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  • Managing Woodland

    New for 2016

    19th-22nd September 2016

    Managing Woodland

    In depth exploration of the management of trees and woodland

    More Info

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About Us

We want you to leave our courses talking about what you have learned and not how good our instructors are, if this is not the case you have wasted your money and merely watched us showing off our skills. 

For more about our attitude and ethos check out this short video:


The Team

John Rhyder 

john rhyderJohn is a naturalist, woodsman and certified wildlife tracker, he is both Founder and Head Instructor at Woodcraft School. With an impressive pedigree in his chosen subject field including being appointed as chief instructor for Ray Mears, receiving his antler handled instructor knife unusually after only one season.

Prior to the start of his his professional bushcraft career way back in 1997 John worked and taught in arboriculture, conservation management, traditional woodland crafts and management practices. He holds formal teaching qualifications and has been teaching since 1994 making this a full time career since then. John has been featured on television, national and local newspapers and has been brought in as an expert on many radio programmes. He is a gifted naturalist and is currently working through the international Cybertracker wildlife tracking accreditation and is currently a Level 3 tracker meaning he has scored Level 3 (over 90%) in both track and sign identification and in trailing or following the animal. To expand his knowlege John has also taken these evaluations  Germany, Holland and Spain. He also holds a University certificate in Species Identification and Biological Recording specialising in mammals, reptiles, bats, fungi and woodland plants. John has been endorsed as an instructor in natural navigation techniques through Tristan Gooley and his school of natural navigation. He is also approved to run Managing and Valuing Veteran Trees through the Ancient Tree Forum.

John is the originator of the first accredited bushcraft related programmes in the UK. He has gained his Accredited Practitioner through the Institute of Outdoor Learning (APIOL). In addition he has written a Bushcraft Award for a leading youth organisation the Woodcraft Folk. He has written many articles for various publications illustrated with is own photographs and continues to explore projects in this genre. John has also been lucky enough travel widely and has studied and led bushcraft, tracking and wildlife tours in Romania, Germany, Norway, Sweden, France, Iberia, the USA and Poland.

Phil Brooke

phil-profile-3Phil has been connected with Woodcraft School for a number of years initially as a student and now as an instructor. He succesfully completed our ten month Certificate in Bushcraft Leadership and almost immediately began to work for the company and has proved to be an excellent student and teacher of the subject. Phil now works on most of our programmes and with characteristic determination continues to master the intricacies of the subject. He is especially interested in traditional archery and is well on the way to becoming a very competent bowyer. In addition, a recent trailing evaluation, coupled with his existing track and sign score means Phils is now a level two tracker through CyberTracker conservation. Having succesfully complete our first course on Ethnobotany, Phil is also a first rate plantsman particularly interested in herbal medicines.

When not working at Woodcraft School Phil operates his own company Chosen Paths based in East Sussex and offering training to people from all walks of life especially young people.

Tim Lane MSc. (HERB. MED.)

tim laneTim assists on our instructor course bringing a new perspective to outdoor first aid with his expertise on plants and herbal medicine. He is trained in mainstream medical diagnostic techniques as well as the use of herbs at a more vitalistic level.

He grows his own organic plants and uses wild herbs for manufacturing an increasing number of his own medicines. He has his own private practice, is a mentor to newly trained herbalists and a supervisor at various festivals offering acute and first aid herbal medicine treatment. He is into re-discovering our own traditional system of medicine and in researching and utilising the works of Nicholas Culpeper. Tim has various environmental projects on the go from manufacturing bio-diesel to devising new heating/solar water systems from salvage. He has started a herbal blog site with a few like minded colleagues.