Our woodlands are something that we often take for granted. They are ever-present but often not noticed.
So, if we pause for a moment and think about it, there may be a few surprises in store for us. Apart from the more obvious benefits in terms of the landscape we see, habitats for wildlife and as places to visit and enjoy, woodlands can also provide many other benefits.
Woodlands can provide many of the essentials of life – food, fuel and shelter. In a new venture here at Green Light Trust we ran some bushcraft courses over the Easter holiday in our Frithy Wood in Lawshall. Led by an experienced buschcraft instructor, Mark Barker, 14 young people from Bury and the surrounding area took part in a wide range of activities to learn new skills, develop their self-confidence and find out how they might survive in the outdoors. And above all, they had a lot of fun!
Bushcraft is about surviving and thriving outdoors in the natural environment. It requires knowledge and skills. And it involves developing a good level of environmental awareness. Activities included shelter building, foraging for food, firecraft, making and using basic hand tools such as cooking implements and so on. These skills were well known to our ancestors and were essential to their lives and very survival. Many of these skills are still practiced today in many countries around the world.
Those taking part worked individually, in pairs and in bigger teams, using a variety of hand tools to create a natural shelter that was habitable and strong enough to last for up to a month. Weatherproofing the shelter, especially as it was snowing at the time, was a key aspect of the exercise. In addition, those taking part learnt how to make a fire, without using matches, so that they could prepare and cook food.
The events were a great success and enjoyed by all taking part. One participant summed up their experience by saying: “I really enjoyed the course and am looking forward to the summer one.”
Green Light Trust will be running more Bushcraft Experience Days over the summer holiday. More information, including costs and booking information, will be on the Green Light Trust website www.greenlighttrust.org
Demand is expected to be high, so early booking is advised. Perhaps the day is best summed up by one word from several of the participants – Brilliant!