Bushcraft and Survival

The words Bushcraft and Survival are often used interchangeably. However, there is a significant difference between the two. Bushcraft involves thriving in the natural environment, using skills and equipment to live comfortably. Survival is about staying alive, and maintaining the basic requirements of life such as food, water and shelter. Many of the skills are of course similar, and of course bushcraft skills will be helpful in a survival situation. Both skills areas have been hugely popularised in recent years by TV personalities such as Ray Mears and Bear Grylls.

The objective of this skill area is to teach the students how to safely use a number of tools used in the outdoor environment. This includes:

Fire lighting

With the youngest age group we teach fire lighting with matches and toasting marshmallows. With older ages this would develop into selecting the best type of firewood, trying different fire structures, and fire lighting without matches. With all age groups there is a focus on safe and responsible use of fire as a tool for heat and light.

Backwoods Cooking

Simply defined, backwoods cooking means cooking with minimal utensils in an outdoor environment. This can range from simple bread twists cooked on a stick to cooking inside an orange or potato. More advanced sessions could include gutting and preparing fish to cook over a fire.

Knife and Axe Skills (KS2+)

These sessions are designed to promote safe and responsible use of knives and axes as tools and to develop children’s risk awareness. Because of the nature of this activity we recommend only KS2 and above will be accepted for this course. Basic skills are taught by carving soap with a small knife before progressing to wood carving (whittling, fire sticks, etc.) and axemanship (splitting wood with a hand axe).

Pioneering and Knots

Pioneering is the building of structures using simple materials such as wooden poles and ropes to solve a given problem, for example a bridge over a ravine or a watchtower. Key to this activity is a knowledge of knots and lashings. With the youngest age groups structures are small, made from bamboo canes and elastics while at the older ages structures are life size.

Shelter Building

Using foraged materials to keep yourself warm and dry is a difficult task. Site and material selection, structure and maintenance are all part of this course, varying in difficulty for each age group.