Gary grew up in the west country surrounded by open countryside. Seeing deer, foxes, badgers and other wildlife yards from the backdoor was commonplace. Allowed to venture out at a very early age, he spent much of his childhood wandering through the woods, making ‘dens’, climbing trees (and occasionally falling out of them), swimming in rivers…. School holidays were spent on an uncle’s farm on the edge of Dartmoor.
From around 14 onwards he would regularly spend 4 or 5 days at a time wandering around and sleeping out on the moors, mostly knowing where he was. These early experiences led to a lifelong love of the British countryside and culminated in Gary qualifying as a bushcraft instructor and co-founding Jack Raven Bushcraft.
Gary is an assessor for the Institute for Outdoor Learning’s Bushcraft Competency Certificate and is currently serving on the IOL’s Bushcraft Professional Practice Group Exec.
Nicola is an expert back country cook and amazes us all with the consistently high quality meals she produces. Nicola is continually devising new wild food recipes for us all to try, and manages to create wonderful foraged versions of many classic dishes.
She is also a keen herbalist and recieved a Distinction whilst completing a Diploma in Herbal Medicine, and makes a wide variety of remedies such as cremes, ointments, balms & body butters, various infused oils & tinctures as well as natural soaps and herbal tea bags. Needless to say, Nicola plays an important role on our plant and tree walks.
Nicola has developed a passion for carving and many of our family and friends now own spoons, spatulas and honey drizzlers carved by her. More recently, she has taken a keen interest in hide tanning and bark work.
As a child, Bob started his adventures in the local woodlands, later becoming a Cub and Scout, He joined the school Explorers Club where his love of the wild landscapes of Wales and Scotland grew. Spending his summers in Scotland fishing, walking and exploring saw him become ever more self-reliant in the outdoors.
Working with an expedition company, with several trips to Nepal and the usual trekking destinations ticked off, the higher more remote mountains beckoned. After a lucky encounter with the guys from The Bushcraft Magazine, Bob’s memories of time spent in the woodlands returned and along with it a desire to encourage people to reconnect with the more simple joys of nature and the spirituality of the woodlands
Bob holds the Institute for Outdoor Learning’s Bushcraft Competency Certificate.
Jules has always loved the natural world and has a particular fondness for invertebrates, but developed an interest in bushcraft after studying insects in The Gambia. There she was fascinated to see the skillful and ingenious ways in which people used natural materials from their local environment to make everything from cooking implements, to intricately woven baskets, up to entire houses ideally designed for local conditions.
Since returning she has been curious to learn the crafts that can be used to sustainably create things in the same way from the plants she is familiar with in the UK, and skills to allow her to spend more time safely and comfortable in the landscapes she loves.
Peter grew up in Bow, East London. Because there were no fields or woodlands nearby, he would visit Bow Locks Canal for fishing and camping. His love and interest for the outdoors expanded from there and in 2007 he became an Assistant Scout Leader. Peter now runs survival camps for his group and also helps to run the District’s survival camps.
Peter’s hobbies are hill walking, wild camping and practising bush craft skills at any opportunity.
Peter holds the Institute for Outdoor Learning’s Bushcraft Competency Certificate.
|Ho Kyung Hoebeke
Ho Kyung came to the UK in 2004 to teach kung fu and tai chi. He had his first experience of bushcraft in 2011 and has since embraced the British countryside passionately. He believes that practising bushcraft is an extension of his martial arts training, physically, mentally and spiritually.
Ho Kyung particularly likes knife and axe work and is becoming increasingly keen on tree and plant identification and uses. He is a strong advocate of sleeping in a hammock and thinks everyone should try it at least once in their life, preferably during a storm!
He delivered bushcraft taster sessions at Nethergong Campsite on our behalf for much of 2015 and at Port Lympne reserve in 2017.
Ho Kyung holds the Institute for Outdoor Learning’s Bushcraft Competency Certificate.
Steve is a Man of Kent and after training as a carpenter and joiner decided to spread his wings and spent 22 years travelling the world with the Army, ending his miltary career as Sergeant Major.
As a cub and a scout in his youth, he ignited a love of the outdoors that has travelled with him and has seen him gain numerous qualifications in mountain climbing, canoeing, archery and skiing to name but a few. Steve lives on the North Downs and is a qualified teacher.
When not at work he can be found out in the woods foraging and practicing his bushcraft skills with his family.
Steve holds the Institute for Outdoor Learning’s Bushcraft Competency Certificate.
Willow is our 9 year old yellow Labrador. She spent her first nights out under the stars at just 10 weeks old. She is completely at home in the outdoors and like the rest of us, she gets restless if she doesn’t get out to the woods regularly.
She has a fondness for ramsons in the spring and picks blackberries directly off the brambles in the autumn. Come the evening she will look for a comfortable lap and if you sleep under a tarp, it’s likely that she’ll give you a good morning kiss – you’ve been warned!
Willow recently won the Dog Show at the Westwell Summer Fete and is very pleased with herself.
Dee founded Wild Woodland Workshops in 2018 after many years in teaching. Her ethos is to inspire and empower folk to find their innate creativity and to encourage life-long-learning, she also aims to facilitate well-being through being creative and being in nature as an antidote to the tech-heavy, fast-paced and often stressful lives we live.
As Head of Design Technology and Head of Outdoor Education for many years, Dee was able to combine her loves of nature and creativity to develop many projects for her pupils with a focus on primitive and traditional technologies and crafts, as well as bushcraft based activities. She found that parents were often a little jealous of their children and the inspiring and unique work she did with them…this got her thinking and eventually led to her taking a leap of faith and setting up her own business teaching all ages and in all settings but as much as possible, outdoors in the woods!
Dee is a Level 3 Forest School Leader and currently studying for a Diploma in Shinrin Yoku (Forest Bathing).
Dee leads our Woodland Pottery courses.
Ross served in the IVth Royal Tank Regiment as a tank driver for 7 years. After leaving the army he spent 8 years teaching green woodworking at Poulton Wood.
Ross’s interests turned to metal and he began to learn the art of blacksmithing and he has spent the last 20 years building up his skills; 6 of those years were working for the Duke of Buccleuch at Drumlanrig Castle. He now runs his own blacksmithing company, Kaos Blacksmiths.
|Paul Bradley (AKA Bardster)
Paul became involved with Viking re-enactment in 1998 and this started his love of working with leather. Since then he has amassed a large number of tools and techniques, which he enjoys sharing in his workshops.
Paul is a regular contributor to the Bushcraft Magazine and as a teacher he is in much demand, with guest appearances for Bison Bushcraft and The Bodgers, for example. His leather items are highly sought after and his work has appeared in both museum and film.
Paul runs the Leather Working Day on our behalf.
Mark is the founder and lead instructor at Arran Bushcraft & Survival. He was born and bred on Arran (an Arranach) and has been living and working in forestry and the outdoors, exploring wild places, all of his life. Building a fantatsic knowledge of not just the island but its wildlife and habitat, Mark formalised his skills, knowledge and study of bushcraft and improving on his teaching ability by completing the NCFE Certificate in Bushcraft Leadership in 2010-2011.
Mark is a member of Arran Mountain Rescue Team, having joined in 1994 and taking on the roles of Equipment Officer and Emergency Medical Technician.
We really appreciate Mark’s experience and local knowledge as he acts as host and guide on our Arran Adventure.
After completing his secondary education at boarding school in Dover, Paul only returned to Kent in 2013. Prior to that, he was travelling the world in the Royal Air Force as a Support Helicopter Navigator and Combat, Survival & Rescue Officer, ending his military career as a Wing Commander.
Paul is now a primary school teacher at Spring Grove School in Wye and divides his working day between the classroom and his FSA-approved Forest School for pupils between the ages of 4 to 11. Happiest away from the confines of the classroom, his passion for outdoor learning was recognised in 2018 with the award of ‘Inspirational Outdoor Educator of the Year’ by the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom.
Paul is a qualified Level 3 Forest School Practitioner and is working towards the Institute for Outdoor Learning’s Bushcraft Competency Certificate.
Alecia’s love of nature started when she was a young girl, visiting the local woodlands, spending hours on end building dens and rafts with her sister and friends.When she became a primary school teacher in 2000, she always maintained and enjoyed the outdoor elements of the job – this aspect has increased in importance in recent years, following training in Outdoor Learning and Forest School.
She is a keen walker and cyclist, and can often be found investigating new areas, learning about edible plants.
Alecia is a qualified Level 3 Forest School Practitioner and is working towards the Institute for Outdoor Learning’s Bushcraft Competency Certificate.
At 7 years of age Martyn was lucky enough to be given a small piece of woodland by his grandma which consequently gave him an opportunity to connect to the countryside and develop a deep empathy with nature.
This passion has remained with Martyn throughout his varied life, which has seen him be many things from a builder to an elephant keeper before finally settling on becoming a Forest School Leader across 2 schools in North Kent. He has also achieved a degree in Philosophy and Anthropolgy, a Master’s degree in Mysticism, as well as holding a diploma in counselling.
Martyn’s love of the natural world has meant he has a keen interest in foraging (for both food and medicines), bushcraft, nature-inspired writing, mountain walking and camping under the stars.