John is a naturalist, woodsman, wildlife tracker and writer, he 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 in this arena including being appointed as chief instructor for Ray Mears, receiving his antler handled instructor knife unusually after his first season as an instructor 1997/98. He is the originator of the first accredited bushcraft and related programmes in the UK. He 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. 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. He has been teaching since 1994 making this a full time career since then. He is a lifelong naturalist and is certified through CyberTracker conservation as a Senior tracker. The first, and currently, the only person at this level and therefore the highest qualified wildlife tracker in Northern Europe. John is also works as an evaluator assessing the CyberTracker system in this region. 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 specialising in mammals, reptiles, bats, fungi and woodland plants and trees. John has been endorsed as an instructor in natural navigation techniques through Tristan Gooley and his school of natural navigation.
When not teaching and writing John works as a field naturalist and tracker for landowners and ecological consultancies. He is called on to use his skills to track and find missing animals and is trained and qualified in live capture techniques.
As a writer John has contributed many articles for various publications and has authored three books, his latest, Track and Sign, was published in March 2021. His first book Woodcraft A practical celebration of the tree is available from a variety of outlets and directly to students on courses. Additionally he has produced a field guide containing life sized drawings of Britains mammals and birds, Animal Tracks field guide can be ordered here.
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”.
I love John’s style, his obvious love of nature & especially tracking is infectious.
He makes trailing look so easy and it can sometimes be frustrating when he can find trails which appear invisible to everyone else.
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, Phil is also 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. He 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.
David has been associated with Woodcraft School since 2014, initially as a student on the Advanced Bushcraft Award, and now as an Assistant Instructor on our Wildlife Tracking courses, bringing a unique knowledge and passion for birds to Woodcraft School. Having himself successfully completed our 12-day Wildlife Tracking and ID course a number of years ago, David is now a Level 3 Tracker through CyberTracker Conservation, one of only a handful in the country. He now uses this broad track and sign, and trailing knowledge to assist on all aspects of our Wildlife Track and Sign courses. David has also completed our 9-month Certificate in Applied Bushcraft (Level 4), giving him a good, practical knowledge of the woods we teach in, a knowledge he willingly shares.
David has been a passionate birdwatcher and naturalist since childhood. Building on this passion, he has had a successful 30-year career working across a range of disciplines in international bird and biodiversity conservation with BirdLife International. As well as being a keen wildlife photographer, David now teaches introductory Track and Sign in eastern England, encouraging more emerging trackers into the CyberTracker system, run in the UK by John Rhyder of Woodcraft School. If you’re interested in David’s photography or training days, do visit his website here.