What’s it about?
The more time you spend in the woods practicing bushcraft, the more you realise that it’s about knowing what’s around you! That includes the trees and plants but also the wildlife.
This tracking & nature awareness course, spent exploring the woodland to identify the wildlife that’s in it, is designed for anyone with an interest in seeing, hearing and smelling more of what is around them. It’s a real eye opener and we’re sure that you’ll never visit the countryside and see it in the same way again. Just be aware that walks will take much longer to do as you keep stopping to look at all the wonderful thigs that you would have previously not noticed!
What will I do on this tracking & nature awareness course?
You’ll start off by tuning in your senses, to get a feel for how the woodland looks, sounds and smells using a technique known as still hunting, a technique used by Native Americans.
We’ll take a look at some equipment that will enhance your experience of nature watching and make a tracking stick. From there we’ll move on to some of the important principles of tracking and cover topics such as:
- Using a tracking stick,
- Different mammalian feet types,
- Parts of a track,
- Measuring a track including line of travel, length, width, stride, straddle and pitch,
- Track patterns including stalk, slow walk, walk, trot, bound, lope and gallop,
- Types of walkers including diagonal, bound, gallop and pacers.
We’ll then look at examples of the various ‘clues’ that can let us know what animals are around including:
- Feeding sign,
- Gnaws, chews, scratches,
- Beds, dens, nests etc.,
- Feeding sites,
- Kill sites.
Given time we’ll also look at:
- What to put in a tracking kit,
- Where and how to lay a track trap,
- How to make a plaster cast of a track.
And then we’ll carefully put those newly learnt skills into practice by silently stalking through the woods to find sign of the wildlife that’s around. On previous courses we’ve found deer prints, scat, hair and feeding sign, as well as skulls and antlers, fox prints and scat, badger latrines and sets and much, much more. We’ve also seen fallow deer, fox, hares, buzzards, woodpeckers, adders, grass snakes, slow worms, common lizards, green huntsman spiders…..
You can view our full course schedule here.
Location: Westwell, Kent
Duration: 1 day
Course size: Maximum of 8
Catering: We’ll provide tea & coffee, you’ll need to bring a packed lunch
Note: There’s a short walk from the meeting point to the camp.
You might also find these Frequently Asked Questions useful.
What our customers say
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Another fantastic course by Jack Raven. I signed up thinking that I would learn about animal sign & how to track, and learnt so much more. From silent movement to attuning my senses to the natural world. A great way to start your journey in nature
Fantastic day course, first one with Jack Raven and certainly not the last! The course had everything from the specifics of tracking, to animal clues and signs, how to tell what had killed a bird, and much more. Walking around the woods Gary pointed out numerous items of natural interest, not just related to tracking, but a certain flower you could eat, one that was poisonous, signs a woodpecker had been in the vicinity etc. The course is well balanced between hands on activities and opportunities for discussion and teaching. The course follows an agenda for the day, however Gary generously took the time to chat about side topics such as coppicing, creating an informative and relaxed atmosphere. Has certainly changed the way i would look at nature and would recommend to anyone....Nicola's lunch was amazing too!
Just completed a one day animal tracking course with Jack Raven Bushcraft and it was great! Gary was very down to earth and knowledgeable. I felt comfortable enough to ask questions without feeling daft!
Nicola was very friendly and prepared us a delicious lunch and I'm enchanted with Willow the dog 😀
The course was very informative and we had some really good observation exercises and examples of walking through the wood in the dark. In the afternoon we went for a walk round the fields and woodland to see what we could find.
Highly recommended. I will definitely be booking on to more courses here - in fact my husband and I have just booked onto the leatherworking course!
Thanks to Gary and Nicola for such an enjoyable day!
Never believe that "there's nothing about" because this course will very much disprove that offhand statement! There's life everywhere, you just need to use your senses. Gary will help you take a different view & learn to use your eyes & ears (& nose!) properly to get the best of your surroundings.
The tracking element to the course compliments the 'awareness' teaching seamlessly & I was amazed at how the smallest detail can betray the passage of another 'traveller', be it human or otherwise.
My second course with jack raven -fantastic -learnt new skills -gary&nicola are so welcoming and friendly -and the food excellent -a wealth of knowledge from Gary passed on freely -a must do course if you want to gain a knowledge of animal tracking