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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

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Foundational Ethnobotany – Level 3

“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

Course Content

Plant and tree identification including common poisonous ones, effects of plant constituents, wild foods and nutrition, alternatives to pharmaceutical medicines, traditional uses of individual plants including bushcraft , simple treatment approaches to common and minor illnesses herbs for basic first aid, harvesting plants, how to make herbal medications and preparations, plant folklore experimentation with wild foods.

The use of plants for food medicine and craft goes back millennia and certainly survives well into the present day. Much of that knowledge is from a much larger oral folk tradition from a time when people had to rely on their own initiative and knowledge for food, health care and to supply their day to day needs.

One of the cornerstones of being competent in the woods as a bushcraft practitioner is an ability to recognise and utilise the plants and trees of the region you are in. However this knowledge is much more far reaching and enriches our day to day lives, plants are everywhere and knowing them facilities a deeper connection to the natural world.

The focus of the course is for the student to be able to identify a range of plants and trees and to explain their uses in terms of food, medicine and utility.  there is also a requirement to apply this knowledge and experiment with plants and trees. We will be working from a master list which will contain 80-100 species.

The programme consists of a five day training period with a further half day consisting of two identification test for both trees and plants and short written test. The assessment takes place a little after the training to allow for consolidation of the knowledge and time to practice identification skills. The assessment is entirely optional

Dates 2024

  • Training 23-27 July 2024

Course Dates

Foundational Ethnobotany Level 3

Please read the following information before booking:

Please note this is a self catered course and although it is non residential you are welcome to camp at our site if you prefer. There will be some travel to other venues although we will endeavour to car share as much as possible.

NB: Camping is not integral to this programme, it is something we offer for the convenience of our students it is not part of the course fee. With this in mind please be aware that should you choose to stay on site you will be expected to help with the small tasks, that facilitate the smooth running of the camp.

Foundational Ethnobotany level 3 Places

Training : 23-27 July 2024

Location: Nr Midhurst, West Sussex

Start time : 8.30am (you can arrive the night before)

Completion time : 5.00 pm each day

Course Leader : John Rhyder

Group size: 12 (maximum)

Cost per person : £550 (deposit £100)

Course Reviews

Michael McGrath

I recently undertook the week long Course with the Woodcraft School and it was one of my most enjoyable outdoor experiences.  The knowledge and experience of John, Tim & Lou is incredible, and they shared as much of it as possible with us over the duration of the course.  We easily covered over a hundred plants in a very practical and informative way, the instructors really make you feel at ease.  If you do this course – the stroll in the park or wood, the walk by the river, will never be the same again.  You will never look at another plant the way you did previous to this course as you will have the knowledge to identify the plant and know its uses. Once again, A huge thank you has to go to John and the instructors who were always willing to have a chat and answer any queries we might have.

David Jamilly

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. An excellent and balanced course for beginners and experts alike. The perfect blend of  information and practicality. The days flew by in the fabulously beautiful and ecologically rich West Sussex Downs. The walks and filed trips were magnificent and second to none. From a personal viewpoint as a bit of a ‘townie’, the course has given me a much greater understanding of the multitude of herbs that lie both in a simple path border as well as more forested areas, and their multiple uses for both food and medicine. One other gift from John’s course is that I now most certainly choose a herb remedy in preference to prescribed medicine should there ever be a need. John is as authentic as it comes and a really nice man to spend time with. Lots of laughs combined with folkloric stories and a splattering of broader subjects including trees and mushrooms I cannot recommend this course highly enough and will definitely consider coming back.

Nigel Sharma

I had already done the Advanced Bushcraft Award with John and enjoyed it immensely. Part of that course was an introduction to different trees and edible plants, and there was so much to learn that I decided to go on this course to consolidate and increase  my knowledge in this area. What a brilliant course!  We identified nearly 100 species of wild plants, learning about their uses in food and traditional medicine. We collected, cooked and ate many of the wild plants and prepared various herbal remedies.  On my return, I took my dog to our local park in South London and on that one walk was able to identify 20 of the plant species that we had learnt on the course. Admittedly it’s a very large park which includes about 50 acres of ancient woodland. I am a Duke of Edinburgh Award leader and have been able to share much of my knowledge from both courses with the students. It was particularly rewarding recently when two groups of young people brought me large collections of leaves they had gathered during their expeditions and I was able to confidently identify most of them, something I could never have done prior to attending John’s excellent courses.

Maria Johnson

Last week I returned from the Plant Identification for Food and Medicine Course with John, Tim and a great group of students. The course is an amazing experience! I started the week with an interest in herbal medicine, but no knowledge, and ended it with the ability to identify a number of different plants and their edible and medicinal properties. John and Tim have an incredible knowledge, and their enthusiasm is infectious. Each day is spent walking around beautiful locations identifying and collecting different plants to take back to camp to make various teas, tinctures, decoctions, macerations and ointments. We also cooked an amazing feast from all the different plants we had collected. The beauty of the this course, is that you don’t only learn about the uses of plants that grow all around us, but the evenings spent around the campfire learning, chatting and laughing with a group of people from different backgrounds all with a love of plants and nature, really adds to the whole experience. I’ve returned from the course with knowledge and enthusiasm that I’ve been able to apply straight away. I cannot recommend the course enough! Thank you John and Tim!

Francisco J Gutierrez

What a nice course! What can I say? Everything seemed to have worked out perfectly! Five days in an idilic ancient woodland in Sussex – the flora was at its absolute best and we had endless opportunities to see wild flowers, edible and medicinal herbs, as well as trees. The learning curve was quite phenomenal: we covered about one-hundred species! And the nice thing was that we got to experiment with lots of them: we cooked wild meals, we prepared tinctures, and we made macerations, decoctions and ointments. It was really great to be able to go from the ways these plants can be used to actually prepare them and used them for real. John’s knowledge of the woodland is really unparalleled and it’s always a real treat to see him finding his way in the sea of species. Tim’s love and enthusiasm for herbs is contagious and his approach is very stimulating. Over five days, we saw new plants, we were encouraged to go out and find them and harvest them. Back at camp we prepared them and used them: the complete cycle, then and there. The evenings were devoted to relax and to review what we have covered  this turned out to be a really pleasant part of the day, as the group bonded really well and we had, as you would expect, long conversations by the campfire. Throughout the course, John and Tim were very helpful and made sure that we were getting all the essentials, as well as having a clear idea of what was required for the final days assessment which provided an excellent way of reinforcing what we had learned and gauging what were our next key steps. We all left with heaps of enthusiasm and really keen to continue learning more! A highly recommended course.

Rebecca Macuighlin

Just got home. Had the most fantastic week with such an amazing group of people..really bonded! The course run by both John Rhyder and Tim Lane was of an outstanding standard! We covered around 90-100 plants and their uses. Cooked and ate so many wild foods , I can’t wait to replicate them here. How to prepare medicinal plants in all forms. So much more! The late night camp fire conversation was as hilarious as it was to the highest degree intellectually stimulating. We banged the world to rights and had the ideas to solve it. Every one of them a genuine inspiration and absolute pleasure to know! I had some genuine healing this week.

Paul Mialzzo

The Course was a pleasure from start to finish. The instructors John and Tim have an amazing breadth and depth to their knowledge and they are happily shared it from early morning to late into the evenings around the camp fire! My appreciation of wildflowers and medicinal plants has increased exponentially on this course. The course was run in a relaxed way with each person able to work at their own pace with all the support needed, even when Woundwort didn’t appear to be in the woods at all! There was an interesting practical side to the course making natural medicines from the plants we gathered, in the form of tinctures, balms and macerations. The humour and banter in the group was the cherry on the top of an excellent week of study and fun. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this course to anyone with an interest in plants.

Andy Hall

This was such an amazing experience for me, I am disabled with my hips been bad, and John and Tim were very helpful and understanding about my situation which made the course even better, it was parked full of information they are both a fountain of knowledge and certainly know what they are talking about! Also the other course members where really helpful in assisting me in many different ways, carrying my gear etc I feel I have not just gained my advanced level 3 but some really good friends! I would highly recommend John and Tim from the woodcraft school!! Thanks for the memories!!