We believe the student and teacher form a learning partnership and that this is the core of a successful learning experience, 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. We also believe that as an educational company we must place the same emphasis on instruction as on bushcraft, to that end we work as hard on our teaching techniques as we do on our bushcraft skills. We select the very best of staff to deliver our courses a small dedicated team passionate about, bushcraft, nature and of course, teaching.
The Bushcraft Team
John Rhyder APIOL
John is both Founder and Head Instructor at Woodcraft School. He has an impressive pedigree in all aspects of outdoor life including being appointed as chief instructor for Ray Mears, receiving his antler handled instructor knife unusually after only one season.
Prior to his teaching career John worked in conservation management, traditional woodland skills and management practices. He holds formal teaching qualifications and has been instructing in outdoor education regularly since 1994 and specifically in bushcraft since 1997 and has made a full time career in the subject since then. John has been featured on television, national and local newspapers and brought in as an expert on many radio programmes. He is a gifted naturalist and is currently working towards an MSC in Species Identification and Biological Recording specialising in mammals, reptiles and woodland ecology. His knowledge of wildlife has resulted in him being called in to work in species surveying and monitoring programmes country wide. John is never happier than when studying nature, experimenting with primitive crafts and wild foods or simply being outdoors.
Much of his time in recent years has been spent writing and delivering accredited courses in bushcraft and related subjects and is the originator of the first accredited instructor programme 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 and has really enjoyed the experience deciding to explore this avenue more deeply. John has also been lucky enough travel widely and has studied and led bushcraft, tracking and wildlife tours to Norway, Sweden, France, Iberia and Poland.
- Accredited Practitioner for the IOL, APIOL.
- 7407 Stage 1 & Stage 2 teacher training.
- Advanced Explorer First Aid.
- First Aid at work instructor
- First Aid at Work Certificate
- Level 2 Food Hygiene.
- Enhanced CRB.
- NPTC Assessor
- Habitat surveying Phase 1.
- Hedgerow regulations and HEGS Surveying.
- River Corridor Surveying.
- NCH Arboriculture.
- BORDA of road driver training.
- BCU Open canoe 3 star.
- Surrey Certificate in Arboriculture
- Chainsaw units Cs 20-21-22.
- Chainsaw units Cs 30, 31a, 31b, 32a, 36, 37, 42 .
- RYA Powerboat Level 2
- Creation and delivery of all our NCFE programmes
Nick's love for nature started from an early age, when he spent as much time as possible outdoors – especially in the woods. This childhood obsession led him to pursue a 17 year career in the outdoors– specialising in environmentally sensitive arboriculture, woodland management, habitat care & enhancement and wildlife management. This fascinating career has helped quench Nick's thirst for knowledge, from studying flora and fauna in different habitats to scaling some of the tallest trees as a research climber.
Nick joined the Woodcraft School team back in 2002, and thus began his love for teaching. He is an assessor and teacher on our NCFE Advanced and Instructor courses, and his talent as an educator is derived from his patient, humorous and light hearted touch.
Exceptionally experienced in the outdoors, Nick continually seeks ways to train and gain further knowledge. His passion for natural history is immense, which is made very apparent in his delivery. He works closely with local schools, delivering environmental education and raising an awareness of the importance and benefits of learning outside the classroom and advising on the creation of green spaces within school grounds.
Nick is never happier than when he is outdoors, working with people of any age and watching them learn through the natural world.
From June 2012 to July 2013 Nick is on his travels around the world - visiting Mongolia, Borneo, India, New Zealand, China and Vietnam. You can read about some of his exploits on our Articles page.
- NCFE Professional Development Certificate for the Outdoor Industry,
- National Diploma in Arboriculture,
- BORDA Off-road Road Driver training,
- F.T.A.S.E Operator-select Thinning,
- RYA National Powerboat Certificate Level2
- British Canoe Union 1 & 2 star
- RSPH Level 2 in Food Safety in Catering
- First Aid at Work Certificate
- Advanced Explorer First Aid Certificate
- Paediatric First Aid Certificate
- West Sussex CC Child Safeguarding and Protection Certificate
- BDS Deer Stalking Certificate Level 1 & 2
Nick completed his instructor training in 2006 and over the years has delivered a good number of courses for us, from leading our school groups to assisting on the instructor course. Originally he had a history of delivering bushcraft and nature based skills to youngsters as part of a Youth Work initiative which he started years ago in Surrey which led him in good practice when working with our challenging young people. More recently, he and his partner Molly have started their own outdoor education business fieldfarmproject.com and early this year has become a father to their twin boys. Such is his ability as a craftsman and bow maker we invite him back to work on our bow making courses as he has made some stunning pieces in the past and regularly challenges John on the instructor archery events! He is a talented craftsmen and is making a name for himself as a superb basket maker, working with bark as well as willow. As a teacher, Nick shows remarkable patience and an ability to listen, apply and get the best out of people and is always ready to lend a hand. Aside from his many skills he is also a gifted, trained artist and always has sell out success at his exhibitions of giant natural history drawings. See his website here.
Some relevant Qualifications
- NCFE level 3 Cert in Bushcraft and Outdoor Leadership.
- NCFE level 2 Cert in Creative Crafts in Woodcraft.
- Basic Expedition Leadership Award.
- Foundation Cert in Food Hygiene.
- NPTC Level 2 Cert in Chainsaw
- CS30.1 CS30.2 CS31.
- First Aid at Work & Advanced Explorer First Aid.
- Fully enhanced CRB.
- Member of the Basket Makers association
Throughout his childhood Andy was a keen ´outdoors lad´, spending much time kayaking, fishing and hill walking in his native North Yorkshire, and was an active member of the YHA. His interests in all things outdoors were re kindled in 1999 when he was shown a first edition copy of a survival manual written by a certain ´Raymond Paul Mears.´
Andy has a passion for, and proven track record in, teaching and coaching; whilst at school he was a swimming coach, later becoming a GNAS Archery Coach, and has worked for a number of years with the Portsmouth Museum Service in providing Historical Interpretation for schools at Key Stages 2 and 3, Tudors for Schools.
In 2009 Andy decided to leave professional practice at management level at a major architectural firm where he was team leader and project manager for major special projects, and also relinquished his role as external examiner in Professional Practice at Portsmouth University School of Architecture, in order to pursue a career which fully utilises his greatest interests and skills together - teaching and the outdoors.
Andy is an active member of the Institute for Outdoor Learning and a registered Bushcraft Instructor, and currently holds:
- NCFE Qualified Bushcraft Instructor
- Registered Bushcraft Practitioner with the Institute of Outdoor Learning
- First Aid at Work and Advanced Explorer First Aid Qualifications
- Level 2 Award in Food Safety and Catering
- Basic Expedition Leadership Training
Stephen attended our 2008 instructor course and has exceptional talent in the preparation of skins for clothing and drums. He only sources animals that have died of natural causes, from roadkill or those that are culled for purposes of animal management or food. He lives in a tepee all year round and is heavily involved in Native American folklore and is dedicated to keeping these traditions alive.
He has Crow 'family' in the states and makes annual pilgrimages to Sun Dance celebrations in Montana. His skills have led him to assisting on our Primitive Technology course where you will find he is a wealth of information on practical skills and preparation. He will demonstrate through experience and through his amassed collection of skins and artifacts.
John & Val Lord
John is arguably one of the finest practitioners of flint knapping craft currently operating in the UK. He has been teaching this subject now for nearly 20 years and is regularly patronised by well known schools across the country. John is ably assisted by his wife Val.
Val and John Lord began their prehistoric technology research projects in 1975, when they were engaged by the Department of the Environment, (now English Heritage), to take custody of Grimes Graves, the Neolithic flint mining site at Lynford, Norfolk. John left English Heritage in 1987, in order to lead life as a professional flint knapper. Val is also a cordage and textile specialist in using natural fibres. Together they make a fine pair that complement each other and have a relaxed and harmonious teaching style.
Tim Lane MSc. (HERB. MED.)
Tim 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.
Zoë completed the NCFE Bushcraft leadership course with us in 2011. She grew up in the Hertfordshire countryside with the woods as her back garden, where she developed a keen interest in foraging and wild foods.
Her enthusiasm for outdoor fun and teaching shows through in the toughest of outdoor challenges and encourages others to be enthusiastic too. Zoë has a well travelled back ground, living with different cultures all over the world. She is a proficient skier and boarder having done 5 ski seasons and has worked as a Group Leader for 3 years for a young people's summer adventure company. Zoë takes special interest in getting kids outdoors and learning new skills. She has a sensitive and understanding side to her personality as well as a care free and easy going manner.
Zoe is currently on a world wide tour and will return in July 2013.