Outdoor Bushcraft Education for Young People

Monday, 19 August 2013

In 2011 Hornsey Woodcraft Folk received £7,700 from Awards for All, the Big Lottery fund, to carry out a project 'Outdoor Bushcraft Education for Young People'.

The project aimed to:

  • Provide training in 'bushcraft' and outdoor skills to leaders and parents
  • Over a year, pass these skills across the 5 groups in the Hornsey district to Elfins, Pioneers and Venturers
  • Skills included: fire lighting, tool use and safetly, navigation, wood carving, natural foraging, knots and shelter building
  • Allow young people to take part in exciting skills weekends
  • Renew focus on outdoor safety in our district
  • Purchase new equipment
  • Continue to pass on what we have learnt in the future
  • Most importantly, to have fun doing bushcraft activities on camp across all age groups!

The application process took 4-6 months to write, submit and hear back from awards for all. Our advice would be to take your time when writing the bid, researching thoroughly, thinking clearly about the budget and emphasising the local impact of your project. For example, we contacted and met with our local council to write a letter of support for our application. We spoke to other groups (eg. Portsmouth) who had been successful in the past, who provided invaluable advice!

From August 2012-2013 we:

- Purchased new equipment: waterproof bivvi bags, Hennessy Hammocks, dutch oven, billhooks, laplander saw, bow saw, mora knives, safety knives, tarpaulins, palm drills, billhooks.

- Ran 3 training weekends (March, June, July) with a professional trainer. Each weekend worked with different skill levels and age groups (12 attendees per day).

- Ran a summer 'Bushcraft camp' with 35 young people. Three qualified trainers worked with our young people for two days of the camp. We used Woodcraft’s Park Farm new Bushcraft Area for our this training camp, which is now up and running under the expert guidance of Woodcraft Folk member Dick Tyte (click through for details of upcoming bushcraft training events he's running!).

- Used new equipment and skills on 4 district camps (October half term, January hostel, Easter camp and an Elfin weekend camp).


Activities/ skills included:- baking on the fire with the dutch oven (lasagne,

 bread, cupcakes)
- Wood carving and mora knife use (butter knife carving, elder whistle making, mallet carving, tent pegs)
- natural cordage (nettle cord plaiting)
- knots, lashings and shelter building
- fire lighting - methods, management, materials (hay, rubbing sticks, charred cloth, fire steels)
- bark pouches, yo yo's, spinning tops, wood etching
- navigation and orientation games
- tool use; bow saw, laplander saw, mora knives, axes, billhooks, wood splitters, palm drills

If you would like any further information on our application, the project itself or to join in with our activities in the future, please email Kate Anderson.

We're also in the process of writing a 'how to' booklet of all the activities we've learnt that we will share with you all soon.