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  • Cyber Tracker Intro

    New course

    24-28 March 2020

    Combined tracker workshop and evaluation

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

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    Dates for 2020

    Tracker Evaluations

    2020 dates available for track and sign and trailing

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  • Wildfood 02

    Places available

    29 June-3 July 2020

    Plant identification for wild foods and Medicine

    An excellent exploration into the world of plants and trees

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Woodland Management Conservation and Recreation – Level 4

This course is not available at the current time. You might be interested in one of the following courses instead: Plant Identification and Use


Course Content

This course is aimed at those responsible for trees and woodlands who would like to manage their land to improve its conservation value or to invite other people onto that land for recreational purposes. In recent years, woodland has become an increasingly popular environment used for education, wildlife watching, photography or bushcraft and it is vital that anyone responsible for people on their land have a sound grasp of the impact they are having, together with ensuring that clients of all ages remain as safe as is practically possible.

The following elements will be covered in depth: Woodland history and classification, management systems, principles of biodiversity, protection of habitats and species, dealing with and reducing human impact, hazard tree recognition, improving conservation value, veteran tree management, woodland surveys and creation of woodland and tree management plans.

The course also includes Valuing and Managing Veteran Trees , a course run via VET tree and the Ancient Tree Forum.

Whats it about

Increasingly more people are involved professionally in taking clients into woodlands for education and recreation. Growth in areas such bushcraft, forest school and outdoor pursuits requires understanding of the sustainable management of resources and a grasp of tree safety and risk assessment. Inviting people onto land also implies a duty of care for them and importantly, for this often fragile environment. Failure to understand fundamental principles means it is all too easy to damage the very environment we are hoping to inspire people to appreciate! This course will also be of great interest not only to teachers and bushcraft specialist but also woodland owners wishing to enhance their land to maximise its wildlife potential, concepts of habitat creation and improvement are covered together with assessment of the existing habitat right down to the individual trees.

Course dates 2020

  • Non Available

This course is available to be booked independently by private groups and organisations. It can be delivered with or without the accreditation and therefore can also be tailored for a specific group needs in both content or duration. To achieve the level four however the full five days plus the production of a management plan is required by each student. We are able to issue a certificates of attendance should you decide against taking on the full programme.

Course Dates

Woodland Management Conservation and Recreation - Level 4

Please read the following information before booking:

Please note this is a self catered course and is non residential.

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

Course Reviews

Steve Tilling

I completed the Woodland Management for Conservation & Recreation with Woodcraft School in July 2018 and it was a most valuable & rewarding experience. John took us through site assessments and surveys, management principles & systems, hazard tree i.d. and how to complete a management plan. This was delivered through group discussion, theory and most importantly practical activities, both in the huge woodland at Redford as well as visiting various other woodland & management types at other sites. Many other courses don’t have this strong practical element nor the actual writing of the management plan, which was the assessment part of the qualification. I work in outdoor education and often need to complete woodland surveys, hazard tree i.d. and sometimes a full management plan and this course has enabled me to be much more confident in doing these functions. In addition  as an extra element, we completed the theory behind Veteran Trees as well as go and see some wonderful examples in the local area. This was fascinating and added more depth to the overall course. I would highly recommend this course.

Mark Lloyd

I recently was awarded with a training bursary from the SSCG of £200 to put towards a course that would be useful or relevant to my work in the coppice industry. There are so many courses out there that I’d like to do, it was difficult to choose so I applied (perhaps cheekily) for 3 or 4 courses. Working on the theory that if you don’t ask, you don’t get. Anyway I asked and got accepted on one for this year (proving that sometimes you don’t ‘get’). That course (4 days) was called Woodland management for Conservation and Recreation and at the end of it assuming you complete it, you receive a NCFE level 3 qualification. It also included a bolt on certificated course called Valuing and Managing Veteran Trees and was run by John Rhyder and the Woodcraft School near Midhurst. Some of the readers may well know John as he and his company have been delivering Bushcraft, tracking and many other woodland and nature based courses for many years and he has built up a strong  reputation for delivering very high quality trainings.
I have never had any formal training in woodland management although I have been involved in conservation work and various other woodland work for some 20 something years so I feel that I have a pretty good handle on the subject and I’m also lucky enough to have my own small little patch of paradise that I manage, mainly for my own personal recreational use (that makes it sound like a drug -I guess in some ways it is!). So, you may ask, why do this course? Well because one of my jobs is as a Forest school practitioners instructor, so I’m involved in training people to become Forest schools practitioners, so I have to give advice around how to manage woodland for recreational use. Anyway I’m starting to waffle on a bit now, so if you’ve read this far, you probably just want to know what the course was like.

The first 3 days focused on woodland history and classification, management systems, principles of biodiversity, protection of habitats and species, dealing with and reducing human impact,  simple woodland surveys and  improving conservation value with the third day focusing on hazard tree recognition and our responsibility as owners/managers to the public, clients and road users.  When you hear of cases where people and organisations have been deemed to be negligent and trees have killed and seriously injured people and cars/buildings it’s easy to start looking at all trees as potential widow makers. Which it is why John introduced the veteran tree management aspect as a bolt on (but which can be booked as a separate course) as I’m sure we all know that veteran trees are becoming increasingly rare in this ‘health and safety gone mad’ age that we live in and that they are vitally important habitat for many rare invertebrates, fungi and other species further up the food chain, as well as being important links to our past woodland management heritage.

Although this course is quite ‘lecture based’ by its shear nature, John mixes it up with some more practical based activities in a woodland that has many different examples of management types so you get a clearer more rounded picture of what you’re learning. I was very impressed with how well John has managed the woodland that he has been leasing for over 10 years especially bearing in mind the amount of use it gets in terms of footfall and use of resources – I attended a year long Bushcraft instructors course in 2005/06 and it looks near enough the same and really well cared for. I have seen many other sites that people are using for running groups and recreational use that have looked tired and abused after only a few months. If I was to have one criticism of the course it would be that there was no time spent on how to write management plans, which as John said, there wasn’t the time for. Overall though I would say that this is a very good course taught by someone who has a very deep knowledge base and an awful lot of experience in all things woodlandy. I have picked up some excellent knowledge that I’ll be able to implement in my own wood as well as give some good advice to others.