Bushed-whacked in Sherwood Forest!

Ranger Neil Taylor sets up camp ready for the Sherwood bushcraft events.
Ranger Neil Taylor sets up camp ready for the Sherwood bushcraft events.

A Forestry Commission initiative to give people of all ages a taste of life on the wild side is proving a big hit. Bushcraft is the latest craze to hit Sherwood Pines Forest Park with over 200 people signing up in just two months to acquire some of the skills that propelled Ray Mears and Bear Grylls to TV stardom.

Forest chiefs say that folk from London, Leicester and Liverpool are amongst those snubbing creature comforts to make their own shelter and spend a night in the 1,200 hectare (3,000 acre) beauty spot, near Clipstone, once Robin Hood’s backyard.

Ranger Karina Thornton, from the Forestry Commission, said: “We started short bushcraft sessions a few years ago, but since then they have snowballed. We have lots of people booking in to spend either a few hours learning fire lighting and shelter builder or going the full hog and doing an over-nighter. Some events are aimed at youngsters, but others target older folk with a sense of adventure.”

Those taking up the bushcraft challenge include youth groups, companies, schools, and friends looking for something different to do. People have also been checking into public events, the next of which takes place on 17 August with a family bushcraft session. An overnight family event also takes place on 23rd August.

Karina added: “The forest park might be just a few miles from urban areas, but once you are in your rustic shelter made from branches and brash in the middle of 1.5 million trees and with the owls hooting, it seems a world away. That’s part of the attraction – it is complete escapism.”

To cope with demand more sessions are being offered than ever before this year, centred on a bushcraft area located deep in the forest.

Other skills being taught include wood whittling, water purifying, tool use, campfire cooking, green wood working and traditional woodland crafts. Customised packages are also available. To find out more contact Karina Thornton on 01623 821459 or email katina.thornton@forestry.gsi.gov.uk

Forthcoming public bushcraft events include:

17th and 21st August, Bushcraft for Families, 10am - 3pm.

Join the rangers for a day of bushcraft activities. Learn shelter building and fire lighting techniques and have a go at a forest craft. £12.50 per person. Children must be over six years old.

7th, 14th, 21st and 28th August, Shelter Building, 10am - 12noon.

Build a shelter out of just forest materials. £5 per person. Children must be over five years old.

23rd August, Overnight Bushcraft for Families, 4pm - 10am.

Build your own shelter to sleep in using forest materials, learn fire lighting techniques and cook your dinner on the open fire. Dinner and breakfast provided - bring a sleeping bag. £40 per person. Children must be over eight years old.

Booking required on 01623 821459 or email katina.thornton@forestry.gsi.gov.uk