to The Bushcraft Way
of you will, of course, recognise the title being
a direct take from Basil Rawson’s seminal educational
programme that was for decades the basis of the Woodcraft
Folk’s badge work. Over the years the Folk has
constantly evolved, to the point where “woodcraft”
plays a limited role in our educational programme.
We hope that this programme, available to all our
members from Woodchips to DFs and Kinsfolk, will reverse
this regrettable trend.
bought my first bushcraft book in 1988- the same year
I became a Pioneer leader. The book was Ray Mears’
“The Survival Handbook” and I recall trying
to persuade the Sussex Area Council to fund me to
attend a course run by Mears (before he was famous).
Unlike today, there was no funding available and I
had to wait another 14 years before I was able to
take advantage of an educational opportunity in bushcraft.
My tutor was John Rhyder, a quietly spoken man of
enormous talent yet modest to boot. I liked him straight
away. The week long course was truly fantastic, and
when I was able to create fire by friction, blowing
an ember into life in the tinder bundle, I experienced
exhilaration greater than when my tutor told me I
had obtained an upper second class honours degree.
This was an emotion I wanted other members to have
the opportunity to share. In talking to John and Brighthelmstone
leaders we decided to try to “update Seton”.
And thus was born the initiative that led to seeking
and obtaining grant funding from “Awards for
All”, that in turn enabled the production of
this website and educational programme.
curriculum is intended to plot a course for an intimate
knowledge of woodcraft/bushcraft starting at pre-school
and continuing through to adulthood. Woodcraft, or to
give it its more recognisable modern name “bushcraft”
can be described thusly:
is about surviving and thriving in the natural
environment, and the acquisition of skills and
knowledge to do so. Bushcraft skills include;
firecraft, tracking, hunting, shelter building,
the use of tools such as knives and axes, foraging,
hand-carving wood, container construction from
natural materials, rope and twine-making, and
This modern form of Bushcraft encompasses much
more than just a collection of survival skills
though. Primitive skills and technologies which
are often thought of as crude or backward in the
modern world can be of great importance and are
seen in Bushcraft as great achievements.
The respect gained for our unknown ancestors in
the acquisition of these skills can be an important
part of Bushcraft. With regards to respect and
understanding, one thread of Bushcraft is also
concerned with respect and understanding of the
natural world, its flora and fauna and the way
these elements interact.
bushcraft is a lifeskill. But it must be holistic by
its very application. Its component skill of campcraft
rests upon naturecraft- you might be able to build a
fire, but what wood is best for warmth, or for cooking?
Which are the best woods to make a fire set from? What
plants can be used to create a tinder bundle?
is also a lifecraft. By that I mean that one never stops
learning, because there are always new skills to master,
new knowledge to embrace, new environments to live within.
In setting up this programme we have attempted to instil
a woodcraft ethos into the fabric of the learning. From
Woodchips to Venturers, we hope that groups and districts
will embrace this programme. And many educators are
finally returning to the potential of the outdoors as
a theatre of learning. The Forest Education Initiative
is one example, were the scheme’s strapline is
“the classroom outdoors”.
educational tool intends to create building blocks to
span the totality of bushcraft in a British context.
It is not intended that a whole age specific programme
should be completed in one term- although if that’s
your preferred modus operandi, then so be it. Rather,
we see these modules as gently building skills and knowledge
that will become embedded through use over years of
scheme is supported by online handbooks, hard copy versions
of the same, certificates and badges. But at the same
time the programme is flexible and we hope adaptable
to local needs. Hence, you’ll find little in the
way of prescription here.
website will not be static. In the secure area you’ll
find a section for uploading and downloading programming
ideas and a discussion board that will allow registered
members to ask questions and seek solutions from each
other. We hope you’ll use to site to deepen your
own and your group’s knowledge of bushcraft- the
oldest craft humanity possesses.
skies and smooth trailing.