Email UsFacebookiconsLinkedIniconsTwitter
Image 03
  • 5 day course

    23-27 July 2024

    New-Foundational Ethnobotany

    Based on the utility of plants and trees

    More Info

  • DSC01053

    Europe & The UK

    Dates now available for 2024

    Tracker Evaluations

    Trailing and Track & Sign evaluations

    More Info


John Rhyder

John Rhyder







John is a naturalist, woodsman, wildlife tracker and writer and is both founder and Head Instructor at Woodcraft School. John is one of the most experienced authorities in the field of bushcraft in the UK with an impressive pedigree including being appointed as chief instructor for Ray Mears, receiving his antler handled instructor knife exceptionally after his first season as an instructor in 1997/98. He is the originator of the first accredited bushcraft and related programmes in the UK using the NCFE as the awarding body. John has gained his Accredited Practitioner through the Institute of Outdoor Learning (APIOL) as well as as designing and writing the training & assessment criteria for the  IOL’s Foundational Bushcraft Competency certificate. Additionally he has written a Bushcraft Award for a leading youth organisation, the Woodcraft Folk. he also designed and taught bushcraft specific modules for a foundation degree ran through Plumpton College. John has also been lucky enough travel widely and has studied on, and led bushcraft, tracking and wildlife tours across Europe and Scandinavia as well as Africa and the USA.

John has also worked and taught in arboriculture, conservation and habitat management and has been teaching since 1994 making this a full time career. He is a lifelong naturalist and is certified through CyberTracker conservation as a Senior tracker. John is also works as an evaluator assessing both track and sign identification and trailing in this region. He is also the track and sign external evaluator for Europe. To expand his knowledge John has been certificated in Germany, Holland and Spain. He is a qualified arborist and also holds a University certificate in Species Identification & Biological Recording. John has been endorsed as an instructor in natural navigation techniques through Tristan Gooley and his school of natural navigation.

As a writer, John has contributed many articles for various publications and has authored three books. Track and Sign a guide to the tracks and signs of UK mammals and birds, and Woodcraft a guide to using trees and timber are both published by the History press. Additionally he has produced The Animal Tracks Field Guide containing life sized drawings of British mammals and birds. These books can be ordered here.

John’s main focus is in Natural history, wildlife and especially wildlife tracking and he teaches and writes primarily on those subjects.

 Cover Copy       Track and sign Cover              

Feedback about John

Whether you are looking for a wildlife tracker or for a teacher about tracking, you need look no further than John Rhyder. In all respects, John is among the very best. I have seen him find and follow the trails of Fallow, Roe and Red deer, and I have seen him trail to within 35 meters of bedded animals that were unaware of our presence. He is as reliable in his skill at identifying tracks and sign as he is at trailing the animals that left them. In addition, John has taught for many years. He is clear, to the point, expert at managing groups in all conditions, and he is quick witted, funny! I can think of no one with whom I would rather work, track, learn, laugh or share a meal than John Rhyder. I am confident that you will find him a pleasure. 

 Nate Harvey, Evaluator, Senior Tracker, CyberTracker Conservation“


I wanted to thank you for an absolutely amazing experience which has opened my eyes on many levels. If there is anything about plants and Nature that John doesn’t know, then it is probably not worth knowing”. 

David Jamilly


I love John’s style, his obvious love of nature & especially tracking is infectious.

Julian Drummond


He makes trailing look so easy and it can sometimes be frustrating when he can find trails which appear invisible to everyone else.

Raoul Maciver


Phil Brooke

Phil has been connected with Woodcraft School for many years initially as a student and now as an instructor. He successfully 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 runs several of our programmes under license after many years of training with us. These awards are still Woodcraft School qualifications and therefore Phil carries our reputation forwards together with his own. This arrangement reflects our faith in his ability and character as an instructor.

Phil is especially interested and skilled in traditional archery also working as a traditional bowyer. In addition, he is a level three tracker through CyberTracker conservation, one of only a handful in the country. Phil continues to study in and around the subjects we specialise in and has been successful in completing almost all of our programmes giving him an excellent all round knowledge of our core subjects of bushcraft, ethnobotany and wildlife tracking.

All of Phil’s teaching is done in conjunction with Woodcraft School and when he is not with us, Phil also makes and sells traditional bows and arrows and supplies bow staves. If you are interested in any of Phil’s excellent bows, arrows and bow staves visit his website here

Mila Saunders


Mila is a wildlife tracker certified in the Cybertracker system, achieving an impressive 100% in recognition and interpretation of track and sign, professional level, and a level 3 in the art of trailing animals. She organises tracking and trailing courses to different locations across Europe with John Rhyder and is assisting on the long-term Wildlife Identification & Tracking course at Woodcraft School plus various other tracking programmes.

Mila has always had a strong interest in animals and has followed this interest into a varied and fascinating career path: she has been a horse rider, a dog musher, an animal activist running her own NGOs, studied Marine Biology in Poland, Arctic Biology in Svalbard, researched grey seal behaviour in Sweden. She also took part in a successful grey seal reintroduction project in the Southern Baltic and worked in animal hospitals. Since becoming a mother, she settled in England, became a yoga teacher for few years, after which she went into nature connection studies, where she discovered the art of tracking. Mila finds tracking as great way to connect to nature and the living world, and the best way of learning directly from wildlife. She has passed her love of tracking animals to her entire family who are now also hooked!

RhCol Deer
Gary Oldmeadow30