Explore the art of rewilding with these awesome bushcraft courses that will sharpen your wildcraft skills
Bushcraft courses are increasingly common in the UK and Europe. Since the dawn of time, we humans have found ways to keep nature at bay and to insulate ourselves from the cold chill of winter.
As we have seen in recent times, our life here on this planet is fragile. The fine balance of the living organism we call Earth is under threat.
If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is that the human species exists on a tightrope between survival and extinction.
Modern Western societies are heavily reliant on the systems that serve capitalism. These failing structures are part of the problem.
It’s past time we returned to the land and remembered how to trust ourselves out in the wild.
Bushcraft skills for modern times
Survival in the modern paradigm has been reduced to glib exercises in futility. It is rare indeed to experience the thrill of real connection with nature in our day-to-day lives.
We spend most of our time wrapped in the cotton wool of convenience. Seduced by the delusion that if things get serious we could go full Ray Mears at the drop of a hat and live to tell the tale.
Unless you’re a professional explorer or full-time nomad, it’s hard to imagine spending extended lengths of time in the wild to learn the bushcraft skills required to survive.
Happily, there are some brave and committed souls dedicated to reframing our relationship with nature and how we live our lives.
In this inspiring article, we’ve rounded up an eclectic and off-beat selection of bushcraft courses from across the UK and Europe to get you out of the armchair and into the wild.
Wildcraft Survival Weekend; Bushcraft skills for Rewilding
Begin your bushcraft education with the Wildcraft Survival Weekend. This challenging yet educational course introduces the ancient technologies of our ancestors and applies them to our daily lives.
Starting with a wild fire, learners work with the primal elements to reconnect with nature.
This first moment of connection invites participants to reassess their relationship with the great outdoors.
Learning to see through the eyes of the tracker, simple lessons in the art of foraging and tracking skills are given to deepen understanding of the subtle shift in the environment that indicates possible food sources.
Wild, edible, and medicinal plants are discovered as the course progresses and new skills are forged to help develop confidence and independence in the natural world.
Paleolithic Survival School; Bushcraft courses in the UK
Learn essential bushcraft skills on this two-year multi-weekend course at Paleolithic Survival School with Wild Earth Project in Bristol.
This advanced bushcraft course has been created as a drop-in format specifically for busy folks to spread the activities over dates that fit their diary.
Starting with a deep dive into essential ‘Earth Living Skills’ this is a fantastic course that equips learners with the skills to thrive in any terrain.
Eight weekends of experiential hands-on learning are at the heart of this practical and nourishing bushcraft course.
The first weekend starts this March in Gloucestershire with a focus on fire, flint, and wild food.
Since children are off school for the foreseeable future, perhaps it’s time to rewild them with some outdoor education in bushcraft skills?
Rewilding through myth and storytelling
The Wandering Court programme run by the West Country School of Myth is a five-weekend romp through the ancient myths of the land.
Immersive and intense, this storytelling course taps into the song lines of nations to decipher the messages left behind in the stories of old.
Scholars are invited to dismantle cultural narratives to understand more deeply what is beneath – what is being concealed from us – in the stories we tell ourselves about who we are.
What is the difference between shelter and comfort?
Storytelling as rewilding may at first appear a tenuous link, but rewilding is a process that requires a shift in consciousness, and only in reframing our perspective of how we live can we survive in a rapidly changing world.
In my opinion, there is magic in the stories we tell, and the more we open up to the old ways and the lessons bound in myth, the better equipped we are to thrive in these post-pandemic times.
While this is not strictly a bushcraft course in a practical sense, it is the essential psychological preparation for a life lived in harmony with ourselves and the land.
A Cretan Vision Quest; Rewilding in Europe
The Art of Re-Wilding will take you on a captivating Cretan adventure this coming Spring in the mythical south-east of Crete.
Enjoy a secluded 12 day guided retreat in the stunning Asterousian mountains.
“ A rite of passage is primarily geared toward our need for creating consciousness; consciousness about oneself, one’s place in the world, and about the world itself.”
— Betsy Perluss
Activities will include solo fasting, experiments in truth, and deep listening.
The main process invites participants to commune with nature in a full solo immersion to seek guidance and counsel.
This experience is often profound, transformative, and deeply nourishing. The 2021 programme takes place from 13th – 25th April in the Asterousias region of Crete.
DIY Rewilding – the microadventure
This is arguably my favourite form of rewilding. I’m naturally drawn to self-supported adventures and expeditions.
There are no hard or fast rules to rewilding. I’ve mentioned already the tradition of the vision quest as a rite of passage.
Another way of shifting into an alternate state of consciousness is by way of a microadventure. The term microadventure was coined and popularised by British adventurer Alastair Humphreys.
A microadventure is an adventure that is short, simple, local, cheap – yet still fun, exciting, challenging, refreshing and rewarding.
– Alastair Humphreys
A microadventure is essentially a night away from home under the stars. It’s a way to shake up the psyche with a stimulating overnight experience.
Perfect for those seeking to recalibrate on a short time window. It’s a lot like a homegrown bushcraft course in that you have to figure it all out on the hoof by yourself.
Just the way it would have been for our hunter-gathering cousins. Better take a ration pack just in case!
Follow Al on Instagram @Al_Humphreys for microadventures and more.
Autumn’s Embrace in the Scottish Highlands
Peel back the layers with an immersive rewilding retreat in the Scottish Highlands this autumn.
Connect with the Gaelic language, song and story-telling on this inspiring Sacred Warrior programme in Fort William
The experience will include holistic herbalism, daily movement and meditation practice, hiking and nature connection, creative exploration, and medicine making.
“healing happens through re-awakening an intuitive connection to ourselves, the natural world and our own “inner-wild.”
– Vanessa Chakour, Founder
Daily elemental themes will guide the activities around the Earth, Water, Fire, Air, and Ether. As the days unfold these essential skills are honed on this holistic bushcraft course.
Exploration of these themes will inform the building blocks of the takeaway skills that support a healing and healthy home life.
ReWilding for Women; All-female bushcraft courses
Join Sabrina Lynn for a rewilding experience that’s just for women.
Though not technically bushcraft courses, these resources are designed to empower women to reclaim their innate power – just the way nature intended!
Investigate your true potentiality through shamanic, tantric, and feminine practices that will reveal your full power and sensuality as a woman.
In-person courses are currently postponed due to the pandemic however, there is a free 7-Day Reunion Experience workshop available online right now.
There’s also an extensive ReWilding for Women podcast with over 100 episodes to choose from.
Check out the ReWilding for Women Instagram.
Wilderness Gathering; a festival of bushcraft and music
Billed as a family-friendly weekend of bushcraft, music, wild camping, and open fires, WIlderness Gathering is just the tonic for the post-lockdown summer season.
Enjoy a fun-packed four days of bushcraft courses, survival skills workshops, and woodland wild foraging feasts at the UK’s longest-running wildcraft and primitive living festival.
At this hands-on social gathering, days are filled with interactive events to hone the practical outdoor living skills that have been handed down through the generations.
As is tradition with many UK festivals there is a significant musical element by the night. Celebrate the best of the native myth and folklore tradition in song around the fire.
Children are well represented at Wilderness Gathering with specific workshops and events just for kids. Expect happy faces all round at this annual celebration of the great outdoors.
Bushcraft courses for rewilding further reading
Rewild is arguably the most comprehensive rewilding resource online.
The website states: ‘restoring ancestral ways of living that create greater health and well-being for humans and the ecosystems that we belong to’.
“The tribal life and no other is the gift of natural selection to humanity. It is to humanity what pack life is to wolves, pod life is to whales, and hive life is to bees. After three or four million years of human evolution, it alone emerged as the social organization that works for people. People like the tribal organization because it works equally well for all members.”
– Daniel Quinn, Beyond Civilization: Humanity’s Next Great Adventure