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Learning bushcraft skills as a family

Bushcraft is the art of living in a natural environment, using the resources that it provides. With the right skills and knowledge, not only can you survive outdoors, but, in fact, live very comfortably indeed. Bushcraft covers a range of competencies including fire lighting and cooking, shelter building, plant identification and uses, navigation, hunting and fishing, cord making, water sourcing and much more. Every natural environment is unique, governed by climate, geology and its history amongst other things. Consequently, you can only learn so much from a book. To really master bushcraft you need to get outside and try it for yourself.

 

The Wilderness Gathering is the oldest running bushcraft festival in the UK. Set in the stunning Wiltshire countryside, the festival really is a gathering of some of the most knowledgeable and skilled bushcraftsman from both the UK and further afield.

Over the summer we were fortunate to spend five days at the Wilderness Gathering, The Wilderness Gathering is the oldest running bushcraft festival in the UK. Set in the stunning Wiltshire countryside at the Bush Farm Bison Centre, the festival really is a gathering of some of the most knowledgeable and skilled bushcraftsman from both the UK and further afield.

 

The Wilderness Gathering is the oldest running bushcraft festival in the UK. Set in the stunning Wiltshire countryside, the festival really is a gathering of some of the most knowledgeable and skilled bushcraftsman from both the UK and further afield.

A combination of workshops, demonstrations and masterclasses were on offer in a huge range of bushcraft skills. Everything from skinning a deer and curing fish skin to making cordage and boat making. There was an incredible array of things to do, and new skills to try. One highlight for us as a family was a three-hour flint-knapping masterclass with Will Lord. Will is a leading expert on prehistoric survival skills and he, and his lovely wife are truly inspiring.  I'd have happily stayed in their atmospheric tent for the duration of the gathering!

The Wilderness Gathering is the oldest running bushcraft festival in the UK. Set in the stunning Wiltshire countryside, the festival really is a gathering of some of the most knowledgeable and skilled bushcraftsman from both the UK and further afield.

The Wilderness Gathering is the oldest running bushcraft festival in the UK. Set in the stunning Wiltshire countryside, the festival really is a gathering of some of the most knowledgeable and skilled bushcraftsman from both the UK and further afield.

The Wilderness Gathering is the oldest running bushcraft festival in the UK. Set in the stunning Wiltshire countryside, the festival really is a gathering of some of the most knowledgeable and skilled bushcraftsman from both the UK and further afield.

The Wilderness Gathering is the oldest running bushcraft festival in the UK. Set in the stunning Wiltshire countryside, the festival really is a gathering of some of the most knowledgeable and skilled bushcraftsman from both the UK and further afield.

The Wilderness Gathering is the oldest running bushcraft festival in the UK. Set in the stunning Wiltshire countryside, the festival really is a gathering of some of the most knowledgeable and skilled bushcraftsman from both the UK and further afield.

The Wilderness Gathering is the oldest running bushcraft festival in the UK. Set in the stunning Wiltshire countryside, the festival really is a gathering of some of the most knowledgeable and skilled bushcraftsman from both the UK and further afield.

The Wilderness Gathering really is a celebration of bushcraft. Everyone there was happy to chat, share their knowledge and learn from the other participants. The festival has an underpinning theme of experimental archaeology as methods and theories are tried out and tested. Each instructor had an in-depth knowledge of the skills they displayed, including methods used in different parts of the world, as well as a historical perspective. It really opened our eyes to how primitive man managed to thrive in his environment. The beauty and intricacy of artistry exhibited showed that they did far more than just survive.

The Wilderness Gathering is the oldest running bushcraft festival in the UK. Set in the stunning Wiltshire countryside, the festival really is a gathering of some of the most knowledgeable and skilled bushcraftsman from both the UK and further afield.

The Wilderness Gathering is the oldest running bushcraft festival in the UK. Set in the stunning Wiltshire countryside, the festival really is a gathering of some of the most knowledgeable and skilled bushcraftsman from both the UK and further afield.

The Wilderness Gathering is the oldest running bushcraft festival in the UK. Set in the stunning Wiltshire countryside, the festival really is a gathering of some of the most knowledgeable and skilled bushcraftsman from both the UK and further afield.

The Wilderness Gathering is the oldest running bushcraft festival in the UK. Set in the stunning Wiltshire countryside, the festival really is a gathering of some of the most knowledgeable and skilled bushcraftsman from both the UK and further afield.

The Wilderness Gathering is the oldest running bushcraft festival in the UK. Set in the stunning Wiltshire countryside, the festival really is a gathering of some of the most knowledgeable and skilled bushcraftsman from both the UK and further afield.

The Wilderness Gathering is the oldest running bushcraft festival in the UK. Set in the stunning Wiltshire countryside, the festival really is a gathering of some of the most knowledgeable and skilled bushcraftsman from both the UK and further afield.

We came home from the Gathering inspired, rejuvenated and with new skills to practice. Thank you to everyone who took so much time to explain their craft to us. Bushcraft is something that everyone can learn, and we can't wait to share some of our new techniques with you over the coming weeks. If you'd like to know more about next years Wilderness Gathering, you can find all the details on their website.

The Wilderness Gathering is the oldest running bushcraft festival in the UK. Set in the stunning Wiltshire countryside, the festival really is a gathering of some of the most knowledgeable and skilled bushcraftsman from both the UK and further afield.

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12 Comments

  • Reply Ashley Beolens

    Something I would dearly love to learn, not only fun but useful for emergencies.

    October 9, 2017 at 12:32 am
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      I think you’ve hit the nail on the head Ashley, you never know when these skills could suddenly become invaluable!

      October 14, 2017 at 11:41 pm
  • Reply Sadhna Grover

    Hi Sarah, I had no idea about this bushcraft skills. After reading this blog post now I know they are really interesting skills. I would love to read more skills in coming weeks through your posts.

    September 20, 2017 at 4:08 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      They are fascinating to learn Sadhna. I think that a few generations ago all our ancestors would have had such an amazing skill set which has now been largely forgotten.

      October 6, 2017 at 9:30 am
  • Reply nikki

    This is so cool! I need to learn some of these skills, I’m not sure that I could start a fire! Let alone make sure that I knew how to make an arrowhead so that we could have meat to eat. It looks like the kids had a blast, can’t wait to see what you’ve learned. I love coming here and seeing what you are up to, you truly amaze me!

    September 20, 2017 at 3:51 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      We’re having great fun learning the skills although I suspect having to rely on them would be a challenge. I’d love the opportunity to really test myself although I’m not sure my family entirely share my enthusiasm for going totally wild Nikki 🙂

      October 6, 2017 at 9:28 am
  • Reply FLORENCE @ VintageSouthernPicks

    This sounds fascinating, and I’d like to learn more about what y’all learned. I’ve never heard of “bushcrafting,” but the way you describe it sounds like something called “Foxfire.” I believe that’s the name, but it’s to do with natural living. I don’t know a lot about it frankly, but there used to be a whole movement around it.

    September 20, 2017 at 2:50 am
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      Oh I will google Foxfire Florence – that’s a term I’ve never heard before so looks like we’re both learned a new term 🙂

      October 6, 2017 at 9:24 am
  • Reply Tara

    Wow! It looks like you learned a lot during your time at the Wilderness Gathering. I can’t wait to hear more about some of the techniques you learned!

    September 20, 2017 at 2:31 am
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      It was a wonderful few days Tara – we’re still feeling the relaxing effects of it as a family. It did us so much good!

      October 6, 2017 at 9:22 am
  • Reply Michelle Leslie

    Oh my word Sarah, I would love to do something like this. I’ve been on one day bush craft workshops (I’m not sure that’s the right word) in the Kruger National Park and it was an eye opener, but they didn’t cover half the things you guys experienced. The kids look so content in the photos too.

    September 19, 2017 at 4:40 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      We had such a great week Michelle, I am convinced bushcraft is good for the Soul! I’d love to experience bushcraft in some other countries and yours is top of my list – oh maybe I should have a bushcraft bucket list!

      October 6, 2017 at 9:20 am

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