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Bespoke Bushcraft and primitive skills workshops.

Learn the skills you need to live in nature with or without modern kit!

Living By Nature

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Living By nature is one Europes TOP Bushcraft and ancient technology schools operating in the Netherlands, belgium, Dennmark and Sweden.

I'm pleased to announce that the renowned  YEAR COURSE is coming to the UK with Adam logan, Jamie Dakota and myself as instructors! If you want to really immerse yourself in Buscraft and learn how to be in nature without relying on modern kit, then  head over to HOWL Bushcraft and check out all this amazing course has to offer!

Primative and Modern bushcraft.

Bushcraft is both the oldest and newest outdoor pasttime.

 

Modern kit has its place, but so much of the time it serves to separate us from nature, to distance us from a deeper understanding of how our ancestors lived and the lives we were built for.

I have worked in the Bushcraft industry for most of my life, first with Woodlore founded by Ray Mears and more recently with Will Lord. I became frustrated with the increasing emphasis on gadgets and expensive equipment.

For me ' going back' to the ancient skills is a far more fulfilling way to interact with the outdoors- and it makes you appreciate the modern equipment all the more!

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How does it work?

Anthony Bourdain

The workshops are designed to be modular- you can assemble your own week long course or dip into different topics as you need. Courses will usually be conducted  from various sites in Suffolk, but can be conducted anywhere in the country. Costs vary a little depending on what materials are included in the course. Accomodation in the form of a place to camp is included, but you are welcome to use a local B&B if that suits. Decide which topics you want to cover, let me know by email and we can arrange a date that suits. Prices depend on which elements you choose and the materials included etc, but generally £150-£250 per day

Firemaking
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Fire Making

  • Small groups or 1 to 1 Fire making course
  • From core principles to reliable techniques.
  • Ancient, historical and modern techniques.
  • Learn to find tinder in the wild, and prepare firewood including feather sticks
  • 2 Day
Probably one the most important skills you can learn

The ability to make and use fire is what really separates us from other animals.

Ways to make, use and carry fire vary from place to place, and through history, but they all share the same basic principles and all require practice.

We will start with more modern (easier!) methods, and work backwards to fire by friction.

You may not immediately succeed at all methods in this intensive 2-day course, but you will have a solid understanding of the principles and a host of essential pointers on each technique enabling you to competently make a fire in the wild.

 

Making fire by ‘primitive‘ means is one of the best feelings in the world. 

 

Not just the knowledge that you’ve gained a skill that could save your life, but that you are sharing in a truly timeless human experience, and one that never fails to evoke a feeling of connection.

Includes; Fire principles, sources of ignition, flint and steel, Ferro rod, natural tinders, useful firelays, Bowdrill, intro to handrill.  and feathersticks.

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Foraging

  • Small groups or 1 to 1
  • Usually held at various sites in Suffolk, but I can come to you!
  • We will look at a range of plants depending on what we find but  it is likely to include a mixture of food, medicine, and other uses.
  • Pleasant low intensity day
  • 1 Day


We are taught in western terms that there are 'good plants' and 'Weeds' but to out ancestors this way of looking at nature would have been crazy!

Sitting anonymously in our hedgerows, woods and even lawns are powerful medicines, deadly poisons, delicious edibles and the raw materials for fire, basketry, carving projects, string even fishing hooks! Learning about plants is the key to unlocking a passion for nature and the potential for a closer relationship with it. You'll realise just how much is on your doorstep- even in urban settings. Courses are usually conducted from various sites in Suffolk, but I can also come to you and show you what is waiting in your area! 

This workshop will involve a fair bit of slow paced walking, so wear appropriate footwear. We will walk and gather, aiming to collect materials for a meal and some tea. We will stop for a lunch of wild goodies before continuing on our way.      

Learn to see the landscape through the eyes of a gatherer

Foraging
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Cordage and netmaking

  • Small groups or 1 to 1
  • From the basic cordage techniques to quicker more refined methods
  • Finding, gathering and processing natural fibres into string and rope
  • Learn techniques to deal with a variety of fibres from stems, barks, roots etc.
  • Intro to net making
  • 2 Days
The fabric of Prehistoric life

The ability to Tie things together changed history and prodded early humans further along the road of evolution. It freed up the hands to do other tasks even while carrying other things, made traps, nets and bundles possible and made it easier to hang things up to dry and store. Although its hard to be sure, Archaeologists generally accept that cordage of some sort has been with us for a million years or so- certainly Neanderthals were well versed in its manufacture as a tiny fragment recently recovered from cave sediment shows.

We will look at gathering and processing some seasonal natural fibres before moving on to the basics of cordage making. Once you've got the hang of basic 'finger twisting' we can go on to speedier techniques such as leg rolling which are really Key to creating larger quantities of cordage.

Netting is a fantastically useful, versatile material. It can be used to catch birds, game and of course fish; it can be used to bundle and carry loads, make traps, and even beds ( hammocks) Getting a new net started can be a bit tricky, but it is a very satisfying, meditative( almost addictive! ) process.

 

Cordage and netmaking
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Flint knapping

  • Small groups or 1 to 1
  • Understanding the structure and properties of flint​​​
  • Pressure flaking and direct percussion.
  • 1 Day

Prehistoric life was lived to the sound of stone cleaving stone. It was so much a part of life that presence of flint was often a key factor in whether a place was 'habitable' or not.

To knap successfull
y it helps to understand why flint behaves the way it does. We will start with smaller pieces- getting to grips with the techniques of shaping flint by producing arrowheads. In the afternoon we will move onto larger nodules learning to break them down into flakes suitable for hand axes and other tools. Knapping is not an easy skill to learn, and you will need more than a day to become proficient, but this workshop will set you off in the right direction!

 

See also Glass knapping below; the techniques of knapping are the same
 

Flintknapping
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Glass knapping
and 'post apocalyptic' knapping

  • Small groups or 1 to1
  • Sourcing Manmade materials suitable for knapping
  • creating fused glass ingots
  • Glass, ceramic etc
  • ​​​
  • Pressure flaking and direct percussion.
  • 1 Day

A modern take on an ancient art!

 

Many modern materials can be knapped to produce tools- including tile, ceramics, glass, even Toilet cisterns! This workshop is a fun way to access knapping for those who struggle to get hold of good flint, or crave the beautiful colours of glass. Whether you fancy arming a cosplay militia for an oncoming apocalypse, or making beautiful glass arrowheads for jewellery this workshop is for you!

Buckskin tanning
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Carving and whittling

  • Small groups or 1 to 1
  • Basic and more advanced whittling techniques​​​
  • Safe use of hand saws
  • Selecting suitable wood for projects
  • Try a selection of different knives
  • 1 Day

Being able to use a knife confidently and competently makes life in the outdoors so much easier that you'll wonder how you managed without. My knife is my near constant companion outdoors and I miss it when I'm forced to leave it behind by our countries increasingly idiotic knife laws. We will start with some basic techniques and a look at which knives are well suited to Bushcraft and why to make things for around camp then move on to a carving project- usually a spoon or netting needle)

There will be a selection of knives to try so you can get an idea of what suits you. This is suitable for adults and/ or children over the age of 8. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Group sizes on this workshop are restricted to 5 to allow for close supervision and tailored teaching.

Carving and whitting
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Buckskin tanning

  • Small groups or 1 to 1
  • selecting and obtaining hides
  • Storing and preserving
  • modern and ancient tools for Fleshing and scraping
  • Making buckskin including graining, braining,  softening and smoking
  • 3 Days with some waiting around- combines well with other workshops.
The original outdoor clothing

Never successfully commercialised, never bettered; Buckskin really is a wonder material. It is luxuriously soft, warm, breathable, extremely durable, quiet......

Producing buckskin is a lot of work its true, but to wear a material that you have known as intimately as that is to understand what it takes to really live in nature. There's nothing like it. The process takes time, and elbow grease, but the resulting leather is a story of your journey into hide working. We will work through the whole process, so that you have the knowledge it takes to practice at home. Because there are some stages where the hide has to be left to soak, this course works best alongside another- that way while the hide is soaking, we an work on another skill. ( I suggest NOT knapping as small cuts on the hands are not helpful when working with skins.)

 

We will start with where to obtain skins including roadkill; the best methods for skinning suitable animals and how to store them if you need to. Then we will get to grips with the first stage of hide processing; fleshing. Throughout I will give  you the opportunity to experiment with modern and ancient tools. ( If you paired this course with bone and antler working you could make some of your own!) This workshop is physically hard work- be prepared to sweat! The final result should be a beautifully soft skin of buckskin which you can use to make clothing, bags footwear- anything you want!
 

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Fur Tanning

  • Small groups or 1 to 1
  • Selecting and obtaining pelts, including skinning small animals
  • Storing and preserving
  • Modern and ancient tools for Fleshing and scraping.
  • Wet and dry scraping.
  • Different approaches to fat tanning
  • Softening and smoking
  • 2 Days
Fur Tanning


Ever driven past a fresh roadkill and thought 'that's a shame' Ever been processing animals for food and wished you knew how to use the skin?

 

Well this workshop is for you. We will work on a couple of skins- usually squirrel and fox but if you want to bring your own you're welcome. We'll begin with the skinning process itself, before dealing with the skins. By the end of the weekend you will know how to skin an animal, wet and dry scrape smaller skins, make flint scrapers, tan, soften and smoke to produce beautiful soft furs that can be turned into clothing, blankets and other items. Workshop will be held outdoors, in the natural surroundings of a Suffolk woodland.

Fur is a controversial subject nowadays, but in extreme cold there really is nothing better. Without it our ancestors would never have been able to move north and find their way into Northern Europe and Eurasia. 

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Leather pouches

  • Small groups or 1 to 1
  • Uses and history
  • Seam and construction methods
  • decoration techniques 
  • 1 Day
Leather pouches

You can never have too many pouches; the ability to organise and protect precious essential items stops much needed things from getting lost or damaged. For many nomadic peoples these essential items often become creative outlet to show personal flair, family history and a great way to utilize small pieces of fur and leather.

This is a relaxed day or crafting and sewing. Materials supplied ( but feel free to bring any special bits and pieces you wish to include.

We will look at construction methods, how to cut and piece fur, decorative techniques and different seam finishes. This workshop is an excellent one to pair with either of my tanning workshops, but I also provide a range of materials and tools 

Leather pouches
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Jewellery and beadmaking

  • Small groups or 1 to 1
  • Bone, antler, mammoth ivory, shell, tooth and  eggshell and amber
  • Knapping drills and burins
  • Shaping and drilling with stone tools
  • Cordage
  • 1 Day
millennia of identity and adornment

Jewellery has been part of human society for a long time. The oldest known beads are 140,000 years old; pierced shells from Morocco. Looking and the discoloured survivors dug from cave sediments and ancient burials its hard to appreciate how spectacular they would have looked and what it took to make them, often in huge numbers.

We will start with some simple knapping to make the tools we will need for the day. We will then start with some basic techniques to drill shell, tooth and other materials. We will look at processing materials down into blanks. By the end of the workshop you will have range of techniques at your fingertips and knowledge of how to obtain, process and use a Shell, bone, antler, tooth, stone and even mammoth ivory. We will use a mixture of ancient and modern tools and by the end you should have a range of unique beads to string into a necklace using your own handmade cordage.

Jewelery and beadmaking
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Bone and Antler

  • Small groups or 1 to 1
  • sourcing and preparing bone
  • Knapping drills and burins
  • Shaping and drilling with stone tools (and modern)
  • Choosing the right bone for the job!
  • 1 Day
Much more than 'leftovers'

Bone and antler were hugely important materials to our ancestors. Not only were they used to shape flint into tools, they were essential to many tools and implements in their own right.

 

Understanding and appreciating this incredibly strong and versatile material will give you a new way to honor animals you process for food, and make the most of all those lovely bones that present themselves to you when you're out in nature.

We will begin with an overview of different types and states of bone- What is best for a particular project- fresh, cooked, weathered?
 Which part of the animal lends itself to a particular project?

 

 You will learn how to process bones and antlers down into usable sections using flint tools, modern tools and even fire! We will then go on to process the blanks into whatever objects take your fancy- awls, needles, fish hooks, hide processing tools, weapons hairpins, cloakpins and whatever else takes your fancy.
 

Antler ad bone
Game prep
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Small  game preparation

  • Small groups or 1 to 1
  • sourcing and preparing rabbit, pheasant or similar
  • Using and producing flint flakes for butchery
  • Skinning, gutting plucking and jointing
  • Checking the animals health.
  • 1 Day
Small game, big possibilities!

Although the large animals that roamed our ancient landscapes were a hugely important part of stone age life, small game also provided much needed food and fur. Small animals can be trapped in large numbers- A method that can be used by those who might not be fit or strong enough to go on major hunts. Smaller animals likely filled in the gaps between sucessful large animal hunts.

Effectively utilizing these smaller creatures is KEY to survival. We will look at different methods of skinning/ plucking and butchering smaller game and making the most of the other organs and skin.
 

The meat will provide lunch on the day, and there will likely be some to take home. We can also take the time to look at some methods of trapping and snaring.

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Large game

  • Small groups or 1 to 1
  • sourcing and preparing deer
  • Using and producing flint flakes for butchery
  • Skinning, gutting and jointing
  • Making sausages, jerky, equilibrium curing
  • Checking the animals health.
  • making use of organs, bones etc.
  • 2 Days
The stuff of life; Meat


Small animals are an important part of survival, but without the skins, organs, fat and sinew of Deer, boar and other large animals our ancestors would have struggled.

 

Butchering nowadays is often done soley for the meat. Valuable resources are ignored and left in the scraps pile. We will take a different approach, becoming familiar with the structure of the animal in a different way, dismantling the carcass in a way that allows us to use EVERYTHING. This course will take place over 2 days. On day one will will process the carcass down to larger joints and cuts, carefully separating useful bones and tendons on the way.

On day 2 we will look at making sausages, jerky and curing meat. Bring a cool box to transport your meat home and make sure there's space in the freezer!

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Buckskin Clothing

  • Small groups or 1 to 1
  • basic principles of using skins
  • Draping and pattern cutting
  • Construction methods and seams
  • Fitting and altering
  • Decoration including beadwork, fringeing, possibly quillwork
  • 3 Days
More than a simple covering.

Whether you've put in the scores of work hours required to make your own buckskin, or just want to channel your inner 'Mountain man' or pioneer this will be useful to you! Cutting into leather can be daunting, no matter whether its bought or laboriously made. For this workshop we will be using commercially made Chamois. This material is neither as hard wearing nor as strong as the real thing, but it does provide an affordable, and easy to sew way to practice the skill of pattern cutting without having to make a hoard of Buckskin first. ( of course if you already have buckskin, you are welcome to bring it)

You will learn the basics of fitting a simple shirt, different finishes for seams and the best way to use them. Depending on progress you will have time and support to customise your shirt with beads, tassels and other elements. ( 5 chamois skins included, more available for purchase if needed)

buckskin clothing
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