Archive for September, 2012

Sustainable Living Skills For Schools

September 12, 2012

Some happy customers!

For this next academic year (Sept 2012 – July 2013) I am offering a flexible program of outdoor education for schools through my company Future tracks (

Future Tracks For Schools

Working towards an environmentally sustainable future, Future Tracks is a company providing education and consultancy in sustainability to all members of the community.

Where We Are

All the modules are delivered by our trained and qualified staff at our outdoor classroom based amongst coppiced woodland at Plan-It Earth Environmental Education Project near Sancreed in West Penwith, Cornwall. However, if transport is an issue we are happy to come into your school to deliver some of the modules. Modules that can be delivered in school are noted in the module description

Recent Projects With Schools Include:

Girls Go Wild! – a 2 day wild camping and activity adventure at Plan-It Earth for KS2 and 3 girls with their Mums. Organised through ECM St Ives.

Survival School – Regular extra curricula activity in half term holidays for KS2 and 3 students from St Ives cluster schools. Sessions included Fire, Camouflage and hunting, clean water, basic knife safety and wild food foraging.

Environmental Art – on-going project re-instating the skills of willow coppicing, living willow sculptures and crab pot construction in Portscatho on the Roseland Peninsula with MA students from the Art and Environment course at University College Falmouth.

The Secret of Napoleons Lost Treasure – a week long residency at Woldingham School in Surrey taking children out of the classroom into the school grounds to explore the schools history,  maps and navigation, knots and cordage, and use the available resources to create a sculpture as a lasting memory of the experience.

Session Planning

To aid timetabling our 2012/13 schools programme is tailored to fit easily into the normal school day, based on modular 2 hour sessions you can pick and choose modules to create the most curriculum appropriate experience for your students. Come and join us for a couple of hours or all day!

We are happy to emphasise and focus on particular aspects of each module. Talk to us about your curriculum and we will be happy to adapt our delivery to complement work you will do in school.

We normally run morning (10am – noon) and afternoon (1pm – 3pm) sessions but these times are flexible and can be arranged to suit you.


Listening to teachers we have decided to charge a flat rate for each module to aid budgeting. To keep costs down the flat rate includes most materials, but we will send a “List of things students need to bring” once the booking is accepted.

Flat rate for each module = £7.50 per student.


Essential Living Skills

These practical modules aim to equip students with some of the basic skills necessary to live comfortably on planet Earth. More than just “survival skills”, this knowledge underpins our understanding of geography, history, engineering and the sciences; enabling students to gain ‘hands on’ experience of how these disciplines affect the natural world.

ELS Module 1 – Navigation and Maps (KS2 – KS5) Practical activities with natural navigation techniques, grid and story maps leading to the use of a compass. For older students more complex compass navigation techniques (such as resection) are explored. Can be delivered in school.

ELS Module 2 – Safe Campfire Management (Age 9+) Learn to safely light, build, maintain and extinguish a fire outdoors for cooking, or warmth using a range of firelighting techniques. Includes identification of several native tree species and natural tinders.

ELS Module 3 – Cooking on a Campfire (KS3 – KS5) Used as an extension module to safe Campfire Management students will have the opportunity to cook food on the fires they have just made. Recipes include “Fish on a Stick” and the best toffee apples in the World (!), as well as seasonal, wild and more contemporary food.

ELS Module 4 – How to Get Clean Water (KS2 – KS5) Learn to filter and treat water using everyday household objects to make it safe to drink through ‘hands on’ learning; and on a larger scale we look at reed bed filtration systems as a way to treat sewerage.

ELS Module 5 – Shelter and Natural Building Techniques (KS3 – KS5) This module investigates the principles of shelter building for individuals in a survival situation, for groups of people in Nature and also natural building techniques for more permanent structures. Includes exploration visit of a Straw Bale house and a cob and roundwood roundhouse.

ELS Module 6 – Wild Food (KS2 – KS5) This module begins with a Wild Food walk identifying and collecting a range of local plants which are tasted and their uses explored. The second part of the session then gives students the opportunity to learn how to prepare fish and small game for the table. Note: This includes the cleaning, gutting and skinning of fish and rabbit, which may need prior permission from parents.

ELS Module 7 – String, knots and things.  (KS2 – KS5). This module identifies plants that can be used to make string and rope. Students harvest some of the plants, prepare the fibres then learn the techniques to produce their own string and rope. The string is then used to help make their own Roycroft 3-stick frame rucksack.


Sustainable Arts & Crafts

Using local resources these modules aim to provide students with practical arts and craft skills which work with the environment and equip them with knowledge of where art materials, and household goods actually come from.

A&C Module 1 – Green Woodwork (KS3 – KS5). Students come along to the outdoor studio where we discuss wood and tree selection and the products appropriate for each type of wood. We demonstrate and let students have a go on a pole lathe and shave horse then use the wood selected to produce age and skill appropriate products; willow placemat weaving for younger ones and spoon carving or stool/furniture making for older students. Can be delivered in school.

A&C Module 2 – Pit Firing Clay Pots (KS2 – KS5). This exciting module shows students how to sculpt their own clay items. Then together we prepare and light a pit kiln which fires the clay pieces they have made. We are happy to deliver the clay pieces to school the following day once they have cooled.

A&C Module 3 – Sustainable Textiles 1 (KS3 – KS5). With this module we aim to show students how to make their own textiles. Using local wool the students learn to make their own felt. Then they have a go at spinning wool with a drop spindle. Note: Unwashed woollen fleece contains lanoline that some people are allergic to. This will need to be checked with parents before the session. Can be delivered in school.

A&C Module 4 – Sustainable Textiles 2 (KS3 – KS5). An extension to Module 3 students build their own simple loom which they then use to make their own cloth or rugs. Can be delivered in school.

A&C Module 4 – Making Art Materials (KS2 – KS5). At the outdoor studio this module shows students how to make their own handmade paper and artists charcoal using recycled and everyday materials. The materials created we are happy to deliver to school the following day once they have cooled and dried.



Bushcraft and Coppicing Workshops – Winter 2012

September 12, 2012

Here are the dates for the Winter workshops I am running through my company Future Tracks (

Apart from the first one all the bookings should come directly to me:

Email Bookings:
Phone bookings: 07776 223337

See you there!

Sunday 30th September 2012. Charcoal Burning.  Learn the practical skills and techniques needed to produce your own BBQ charcoal from readily available materials. 10am – 4pm.
Cost £20.00. Contact Hilary on 07969 436669.
– Monday 22nd October 2012. Rabbits! – Skins and Brain Tanning. Come along on this practical 1/2 day course and learn how to gut and skin your own rabbits and prepare the skins with the fur on to produce soft leather. 10am – 2pm. Cost £25.00.
– Saturday 10th November 2012. Bushcraft Archery (Part 1) – Arrows. Come along and learn the basic principles of fletching by making your own medieval style arrow from first principles. 10am – 4pm. Age 16+. Cost £50.00.
– Saturday 24th November 2012. Coppicing Willow Shelterbelts for Woodfuel. Willow shelterbelts can provide a windbreak for other crops and a source of sustainable woodfuel for your heating . Come along and learn how to source, plant, maintain, harvest and process a willow shelterbelt through discussion, and practical work on existing willow coppice. 10am – 4pm. Cost £40.00.
– Sunday 25th November 2012. Coppicing Willow Shelterbelts for Woodfuel. Willow shelterbelts can provide a windbreak for other crops and a source of sustainable woodfuel for your heating . Come along and learn how to source, plant, maintain, harvest and process a willow shelterbelt through discussion, and practical work on existing willow coppice. 10am – 4pm. Cost £40.00
– Saturday 1st December 2012. Willow Hurdle Making – Come along to learn how to make your own willow fencing panels. 1/2 day course 10am – 2pm. Cost £25.00.
– Monday 14th January 2012. Charcoal Burning.  Learn the practical skills and techniques
needed to produce your own BBQ charcoal from readily available materials. 10am – 4pm.
Cost £20.00.
– Saturday 26th January 2013. Bushcraft Archery (Part 2) – Bows. Come along and learn the basic principles of bow-making by constructing your own simple but effective longbow. 10am – 4pm.
Age 16+. Cost £50.00.

Debrief – Bushcraft Workshops Summer 2012

September 12, 2012

Well what a Summer!

Luckily with the new Outdoor Studio space I was warm and dry and so were the brave souls who ventured out to do the Bushcraft workshops.

Wild food was sought out and consumed, rucksacks were made, traps were constructed, slings and atlatls were used to throw projectiles and fun was had by all! I’ll be posting the Winter Workshop schedule so let me know if you want to join in.

Green Woodwork Space Mk III

September 12, 2012

So the Spring and Summer have been busy here. In April I began construction of a new Green Woodwork space / Outdoor studio. A more permanent structure that I needed to build by myself using only hand tools. Quite a task, but a  great site was found amongst coppice with tree shelter to protect against those prevailing South westerlies.

New Space Beginning to Take Shape

I decided to use chestnut posts for the uprights to protect against rot, but as I could only obtain posts 8′ long I had to raise the posts at the front on stone pads (Japanese style) to gain the height needed. Thanks to David Hurle for the advise how to go about this. The posts to the rear of the structure (on the right in the above photot) I could dig straight in with a base of hardcore at the bottom of the hole.

I used the structure for the new pole lathe as an additional brace for the largest central chestnut post. Note: the tripods of hazel used for the front posts are only temporary to provide stability during construction.

The horizontal crossbeams were made using Sitka Spruce (long and straight) that was left over from the straw bale house build on site.

Once the crossbeams were put into place (with help from a couple of willing friends :-)) then I could start putting the roof on. As this was an open sided structure it needed to be light but firm and I decided, after much thought about turf roofs, to go with a modern roofing material. I chose Coraline / Onduline as it was within budget, made from bitumised organic material, light, guaranteed for 15 years and easy to remove if necessary.

All in all I am very happy with the final result, and this summer saw a peaceful oasis of calm in the woods amongst a maelstrom of Olympic fervour.