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    15-19 June 2021

    Combined tracker workshop and evaluation

    A 3 day Track and sign workshop followed by a 2 day CyberTracker evaluation

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    Track and Sign Dates for 2021

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    2021 dates available for track and sign evaluations

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    5-9 July 2021

    Plant identification for wild foods and Medicine

    An excellent exploration into the world of plants and trees

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Certificate in Bushcraft Leadership – Level 4

Woodcraft School were the first company in the country to offer an accredited course designed specifically for bushcraft instructors in the UK. Our programme of study is very in-depth and comprehensive and is dedicated to teaching trainee instructors both bushcraft techniques and how to deliver them.

The courses that make up the Certificate of Bushcraft Leadership programme and the specific teaching modules are designed to develop first class bushcraft teachers and trainers. The outside groups we bring in to help develop your teaching skills do not pay us for the tuition. They are selected from groups within the local community who might otherwise struggle to attend a bushcraft course. This selection is designed to give you the best possible range of teaching experience and typically includes youth groups, mixes of children and adults and adult only groups. The range of experience within these are vast from countryside professionals to complete novices so your need to adapt enhances the learning process and gives you a wide range of skills and activities to draw on in the future. Trainee instructors are given the task of planning, preparing and delivering these sessions in their own style and with their own emphasis, we are not in the business of producing Woodcraft School clones who teach exactly what we teach, in the way that we teach it.

After many years of running an integrated skills and teaching programme we have now separated the practical bushcraft skills and the teaching elements formally found in the Certificate of Bushcraft Leadership and created a brand new skills based programme. The level 4 Certificate in Applied Bushcraft is 20-day programme spread over four modules. The remaining instructional orientated skills and aspects related to woodland management are delivered as a separate programme of two modules for successful candidates from the Certificate of Applied Bushcraft and lead to the Certificate of Bushcraft leadership.

The route to our full instructor training programme is now as follows.

Upon completing the leadership course if students feel that they want to see Woodcraft School courses in action, we offer a volunteer placement where in return for helping with the cooking and preparation etc there is an opportunity to see firsthand life on the other side of the fence. This is free of charge, in fact we offer some travel expenses. Volunteers often have a chance to experience our other courses and events as a reward for their input and assistance

Course Content

All of the elements in the above modules plus risk assessment, codes of conduct, legislation for outdoor practitioners, teaching and learning theory, lesson planning and delivery and woodland management. You will attend two, five day blocks. We aim to produce instructors who can individually cope with anything our environment can throw at them before they consider taking clients into the woods which is why we have skills based courses as entry requirements. In total all of the elements of this programme add up to 450 guided learning hours which is the equivalent of a full time college programme. The guided learning hours appear on the certificate you receive to reflect the comprehensive nature of this very unique course. Students are invited to apply for this course upon completion of the Certificate in Applied Bushcraft.

Students are also welcome to arrive the night before the module starts if they have a long way to travel.

Next Available dates

Contact us to express interest in this programme

If this course is full please contact us to be placed on a waiting list for cancellations.

Should enough people express an interest we may run extra dates

Course Reviews

Gavin Chambers

I did the leadership course and the woodland management this summer. I learned a lot, as I have on all the Woodcraft school courses I have attended, but this course pulled  all the learning together. When you have to do lesson planning and teaching various bushcraft skills to other people it really builds confidence. Also doing the course with JR was great, the man is a walking encyclopaedia of natural history and bushcraft, the Yoda of the bushcraft world

Lucy O'Hagan

Wow. It’s taken me a long time to write this review, to digest the past year and feel like I could do it justice. I’m writing this 2 months after finishing, when I would usually be at camp, and I find myself pining to go back and do it all again!In all honesty, when I started this course, and at many times throughout the year, I really doubted whether I was actually cut out for it at all. Many bow drill sets were thrown angrily across the woods, and bow staves close to breaking point. But I did it! And as much it was down to me all along, there’s no way I could have succeeded in the way that I did without the guidance of John and Phil. Not only is the breadth of their knowledge phenomenal, but also their willingness and ability to share what they know (and what they don’t!) was outstanding. Being the only woman on the course was not without its challenges at times but there was not even a hint of the macho attitude that unfortunately exists so often in bushcraft circles.Emphasis is placed on your ability, as well as your respect and understanding of the natural world. This course is not just about skill, though it is a core component, but how to share those skills to people in a way that was both professional and conducive to biodiversity and caretaking of the natural world. I’ve grown in so many ways and the woodcraft school provides a supportive, fun and encouraging place for this to happen. Thanks to you both for all that you do and bring to the world!

Paul Jennings

I’ve always loved the outdoors but came into bushcraft after retirement. Wishing to upgrade my skill base and knowledge, to assist me in my capacity as an instructor with my then employer, I enrolled on John’s course. I’ve always disliked studying and therefore approached the course with some misgivings. 1. Could I remain disciplined in my studies? 2. Would I fall behind? 3 Would I remain motivated to “stay the course?” 4 Would I be eaten by wolves? I needn’t have worried on all counts (there are no wolves in West Sussex, a fact I learned early on in the course). The programme is designed to ease you into what is a challenging and yet rewarding experience. The curriculum is mostly practical based with John and the then chief instructor, Phil Brooke, imparting their impressive knowledge with true professionalism, patience and total lack of ego . John is a true master in all aspects of this extremely diverse subject. Yes, at times I felt under real pressure, yes I got annoyed at myself, the weather, the commitment, to name but three. But the overall feeling was one of enjoyment, camaraderie and amazement at what we all learned. The course gave me such confidence and upped my skill levels and knowledge to heights I never imagined. This has helped me both in the bushcraft environment but also in the way I look at the world around me in general. I cannot praise this course highly enough and recommend anyone wishing to improve their relevant skills to enrol. You will not regret it and I guarantee you will make some lasting friendships/contacts along the way.

Simon Underwood

I hope I can do the Level 4 Instructors Course justice in my review, I hope by reading this if you are undecided it will inspire you to take the next step and sign up. If you are serious about learning wilderness skills and understanding the natural world around you, then this is the platform from which to do it. When I signed up for the course I had no idea of the scale of the journey on which I was embarking, I learnt so much I could never mention it all here in one review. I learnt so much about myself over the course of the ‘Academic Year’. Spending so much time outside through all seasons creates such a great learning curve, with like minded people it creates opportunity to witness first hand the ups and downs, the highs and lows of living outside. It helps you very quickly focus on getting things right and honing skills that will keep you dry, warm and comfortable.

In our modern world people often look to the past and say look how far we’ve come and that is true to say in regards to technology. However the thing that became more and more apparent to me throughout the leadership course is that the skills that our ancestors had were far greater then we commonly possess today and in most cases could even conceive.

We rely heavily on technology for just about everything and have evolved using different materials and machines. Of course technology rightly has its place and we can do many, many more amazing things with such technology. The point I’m really trying to make that has become apparent to me throughout my time on the leadership course is such skills and knowledge is massively under achieved, under estimated and under possessed; often people think of our ancestors as not being as evolved, not being as intelligent, and not being as skilled as we are today when in fact nothing could be further from the truth when we look at their skill sets and their knowledge and how they were able to achieve such things without machines and without technology. One can only draw but one conclusion and that is that they where in fact highly skilled and highly evolved and overcame all the obstacles without relying on technology and machinery to a far greater degree than we do today.

To highlight but one example of how different skill and knowledge sets come into to the whole Bushcraft arena, if you don’t know how to fell a tree? how are you going to harvest a stave for a bow? if you don’t know how to use your axe correctly and safely how are you going to split the tree once it’s felled? This is where Bushcraft subjects fascinate me because everything is like a matrix it all has its place and interlinks and everything ultimately is intrinsically linked to an overall bigger picture.

The leadership Level 4 is of course not just about learning new skills or even being really good at them, as anyone who has seen one of my spoon carvings will tell you! It is about having the knowledge and enough skill to go through the process competently and correctly. It is about the journey into many different areas and importantly learning how to take others on the journey with you to teach and pass on that knowledge that will keep them safe and enjoying the ‘Great Outdoors’.

Don’t be put off by anything….  Some common worries;

Living outside ~ you can only truly teach through experience!

Cold weather ~ Are you serious about being an instructor??…… Put another jumper on!

Learning Latin ~ you’ll love it…. trust me everyone worried…. We all ended up loving it

Lacking in Confidence ~ it will grow every day you’re on the course trust me! On a serious note do not underestimate how good for you this course will be, the woods are a great balancer and a therapeutic place to be and if you’re considering this course as a serious outdoors person, you won’t need me to tell you that anyway!I sincerely had the most amazing year, with the most amazing peer group, with the most amazing teachers, John and Phil. Would I do it all again?….. Yes in heartbeat!!

Naomi Walmsley

I signed up to the NCFE year long course thinking I understood the intense year ahead. I had no idea! But through all the studying, the tests, the gale force winds and wild weathers I have to say it was one of the best adventures I’ve had. I thoroughly enjoyed learning from such a knowledgeable teacher like John, I loved getting my brain working again, filling my brain with precious knowledge I’m sure once known! I did have some moments wondering if I could really do it, If I was really cut out for ‘all this’ Turns out..I am. What a brilliant course! I find myself so much more confident in what I teach and what I know. I wouldn’t trade it in now for the world. I met some great people, experienced the woods through all the seasons, made some amazing crafts (my Bow!!!!) and learned some incredibly valuable skills….now whats next!? I urge all who want to teach in this area to do John Rhyders Course.

Naomi runs Outback 2 Basics with her partner Dan.

Carl Alsop

I am writing this review  to Woodcraft School, in particular to John Rhyder and Phil Brooke two of the most talented bushcrafters i have ever met.I honestly thought when i started this course that i was out of my depth and believe me i was, i had a major problem with public speaking but with the experience of John and Phil things made sense. I feel now that i can do anything. There is no feeling better than watching kids (and adults) walk away from you having learnt something. This course is not just about being able to light a fire when you are cold, it is about learning new living skills and bringing out the best in you, it teaches you everything about eco systems, sustainability,  and learning to not just respect your environment but to respect the people around you. (One year ago i didnt know why anyone would want to use that last sentence ). There are subjects that you will struggle with but everybody uses all there experiences to help you through, i ve made some good friends for life on this course and i owe a lot of people a lot of thank yous but this one is for John Rhyder and Phil Brooke and all the team at Woodcraft School. Thank you. This course will change your life for the better, it has mine.