Joe O'Leary and the Wilderness Survival Skills team of experienced, enthusiastic and friendly instructors teach a wide variety of fun and informative courses combining up to date training and knowledge with traditional skills and crafts. This mix of outdoors know how provides a total package for anyone wishing to increase their confidence on the trail or just learn more about the natural resources which surround us.
Our base camp is set in the heart of a 2,500 acre woodland surrounded by rolling hills and downland, near the village of Tisbury in Wiltshire. These ancient woodlands are inspiring; a mix of old hazel coppice, twisted moss covered oaks and silver birch with never ending views across the Wylye valley and beyond.
The course program runs for most of the year and includes one day courses, bushcraft weekends, five day bushcraft foundation courses, wild food foraging weekends, primitive skills and traditional crafts workshops, mountain navigation weekends and for the serious wilderness living enthusiast, a Hunter Gatherer challenge. We also offer an incredibly comprehensive 12 month training program incorporating all of the above.
Additionally, we regularly organise corporate team building events, team training, private courses for individuals or groups and even stag, hen and birthday parties in the woods. All courses are spent entirely outdoors however there are plenty of covered areas within the woods to enable lessons to carry on regardless of weather conditions. You will spend your nights under canvas or in a shelter you have made from the woodlands around you, warmed by a crackling campfire. Close neighbours will be Roe and Muntjac deer, foxes, badgers and buzzards.
On arrival, you will be thoroughly briefed on safety, wilderness hygiene, protection of the local woodland environment and there will always be a wilderness remote response first aider on hand. Teaching sessions will start with a general overview of the subject followed by a demonstration culminating with plenty of ‘hands on’ time to put the new skills into practice. Questions are welcome at any point and we strive to provide a ratio of one instructor to five students on all courses. All specialist tools will be provided and the personal kit you need to bring is minimal (there is no requirement to turn up looking as if you have coated yourselves with glue and run through an outdoor shop and we won’t expect anyone to wear animal skins either).
Food on Courses:
Our wilderness crafts workshops are all self-catered however our bushcraft and survival courses are fully catered.
Following our adopted theme of ‘any fool can be uncomfortable’ we positively discourage the eating of bland food and make use of seasonal wild herbs and ambitious campfire cooking techniques on our bushcraft and survival courses (any fool can eat boring meals). Wild game choices will include rabbit, pheasant, pigeon, trout, salmon and on certain courses, wild venison. Also, vegetarian and most other food preferences can be catered for if we know well in advance.
For all self catered courses you will have full use of our kitchen and cooking equipment. Personal camp fires are absolutely fine and fire wood is plentiful and free.