Bushcraft: Who, What, When, Where, Why and How?

What is bushcraft?

Bushcraft is the art of survival in the bush. The are many aspects of this, from purifying water to hunting. There are basic skills, like fire starting, to some very advanced techniques, like foraging and trapping food, and all of them are covered under this very broad blanket of “bushcraft”.

When did it get started?Shelter and Food

The history of bushcraft is the history of humanity. As we’ve moved into towns and cities, fewer people have found it necessary to learn what used to be very basic skills. There does seem to be a recent surge of interest, possibly thanks to reality shows and some stars like Ray Mears and Bear Grylls.  But really, there has always been a core of people who have bushcraft at the heart of their style of living.

Who does it? Who can do it?

Anyone can do it! That’s one of the great things about bushcraft is that it brings people together. Scouts have been learning these skills from their very beginnings. But now, schools are finding that it is fantastic for kids to learn how to cook a meal in the woods. Families are learning how to work together to build a shelter using everyone’s abilities. Businesses are discovering that stepping away from the computer for awhile makes their employees more productive and satisfied. While many of the skills learned are individual, they’re all about survival and humanity survives best in groups!

Why do they do it?

Everyone has their own reason. Some do it for fun, some do it because they spend a lot of time outdoors and want to be prepared if they end up stranded some how. Some do it to survive a coming zombie apocalypse, some do it as part of living sustainably. Many find that they are tired of staring at a screen for hours every day and want to try something new. One of the great things about learning bushcraft is that you get a sense of achievement every time you learn a new skill. And at the end of the day, it’s useful to have any of these skills and they’re fun to learn. 

Where is it done?

You can learn the basic skills anywhere, but it’s probably best done “in the bush”. This just means somewhere wild. Some skills can only be properly experienced by being outdoors, like foraging.  But be aware that what you think is “wild” may belong to someone, so make sure you have the appropriate permissions for whatever you plan to do. This article gives a very detailed account of what you need to think about in terms of access if you are doing any bushcraft in the UK.

How do you get started?

It’s easy to get started. There are millions of websites dedicated to bushcraft in all it’s forms. Take a minute and think about what interests you most about it and why you want to do it. Think about the basic skills you want to start with. Then just get in there and do it! Learn to build a fire and build a basic shelter. When you find how much fun it is to build a fire and how satisfying eating something you cooked on that fire, you’ll be hooked.

For most people, it’s best to find someone to teach you. While looking for an instructor, be aware that there is no such thing as a National Governing Body that awards instructors certificates in Bushcraft. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t qualifications, though. Just remember that the best thing a bushcraft instructor can have is experience. And, to be honest, it’s the best thing you can have as well. So get some experience!

 

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Parkwood Outdoors Dolygaer is an activity centre based in the south of the Brecon Beacons, just a 15 minute drive from Merthyr Tydfil. We offer a fantastic range of activities suitable for all ages and abilities

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