History

Woodcraft Folk still bears a strong resemblance to the first groups that were set up in 1924-1925 in south London. We have been a registered chairty since 1965 and further details about the legal assocation Woodcraft Folk, can be seen here.

Back then it was fairly radical for a youth movement to include both boys and girls, which is how Woodcraft Folk has always been, though today it is becoming more mainstream.

And our strong camping tradition - particularly encouraging young people who live in big cities to go camping and explore the great outdoors - goes back to the very early days of the movement.

Watch a film about Woodcraft Folk history, recorded by Leslie Paul in 1985.

How we began 

Just after the First World War one of the leading figures in the Scouting movement broke away from what he considered to be its militaristic approach and formed the Kindred of the Kibbo Kift.

Kibbo Kift included people of all ages, not just youths, and was open to both sexes. John Hargrave, who founded it, believed the open-air life would help urban people build a new world peace.

Secession from Kibbo Kift

But not all members agreed with Hargrave's leadership and in 1924, led by 19-year-old Leslie Paul, some co-operative groups from South London broke away and set up their own organisation, calling it The Woodcraft Folk. It had similarities to the Kibbo Kift, but gradually developed its own character and ethos.

The name

The term 'Woodcraft' was used by the influential writer and naturalist Ernest Thompson Seton at the turn of the twentieth century when setting up the American proto-scouting organisation Woodcraft Indians, and in this context it meant the skill of living in the open air, close to nature - rather than that of making things out of wood.

Our logo

Our logo is round to symbolize equality and democracy, with two trees representing young people. It is set against a rising sun, to show the young people growing into the new world based on equality, justice and peace.

The co-operative movement

Since its founding, the Woodcraft Folk has had close links with the co-operative movement, which still supports us financially. We are a member of Co-operatives UK, which groups together all the worker and consumer co-operatives in the UK.

The Woodcraft Folk heritage site

Visit the Woodcraft Folk heritage site for thousands of documents charting Woodcraft Folk through the years, activities to help you explore our history and opportunities to share your memories of the Folk with other Woodcraft Folk.