Wednesday, 29 February 2012


This is a wonderful opportunity for all budding bushcraft folk to take part in an introductory bushcrtaft course at the Woodland Play Centre. I did this course a year ago with George and Maggie and can not speak highly enough of it. They are so knowledgable in the subject area, fantastic tutors, they gave me a brilliant three days, brilliant value for money and i was buzzing at the end of it. I am thrilled that would like to come and delivery the course at the Woodland Play Centre and am very excited at the prospect, please make sure this opportunity does not pass you by. 


Institute for Outdoor Learning - Foundational Bushcraft Competency Certificate

The Institute for Outdoor Learning Bushcraft and Survival Skills Special Interest Group has devised a training and assessment course in basic Bushcraft skills suitable for a variety of outdoor professional occupations or for general interest. The 3 day training syllabus is detailed below. This is a very practical course, focusing on the development of personal skills and best practice. Participants can choose to endorse the training, if they wish, by completing a one day assessment at a later date after a period of consolidation. The cost of an assessment is not included in the training cost.

The following will be covered:
  • Bushcraft Tools (knife & saw) – design, selection, safe use, maintenance.
  • Tool use in cutting, splitting and carving – for making such things as wedges, feather sticks, pegs, safe pot hangers.
  • Bushcraft and the Law with special emphasis on “Knife Law”
  • Fire ignition sources – flint & steel with charred cloth, fire steels, matches, chemical, electrical, solar, compression, – advantages and disadvantages of different methods. 
  • Types of natural tinders – inner and outer bark, seed heads, fungi, dried grass, bracken, tree resin – how these are prepared for safe use and the environmental considerations connected to these types of tinders.
  • Types of man-made tinders – waxed paper, candle wax, gel, rubber, fire-lighters, hexamine blocks- how these are prepared for safe use and the environmental considerations connected to these types of tinders.
  • Fire - siting and the environmental considerations, construction and maintenance using a suitable fire lay, safe use and disposal.
  • Fire by friction using bow/drill set – knowledge of suitable woods and the component parts of the set, use of the set to produce fire and ignite kindling.
  • Water – finding, collecting, filtering and purification- advantages/disadvantages of different methods.
  • Improvised Shelters – vital use in protection, siting and safe construction with regard to possible environmental damage, water proofing and disposal.
  • Basic Tree I.D - with reference to bow drill, tinders’ and burning qualities.
  • Sustainable use of resources/ Leave No Trace
  • General Safety and Hygiene

Course date:  24 – 26 March 2012
Venue:   The Woodland Play Centre, Crowcombe, Somerset.         
Cost:  £210 
To book a place or for further details contact:
George Yeomans
Mountain & Bushcraft Ways       e-mail    Tel: 01478 650380/ 07748695531

Blackdown Hills Hedgelaying Competition!

If you'd like a really good country day out, come along the Blackdown Hills annual hedgelaying competition on the 10th March. This year it is at Lower Shelvin farm near Honiton - it has to move around each year.  As well as some of the finest hedgelaying in the South West, there will be the guys from Devon Rural Skills Trust doing some demos, Ivor Hancock making a stick chair, Jenny Knight with her willow creatures  and lots of other interesting local stalls.  Entertainment from a story teller called Mr Pig on at various times from 10.30 to 1.30pm, The Taunton Ukele Orchestra will play and the famous Smeatharpe WI will keep you fed and watered.  

It looks like this year we could have around 80 competitors which is a new record!! Please do pass this on to anyone who may be interested.  Entry is £2 per car and all the information, including map, is on the website at 

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Alluring adventures.....

Hello fellow woodlanders, here is the latest news on what has happened and what is happening! 

I hope you all managed to get to play in the snow...somewhere....somehow in the last week. Sadly, it is all but gone here. I know it makes it hard work for some people but it felt good to have some seasonal weather at last! I was very excited at the weekend, as we hosted our first Woodland Party in the the snow for 17 very excited 5-7 year olds! I think any plan other than playing in the snow went out the window, we had a cosy fire under the shelter and the children were well kitted out in warm, wet weather gear! It was an excellent afternoon & wonderful to play in snow....but where did I leave my home...doh! 

You may notice next time you come to the woods that a lot of planting has taken place on the boundary and in the woodland. We have planted some sweet chestnuts, wild cherry and oaks in the woodland itself, but we are focusing on creating a hedge that runs around the boundary of the woodland now. This not only, in years to come will provide vital habitats for threatened wildlife; it also creates a good boundary to the woodland. An amazing local man, Dave, is doing a marvellous job planting lots of beech, holly, ash, hazel and blackthorn, as well as even clearing the rhododendron as he goes. I am learning a lot from Dave and we hope when the hedge has grown that we will be able to lay it traditionally.

We were successful again this year with some trees from the Woodland Trust, so have two tree planting days coming up - see below for the forthcoming dates. 

It was brought to my attention recently that the calendar on the woodland website does not appear, so I am looking into that for you and apologies for any inconvenience caused. Please in the meantime keep an eye here on the blog and facebook page. 

There are a number of events coming up, with many more in the pipeline. This week we have the Exmoor Home Education group coming to visit us and very much looking forward to that. At the weekend a Brownie pack from Taunton are coming on the West Somerset Railway to plant some trees, which we are really looking forward to as well. 

We can cater for your individual needs, whether a family, school, uniformed group or business. We are continuing to build links with other organisations and partners in order to offer a wider range of services. The woodland can be used for an event you are hosting and don't forget about the WOODLAND PARTIES! Plus our sister company Active Escape in North Devon that can host a package of surfing, coasteering and overnight accommodation all based at Baggy Lodge, Croyde.

Next week is half term and is usually the start of the Woodland Playschemes, however, I am really sorry but we are unable to run any days next week due to another booking. I am heading to Scotland to deliver some workshops on Outdoor Play for a group of Early Years workers and Childminders. It therefore sadly does not leave enough days in the week to be able to run the playscheme here in Somerset too....what I need is a qualified Playworker with skills of working outdoors to come and work with me......I wonder if anyone is out there!! 

I hope that you find some of the dates below alluring and you are able to come along to some woodland events. As you maybe aware WOODLAND EXPLORERS COMMUNITY INTEREST COMPANY was set up at the beginning of this year. I am all too aware of the current financial struggles many people are faced with and I continue to do my upmost of keeping the costs to a minimum. The projects we run are not for profit and any surplus that is made, is put back into the business in order to help develop projects, invest in new resources and helps to keep the prices as low as possible....hence the Woodland Playscheme costs have not gone up once in the last 11 years since they started! 

Below you will find some dates for some family days in the woods over the next few months as well as the dates for the Woodland Playschemes for the Easter and May half term holidays.


Tree Planting (families) – Sunday 18th March – 1000 – 1200hrs - Donations to the Woodland Trust
Woodland Playscheme – Wednesday 4th April – 1000 – 1600hrs- £20 per child
Woodland Playscheme – Thursday 5th April – 1000 – 1600hrs- £20 per child
Easter Nut Hunt (families) – Friday 6th April – 1000 – 1500hrs- £5.00 per child / £3 per adult
Roots & Boots (families) – Tuesday 10th April – 1000 – 1600hrs -Free
Woodland Playscheme – Thursday 12th April – 1000 – 1600hrs- £20 per child
Woodland Playscheme – Friday 13th April 1000 – 1600hrs - £20 per child
Woodland Playscheme – Wednesday 6th June – 1000 – 1600hrs- £20 per child
Woodland Playscheme – Thursday 7th June – 1000 – 1600hrs- £20 per child
Diamond Hatters Tea party (families) – Friday 8th June – 1400 – 1700hrs - £5.00 per child / £3 per adult
National Playday Event – Friday 3rd August – 1100 – 1500hrs -Free
Woodland Playschemes – throughout August with some Wild Camps! 
Woodland Playschemes – October half term

There is more happening & in the pipeline so keep an eye on the Blog as well! 

Contact Louise 07775 941353 for booking details and information

Playful wishes Louise ;)