Author Archives: Neil

Dirty, Sexy,Things!!! & Being Busy!!!

Have’nt had a chance to get on here for a while as things have been so busy (it’s brilliant!).
First things first – it looks like the edition of Dirty Sexy Things (the one we were involved with the shooting of) is being screened on Monday night on E4 @ 10.00pm. Who knows what the finished article will be like, but it was lots of fun – and everyone was really nice.
We are running sessions at Forgewood campsite again this year and it has been reallly well recieved. August sees us at Bedgebury Camping too!
Both sites are featured in the “Cool Camping” guides and are really “chilled” (a great place for a great few days away, where you can have real fires and relax among the trees).
Well Leon & I both have our teaching boxes to check & re-pack ready for the weekend, so I must sign off.

This is where it all happens!

Hippos, hedgerows & Facebook!

A while since I posted last I know!
The season started early for us (if it did actually stop at all!) and it has been reallly busy with lots of time in the woods.
The weather has been amazing and it has definately an effect on everyone.
As well as our regular clients the last few weeks has seen us working with fashion models (getting back to nature) in the woods for a tv production company, to some large groups of family campers at Forgewood campsite and this weekend just passed, the “Row Zambezi” team (survival skills, plus a dawn “hippo-attack”).
We have also set up a Facebook page, where people can post photos of time spent with us (its looking good- go have a look).

Tracks,trails & disappearing snow

Well we got out together for a walk (Leon is in Devon & I’m normally in Kent), the festive season has taken me to Devon to spend time with my family (the usual – eat too much – drink too much, the same as everyone else over Christmas).
When we meet up we normally head for the moors – either the open tops and wild expanses of the north or south moors or a wander into one of the many wooded valleys.
The moors today was a place of crumbling atmospheres, the mist was clinging heavily to the ground and so we came off the tops and headed for the woods, a place that time seems to have forgotten.
The moss hangs from the trees and clings to the rocks like an expensive carpet.
The melt from the snow had caused the river to rise to almost deafening levels.
The focus of our day was one of the most elusive residents of the valley – the otter.
On certain parts of the river the local otters live and if you choose your time and look in the right places, then you can see plenty of evidence that the population is healthy and still as secretive as ever.

No Snow…..

Just had another few days out teaching bushcraft.
Excitedly I had checked the forecasts for the week (snow in northern Britian and cold).
I packed accordingly – plently of layers, my new homemade underblanket for the hammock (and my snow shovel just in case!!).
Well it was cold …. and very wet. Just keeping the students warmer than the bunnies they were preparing was a battle. My down-time between groups was spent sawing and splitting fire wood.
My usual carving by the fireside in the evening was modified to short bursts, stopping to re-warm my hands by the fire.
The only snow I saw was just starting to fall as I arrived home!
But hey the holidays are on the way so maybe a night in a quinze will still happen.
Here are a couple of photos of some more carving (but this one is for me!!)

Me Time…….

This year ……. where has it gone?

It has been a busy year, I seem to have been on jobs everywhere! Scotland, Cornwall, Wales and just about everywhere in between.

But now things start to wind down a little and I get to spend some time in the woods (we spend most of our time in the woods, I know, but normally we have clients along and our focus is on them). So at this time of year is when you get a chance to try new things, experiment with new recipes or learn new skills.

I got up  early, packed my daysack, called in to see a client for a job for next year and then headed for a little patch of local woodland that is always quiet. Under my arm I carried a freshly cut log of Alder that I had picked up on a job ealier in the week.

So what shall I make?…….Another spoon? (I have hundreds!!!)……A Kuksa?………Then I remembered……..the festive season is approaching (one of the joys of not having a regular tv – I’m not bombarded with Xmas adverts from the end of September onwards!).

So here are a couple of pictures of what I made…..

A week in the woods!!!

This week I have been working with young people in Kent. Its a chance for them to come out and experience the woods and do things that kids used to do before health & safety wrapped them all in cotton wool and brain-washed them all into being politically correct.
One of the teachers commented “this is great, it is all the DANGEROUS things they are’nt allowed to do”. All we did with them was to show them how to build a debris shelter (in which they could sit and have lunch) and then the basics of firelighting. For the youngsters it something totally different and some you could see it in their eyes that they had found their element, something and somewhere that they were comfortable with. We will see as I will be taking the same groups for another week out in a few months time.
I normally arrive on site the day before the job is due to start, do a recce of the area, build a shelter (which is home for the week, but is also for demonstration) and get all of my prep in for the following few days.
The kids are brought in by mini-bus each day and they normally leave by mid afternoon, leaving me the rest of the day to “play” in the woods on my own – its great!!!
This week I did some carving, spent some time tracking fallow dear through the woods, some baking, a fungi walk and some axe work with my Hudson Bay Camp axe.
The weather as always was very variable, beautiful sunshine – monsoon like rain that lasted a day and a half and at times really quite cold. But I was comfortable and dry in my little debris hut and with a small fire in front, at times a little to warm.

Me - start of the week

Me - start of the week

DSC00833 (Medium)
End of the week

End of the week


Just popped on a pan of boiling oil and finished hammering 6 inch nails thru inch thick boards and layed them down across the path that leads to the front door. Earlier (using an air rifle) I removed several street lights, creating an oasis of darkness around us.
The dogs are still a bit “miffed” about not being fed this week, but on the plus side they really are moving quick (they shredded that dummy we dressed in a witches costume in seconds!)
Well its really dark out there now, so its probably about time to light the pumpkin lanterns, arm the tripwires and sit and wait!!
Trick or Treat????