bushcraft camp

Bushcraft weekend survival skills in North East England, the North Pennines, Northumberland, Durham and Kielder

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bushcraft cooking on a camp fire

Bushcraft weekend survival skills: shelter, fire, food and water

The bushcraft weekend allows more time to practice skills and look in more depth than the one day course. It is aimed at beginners and those with some basic knowledge wanting to improve their skills. During the bushcraft weekend you’ll learn the key skills needed to survive: different ways of building a shelter from natural materials, useful knots and a range of tarp shelter set ups, how to light a fire several different ways in difficult conditions, fire by friction using a bow drill, how to manage a fire and cook on it, wild food foraging, wild medicines and how to ensure you have a supply of safe water. During the weekend you'll use your knife and other tools to make some very useful items, developing your tool use skills.

You can stay overnight and sleep in your shelter by arrangement and an additional payment (see below). You will then get your fire going again in the morning and cook your breakfast on it. It doesn't have to be a weekend you can also book two consecutive days during the week.

You can book the bushcraft weekend privately, continue below, or you can join one of these publicly available bushcraft weekends at Hamsterley Forest in partnership with the Forestry Commission:

March 17th and 18th 2018
June 16th and 17th 2018
September 8th and 9th 2018
December 15th and 16th 2018


Shelter building

Shelter is essential; it protects us from the weather, keeps us warm and dry and is psychologically important for morale.
  • You’ll learn how to make a one person emergency shelter using the materials found around you
  • You’ll learn how to make a lean-to cold weather shelter that maximises the benefit you get from the warmth of your fire.
  • You'll learn a range of knots and put up a tarpaulin shelter

Fire lighting

Firis one of the oldest skills known to mankind; it is thought that our evolution as an intelligent, dominant species was helped greatly by our ability to cook raw food. Firecraft is a central survival skill; it warms us, it dries us, it makes water safe to drink, it cooks our food, it lifts morale.
  • You’ll learn several different ways to generate a flame without using matches including with flint and steel
  • You’ll learn the ultimate in fire lighting techniques, fire by friction, using a bow drill
  • You’ll find out about collecting, preparing and using a wide range of tinders to get the flame going
  • You’ll learn how to build the flame up into a fire you can cook over
  • You’ll learn ways of lighting fire in wet conditions
  • You’ll learn how to manage the fire from start to finish to minimise impact on the surroundings.

Knife and tool use

You'll learn how to sharpen knives and axes and undertake a number of useful projects that will develop your skills.

By arrangement and for an additional fee you can sleep in your shelter. Please ask for details and discuss with us before paying.


Foraging for wild food and medicines

There is plenty of food growing wild around us. 7,000 years ago, our ancestors started growing their own food but before that we hunted wild animals and picked wild plants to eat. It was really important to know what was edible and what was poisonous; it could be a matter of life or death!

This is an introductory activity to a very big subject we’ll get you off on the right foot. We’ll be out in the field looking at identification, discussing preparation and some tasting.
  • Wild plants and the law
  • Easy protein sources (not for the squeamish and we won’t make you try them!)
  • Safe foraging
  • A selection of edible leaves, flowers, roots, berries, seeds and nuts found locally
  • A word on fungi

Camp fire cooking

People often say food tastes better cooked outdoors over an open fire.
  • You’ll set up a camp fire for cooking, without using matches
  • You’ll discover how to use the different areas of the fire for different cooking techniques
  • You’ll cook bread cakes, smoke fish, make soup and do a bit of barbecuing and baking as well as have a brew up. We’ll add a few seasonal wild ingredients as available.

Collecting and treating water

Surface water found in Britain is rarely safe to drink.
  • You’ll learn a number of different ways to collect water and process it for safe use.
Duration: 2 days

100 per person for two people, 40 per additional group member. Individual one-to-one booking available at 200. Accommodation not included; see booking information.

Booking: Ring or email to book a weekend that suits you; tel. 01388 529154 or email enquiries@natureholiday.co.uk then fill in and return the booking form (by email or post) and click on the button below to pay online.

Download booking form

Further information: Minimum group size two; maximum 12. Participants should be 16 or over. Bring a packed lunch on Saturday. Price doesn't include food ingredients which you will need to bring yourself.

The bushcraft weekend activity leader is qualified through the Institute for Outdoor Learning to teach bushcrafts to groups and has been involved in bushcrafts and woodland skills for over thirty years. He is DBS cleared.

Location: North Pennines - Harehope or Hamsterley Forest, Weardale or Kielder

Booking options for bushcraft weekend

Gift Vouchers

The ideal present; buy a half or full day activity gift voucher open for use on any of our activities emailed direct to you.