payment over the phone and then email or post you and information pack along with the booking form. All you need to do then is complete the form and return it to us, your places are confirmed at the time of payment.
Click here to download booking form. Simply download the booking form and pop it in the post to us with your cheque for payment. We'll get in touch once your payment has cleared to confirm your booking.