There is nothing better than Nature in my opinion – it is one of the reasons myself and Becky started the #OutdoorsandHappy community. I have previously written about why getting outside is good for you – but it can also be a great time to learn and bond. I am aware that my children have far more screen time than I ever did as a child and would happily sit in front of them all the time if I did not get them out! But that actually, once they are out there they really love it. In fact Dr Aric Spigman in his lecture ‘Managing Screen Time and Screen Dependency’ claims that by the age of 7, children will have spent a full year of 24 hour days on ‘screen time.’
Therefore I was thrilled to be invited to the local new Cotswold Adventures Bushcraft Course at Adam Henson’s Cotswold Farm Park. Adam Henson says, “Compare this to my generation, the baby boomers who spent our childhood playing outdoors. As a boy I was incredibly lucky to have acres of farmland and woodland as my playground, and was wild camping, building dens and using knives and tools from a young age. I think all children should have this opportunity but it is about awakening that outdoor spirit from a young age, and learning about yourself, and how to push your own boundaries alongside a greater appreciation for what the environment provides for us.”
The one day survival course is set in private woodland in the heart of the Cotswold countryside. With just the essentials you head off into the wilderness and become fully immersed in all that nature has to offer (although a “toilet” is provided for the ladies and men who need to do a number two!). I went along with my very bright nine year old son. It was fantastic for us to have quality one-to-one time together and also a great way of learning new things together – and without the confines of a stuffy classroom. It was really empowering for both of us as things were new to both of us – and other things he knew and I didn’t and vice a versa. The day really brought everyone together – I think that being out in the wilderness and the simplicity of sitting around the fire, preparing our own food and shelter, rekindled the primal spirit which can be buried by the hustle of modern life; switching off from technology and our lungs full of fresh air. I can see the experience making a great gift, being ideal as a stag/hen party and/or children’s birthday parties. As well as just an enjoyable day and great experience. I really did push myself to try things that I never imagined that I would.
We were in very capable hands with hosts José and Tim as they lead us through a very enjoyable day – telling us everything we could need to know and trying to answer all our questions, whilst pushing us out of our comfort zones. Safety was always their number one concern and in the event that my son did manage to cut himself with a knife they were able to quickly, calming and efficiently give him the required first aid (note this was completely my son’s error and no harm done, plus he learnt a very valuable lesson on how to take a knife out of a sheath!)
Ben Fogle recently made the headlines with an article in the Independent ‘why I let my children play with knives’ and he quite rightly points out the learning and development benefits that children gain from spending time outdoors learning new skills. During the course we discovered just how handy a knife is for survival – as well as how to make our own! This included making our own shelter and preparing game for lunch.
I do not want to spoil the course content by divulging too much but we learnt about natural navigation – learning about the wind and the sun and how that affects the nature around us to help with directions; foraging and what is and isn’t safe to eat – plus what you would need to do in a survival situation if you were unsure; the three best ways to treat a sting; all about water (sourcing it and how to make it safe to drink), shelter, plants, animal tracks, fire (and using a flint).
17th June (Family Friendly, 8+) – BOOK NOW
18th June (Family Friendly, 8+) – BOOK NOW
8th July, 9th July (Adults Only, 16+) – BOOK NOW
29th July, 30th July (Family Friendly, 8+) – BOOK NOW
12th August, 13th August (Family Friendly, 8+) – BOOK NOW
23rd September, 24th September (Family Friendly, 8+) – BOOK NOW
Family Friendly – Adult £75 | Child £50
Adults Only (16+) – Adult £100 | Minor (16-18) £80
24 Hour Survival (18+) – £150 per person
I was invited to the Bushcraft Course free of charge for purposes of an honest review.