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Coastal Wild Food Course West Sussex dawn
  • 5 day course

    23-27 July 2024

    New-Foundational Ethnobotany

    Based on the utility of plants and trees

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    Europe & The UK

    Dates now available for 2024

    Tracker Evaluations

    Trailing and Track & Sign evaluations

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Tracker Certification

“The course/assessment, in my opinion, was first class. The technical balance of questions was really good, and the explanations of the detail was clear and easy to follow.” Richard Law

Course Content

Track and Sign Evaluation

This is a two-day practical field test that emphasise open, honest dialogue and real learning. The tracks and sign of any and all species encountered in the field may be asked, whether big or small, clear or obscure. After participants give their answers, a dialogue ensues between the evaluator and participants to provide the opportunity for everyone involved to learn and for each of us to internalise the field marks used for identification.

Tracker Certifications emphasise practical tracking and the development of reliable field skills, and are unassociated with any particular philosophy or tracking school. No prior training is required to participate.

With this in mind these evaluations are easily, if not more, educational than a workshop with an added benefit that you may also have your knowledge recognised if scoring a minimum of 70%.

One Day Track and sign Evaluation

We also offer one day Track and Sign Certifications as an introduction to the Cybertracker Certification process. Participants are asked fewer questions, but with a similar variety of animal sign and behaviour covered in the 2-day evaluation. Participants who score between 70 and 100% will receive Track and Sign Level I certificates.

Trailing Evaluation

The purpose of the Trailing Evaluation is to assess the tracker’s ability to follow a individual animal (or group of animals) spoor across the landscape, to evaluate the trackers ability to interpret behaviour of the animal(s) on the trail and to locate that specific animal.  Locating the animal involves finding, approaching to within a reasonable distance, observing and exiting the area without alerting the animal to the tracker’s presence. The species followed during an evaluation depends on the species available at the venue with consideration given to the difficulty of the substrate and terrain.   Human trails are occasionally used for Level I candidates or in combination with animal trails when there are venue or weather constraints.

Details of the evaluation criteria can be found here 

Trailing evaluations 2024

  • 3-4 October 2024 Dumfries and Galloway see below
  • 14-15 November 2024 Nr Paris hosted by France Pistage
  • 16-17 November 2024 Nr Paris hosted by France Pistage

Track and Sign Evaluations 2024

  • 24-25 West Sussex

If these evaluations are full  please contact us to be placed on a waiting list for cancellations.

Should enough people express an interest we may run extra dates. We can also run these events at a location of your choosing.

Further information on the CyberTracker system can be found at European wildlife tracking and CyberTracker and also at Tracker Certification North America

Course Dates

Trailing Evaluations

Please read the following information before booking:

Please note that these events are self catered.

Trailing evaluations

We are not working from our usual site for our tracking and trailing evaluations and so do not normally offer camping. Please contact us if you would like to discuss options.

Trailing evaluation 3-4 October 2024 Scotland Full

Course: Trailing evaluation

Location: Dumfries and Galloway

Date : 3-4 October 2024

Start/Finish: 08.30 - 16.30

Evaluator: John Rhyder

Course size: 4 (maximum)

Cost : £250

Track and Sign Evaluations

Please read the following information before booking:

Please note that these events are self catered.

Track and sign evaluations

There will be some travel to other venues although we will endeavour to car share as much as possible.

You need to be over 18 years of age to attend this programme.

Track & Sign evaluation 24-25 August 2024 Places

Course: Track and sign Evaluation

Location: West Sussex

Date: 24-25 August 2024

Times: 8.30 am - 4.30 pm

Evaluator: John Rhyder

Course: 10

Cost per person: £220

Course Reviews

Dale Mortiboys

So happy to have achieved level 3 in this weekend’s track and sign CyberTracker evaluation. Thanks to the amazing training by John Rhyder some intense studying and more than one moment of muttering to myself I got through the weekend. Such a great learning experience and good excuse to walk through beautiful landscapes. Thanks everyone, especially John for his patience on courses and wizard level knowledge.

Darryl Peters

I recently completed my second Cybertracker Track and Sign evaluation with John at Woodcraft School. Apart from enjoying sharing my time with other enthusiastic like-minded individuals I also found my experience of Cybertracker incredibly beneficial to my ongoing development.

The assessment methodology used by the Cybertracker model is one of the best that I have experienced. Yes, it can be tough at times, but with the graded levels of attainment it gives a fair and accurate reflection of your current abilities in recognising track and sign or trailing. The added bonus is that unlike most other assessment models, there is the opportunity to continually learn throughout. This is both through recognizing new track and sign not encountered before and reinforcing existing learning and understanding. It is like an assessment while being taught!

Internationally Cybertracker has helped further legitimise an area of natural history knowledge which has traditionally not been given the degree of recognition it should have, and this has been achieved in part through establishing a robust and transparent system of assessment which enables participants to demonstrate their knowledge and commitment to their craft. It has helped me increase not just my underpinning knowledge, but also enabled me to develop a more methodical and successful approach to analysing and identifying and track and sign found.

I would thoroughly recommend not only the Cybertracker assessments, but also undertaking them through John at Woodcraft School. Johns significant natural history knowledge, his willingness to share this with others, matched with a clear, open and humorous delivery equals a rare and engaging learning experience.

Rob Brumfitt

Had a great couple of days up in East Lothian for the first CyberTracker in Scotland, with a great bunch of people and a great bunch of track and sign! A big thanks to Dave Crosbie and Dan Puplett for hosting and organising the event and a huge thanks to John Rhyder for finding some fantastic track and sign in some seriously adverse conditions- a real testement to your skills as an evaluator. Roll on next time.

Paul Workman

This is a Great course, I can’t recommend it enough, if you have an interest (even slightly) in track and sign, just go along, it’s a cheap learning experience for the subject and helps you get your eye in, each course has students of all levels of experience, so no intimidation, I personally used this as a workshop rather than “I want to pass” and so, did not expect anything in return, but with two full days of track and sign this course is a great way to learn and embed the subject. If your thinking about it, just book it.

Ian Gosling

Embarking on the journey of trailing through Cybertracker at Woodcraft School has been a massively enriching experience. What makes this valuable to me is the structure and delivery style. Whilst the subject definitely requires lifetime investment and commitment in regards to leaning, improving and becoming proficient, the whole set up offers you the foundation to do this regardless of where your skill set is initially. Whilst laid back, enjoyable and fun, which serves anyone who just wants to trail for leisure, there is still the high level of professional influence and support that makes you value the nature of the 2 day trailing evaluation. This definitely enables you to feel confident that through ongoing learning and investment in a very absorbing and addictive subject matter this can also benefit anyone seriously thinking about teaching or instructing further down the line. The very high quality of instruction and the constructive, relevant and personal feedback makes the experience more valid and enriching to the participant. It gives solid and much needed credibility to a challenging skill set and i genuinely relish the the thought of staying on this journey for a long time.  For professional and personal reasons. Thank you

Richard Law

The course/ assessment, in my opinion, was first class. The technical balance of questions was really good, and the explanations of the detail was clear and easy to follow. While I scored slightly lower than my previous result, I felt that it was an accurate reflection of where I am currently with my knowledge and skill within the Cybetracker sphere. Again, I have left the course with a sense of frustration of how much there is to know and a sense of pleasure at gaining wildlife information, while is never likely to come up in a pub quiz, it certainly going to open up my view of the natural world. What Cybertracker encompasses for me is the sense that there is always more and the journey never ends.What is really valuable with these courses is the friendly and inclusive approach that you have to people who attend. People with all abilities should feel that they can attend and gain knowledge that is not attainable anywhere else.I don’t normally give out compliments so take this one as it is.

Dawn Doughty

Hey John,

Just a quick email to say a massive thanks for the last two days of Cybertracking!! I really enjoyed it! And feel like I learnt loads. A massive thanks again to for getting me started in the first place.

David Adams

I recently attended the Cybertracker trailing evaluation with the Woodcraft School with the evaluator for the weekend being Nate Harvey coming from across the pond.

I have been evaluated in Track and Sign so was a little surprised that the format wasn’t in the same, however this was my own assumption of how I thought the weekend would go which bore no resemblance to the previous assessment. On this evaluation you were given fresh trail to follow and asked to comment on various aspects of the trail, surrounding sign and what might be going on in the area in general.

At no point were you given feedback on your answers so the lingering doubt I had about my performance and  progress persisted until feedback on the second day. The days were long and remaining focused while others were on trail was especially difficult, hushed tones and whispers were the order of the day. My own limitations were very apparent but I persisted having a much better second day.

The quality of our small group was marked not by age but experience in the field, with others being much more proficient than myself; however this did not detract from the experience but enhanced it. Feedback was given in an informal setting in the local hostelry over a well-earned pint (lemonade for me I had a six hour drive ahead) and was both accurate and insightful with many pointers to improve and practice when I got back home.

It was at times painful, frustrating  and lays you completely vulnerable to your own insecurities but it is also honest. I had a good idea of my capabilities before I left home but this process tells you exactly where you are at (in a kind and supportive way, thanks Nate).

John is a great host and Nate is a wonderful example of an excellent assessor who showed great patience and understanding of a student like me, lacking but hopeful!

Many thanks to all who attended the evaluation! Especially Nate !

As a footnote I used advice from Nate and successfully connected with seven Roe deer in one of my local Forestry Commission woodlands the following weekend, so next year’s evaluation may be a little better, I hope!

Angie Nash

I attended both a two day trailing workshop and a Cybertrack trailing evaluation hosted by Woodcraft School. In the past, when I’ve spent time in the woods, I’ve followed the odd deer trail for 100m or so over easy terrain and then as soon as I’d lost the track I’d lose interest and not attempt to question it more or look for the final details. It wasn’t really important to me to find it. After the evaluation, and seeing how its possible to pick up the tiniest of details and start to get an insight into the individual animal that left the track, I am well and truly hooked! Both John and Nate (from Cybertrack) taught me some great skills and methodology that I want to put into practice on a regular basis. I love the process of eliminating the different routes the animal could have taken until you find that one tiny sign that a deer went in a given direction and then starting to piece together a bit of the animals day. I came to both the workshop and the evaluation not knowing really what I could be taught other than the sorts of things you see in films, I.e. Bent twigs, but I was taught so much more than that and feel I’ve been given some great skills to be able to go out there and learn more about the animal as well as how to find it.
Thanks! X

Elayna Shenshone

What I love about the Cybertracker system is that you come away with so much more knowledge than what you started the evaluation with. It may seem a bit pricey for an evaluation but you get just as much out of it as you would a training course, and you come away with a clear idea of your strengths and weaknesses and what you can do to improve. I would highly recommend any of the Cybertracker training and evaluations to anyone wanting learn more about our wildlife and to anyone teaching outdoors skills.

Geoffrey McMullan

Cost: £300 self-catering. Given the high calibre of instructors from the USA and helpers made available to you, the evaluation is extremely good value for money. We had around 17 hours of dirt time which works out at just under £18 an hour”

Joining Instructions: These were clear, well presented to the point and delivered well in advance of the course.

Evaluation: OK, where do I start? I guess at the beginning like all good things. For some time now I have been aware of the Cyber Tracking concept, but until recently I did not feel the need to look into it. When I became aware of the evaluation that John was hosting I decided to take the plunge and apply for a place. Thankfully John accepted my application which in my own humble opinion is not always the case with others schools, when another instructor applies for a place.

There was the opportunity to take part in some training beforehand which was provided my Ben McNutt from Woodsmoke. However, I was not able to attend this training; this could be seen as a good or a bad thing. In my case I felt it was good that it had turned out this way, for the simple reason the evaluation gave me a real time assessment of where I felt I was at with my tracking skills. There are many trains of thought in the tracking world within the UK. It is important with the evaluation that you put your beliefs and philosophy to one side as it really does not have a place in this process, because it is about what you are seeing on the ground is in the moment.

The day starts with Mark Elbroch a well-established and highly respected tracker setting out very clear instructions on how he sees the day’s events going. Mark then sets off to find tracks and sign for us to investigate, once he has done this with the aid of his support staff he circles the tracks he wishes us to identify. Mark or his team will ask several questions and each question has a value based on the level of information required to answer it.

For example a level one question might be ‘what species is this’. A level two may be what species is this and what print is it? For example is it a left front, right rear? Level three could be what species is this, which print is it and what was the animal was doing? For example was it walking, bounding or operating in and what animals and birds for that matter present themselves on the day. Depending on the score you achieved will depend on which level of tracking certificate and badge you are awarded.

You will without doubt learn a lot from this process, not only about the tracks and signs observed but also from the information other people have to bring to the table. Mark himself is a mine of immense knowledge and experience and an amazing facilitator, in how he presents the questions to you and the rest of the group.

Something to keep in mind is how you are in yourself, in other words are you tired, hot, frustrated, or are you feeling anxious? All these things and other factors could potentially affect your decision making when identifying track and sign.

The evaluation allows you to draw a line in the sand. It clearly showed and confirmed to me where my knowledge was good, and where it needed more attention; the course is not about who is right and who is wrong. It is designed in such a way that you are all in the same boat and you each have a series of questions to answer over the duration of the evaluation, in our case it was seventy questions.

Where to now? After the course is over you are left with a lot to process, again this is a good thing as you end up with a choice, either to carry on or stay with where you are, and this will depend on what you wish to achieve with your tracking. The evaluation left me with wanting more for several reasons, one of which was to connect with other instructors as well as the group as a whole, for me this is as important as the course itself. Now it is up to me to go out and build on what I know, ready for the next evaluation.

On personal Note: I agree with Ben and John that the Cyber Tracking process is a great leveller. In my humble opinion UK tracking schools and other schools that run tracking as part of their course curriculum may wish to consider adopting cyber tracking. It will certainly set a nationwide standard that is not only real, but will benefit the schools and more importantly their clients. I would highly recommend this course to anyone interested in tracking, no matter what your level for experience is. Finely, I would like to thank Mark, John and the team for putting so much hard work in to making this evaluation such a great success.”