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Courses, Workshops and Wild Camping For Spring – Summer 2014

February 6, 2014

Phew! It’s been a busy Winter working in the woods, but that is being replaced by the first touches of new growth. Buds are starting to get bigger, and I have been watching new nettle growth, lesser celandine and 3-cornered leek starting to grow and provide much needed wild food. One of the highlights has been helping and advising Jason Heppenstall with the first cut of his Sweet Chestnut coppice ( have a look at talesfromfoxwood.blogspot.co.uk/

Courses & Workshops – I have also been busy at the diary planning courses in bushcraft, green woodwork and traditional archery for the Spring and Summer through my company “Future Tracks” (www.futuretracks.co.uk). I will be sending out an e-newsletter every 4-6 months updating people about courses and workshops so if you would like to subscribe please click here.

The course dates and details are listed below for those who just want to have a quick look.

Wild Camping – We base all the courses at Plan-It Earth Eco Project (in Sancreed, West Cornwall where we are also offering Wild Camping from Easter – September. The site is a young woodland with wood fired shower, compost loo’s and the ability to have a campfire on the ground for cooking. We only have 12 pitches, each in its own secluded area. So if you fancy a quiet, relaxing holiday in beautiful surroundings (with the best beaches in the UK 15mins away!) and wanted to brush up on a few woodland skills as well then get in touch. Send me an email gregh@futuretracks.co.uk.
I hope to see you as the weather gets warmer,

Greg

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Bushcraft Courses Spring – Summer 2014

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These 1-day courses are designed for those wishing to spend more time enjoying and living with nature, and are based in our woodland / coppice in Sancreed, West Penwith. From basic bushcraft and survival to deeper and more advanced skills these courses offer a wealth of knowledge from a woodsman who uses them regularly in his work.

Bushcraft Basics – (Age 9+, all children to be accompanied by an adult) Designed for those wishing to camp in the wild with minimum kit, the day covers the four basics of bushcraft; Shelter, Food, Fire and Water. The morning is spent practically exploring the basics of shelter and wild food for lunch (plants and meat with veggie options available); the afternoon we obtain clean water through filtering and treating and safely make fire in different ways.

Cost £75.00 adult (£50 child) full day / £40.00 adult (£25.00 child) 1/2 day

Course Dates: March 9th + 23rd + 29th/ April 13th + 20th + 27th / May 11th / June 1st + 15th / July 6th + 13th + 20th + 27th / August 3rd + 10th + 17th + 24th + 26th.

Contact Greg on gregh@futuretracks.co.uk or 07776 223337 for booking

Throw It and Shoot it! Bushcraft Projectiles – (Age 9+, all children to be accompanied by an adult) Come along in the morning to learn how to make atlatl spear throwers and slings (or catapults); and then in the afternoon we make greenstick bows and arrows. All tested on our target range in the wood!.

Cost £75.00 adult (£50 child) full day / £40.00 adult (£25.00 child) 1/2 day

Course Dates: March 22nd / April 9th + 16th / July 2nd + 9th + 16th + 23rd + 30th / August 6th + 13th + 20th + 27th.

Contact Greg on gregh@futuretracks.co.uk or 07776 223337 for booking

Bushcraft Camping Kitchen – (Age 9+, all children to be accompanied by an adult) Designed for those wishing to make their wild camping more comfortable. In the morning we make greenwood camping stools and prep some wild food for lunch. In the afternoon we fire your own clay pots in a fire pit whilst making a cup using embers and simple tools.

Cost £75.00 adult (£50 child) full day / £40.00 adult (£25.00 child) 1/2 day

Course Dates: April 10th + 17th / July 3rd + 10th + 17th + 24th + 31st / August 7th + 14th + 21st + 28th.

Contact Greg on gregh@futuretracks.co.uk or 07776 223337 for booking

Advanced Fire Making – (Age 12+, all children to be accompanied by an adult) A day-long intensive course for those wishing to improve their fire making skills. Starting with the basics we learn how to make fire using modern methods and tinders (matches, lighter, firesteel using cotton, char cloth, paper); then progress to wet weather firelighting and using a bow drill with natural tinders. Various fire lays will be discussed and used throughout the day.

Cost £75.00 adult (£50 child) full day

Course Dates: March 30th / April 22nd / July 8th

Contact Greg on gregh@futuretracks.co.uk or 07776 223337 for booking

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Green Woodwork Courses Spring – Summer 2014

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These courses are offered from our outdoor workshop in the woods for those wishing to learn how to get the most from wood and woodland in a peaceful, relaxed environment. Each course takes you on a journey from selection of wood to finished product with Greg Humphries, a seasoned woodsman and coppicer, as your guide. Attendee numbers are kept small to assure lots of 1-2-1 attention and are based in Sancreed, West Penwith.

 

Charcoal Making – (Age 16+). Come along to the woods for a day to prepare BBQ, and artists charcoal, with a seasoned woodsman and commercial charcoal producer. Produced with mobile charcoal kilns, and using everyday materials charcoal production is a good source of income for small woodland owners. Take away your own artists charcoal. Materials, tools and drinks included.

Cost £75.00 adult (£50 child) full day

Course Dates: March 26th / April 2nd + 30th / May 28th.

Contact Greg on gregh@futuretracks.co.uk or 07776 223337 for booking

 

Greenwood Furniture Making – (Age 12+, all children to be accompanied by an adult). Come to the woods for a day to make some unique furniture. Learn wood selection, material properties and identification; then use an axe, shavehorse and drawknife to shape your wood. After lunch learn the basics of a pole-lathe and use a rounding plane, drill and bit to create your individual pieces. Materials, tools and drinks included.

Cost £75.00 adult (£50 child) full day

Course Dates: March 20th / April 6th + 24th / May 1st + 14th + 20th + 29th / June 3rd + 10th.

Contact Greg on gregh@futuretracks.co.uk or 07776 223337 for booking

 

Making Walking Sticks – (Age 9+, all children to be accompanied by an adult). Come for a relaxing afternoon in the woods to learn how to make your own beautiful walking sticks. From knife safety, tree selection and cutting the stick; to hand carving techniques and fitting ferrules / handles. Materials and tools included.

 

Cost £40.00 adult (£25.00 child) 1/2 day

Course Dates: April 28th / May 7th.

Contact Greg on gregh@futuretracks.co.uk or 07776 223337 for booking

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Traditional Archery Courses Spring-Summer 2014

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These courses are offered for beginners and experienced archers alike from our woodland outdoor workshop in Sancreed, West Penwith, Cornwall in a peaceful, relaxed environment. Attendee numbers are kept small to assure lots of 1-2-1 attention.

 

Traditional Bowmaking: (Age 12+, all children to be accompanied by an adult). This popular 2-day course should have you shooting and taking home a working bow if you work hard. More advanced than a “Greenstick Bowmaking” course, Greg takes you through wood selection and the principles of bow design (including tillering) to a finished bow & bow string, which you can shoot on our woodland target range. Through the 2-days there are plenty of opportunities to discuss aspects of your archery interests, with plenty of tea and coffee provided! Materials, tools drinks and a light lunch both days are provided.

Cost £150.00 per person (2 x days).

Course Dates: May 17th and 18th / June 28th and 29th.

Contact Greg on gregh@futuretracks.co.uk or 07776 223337 for booking

 

Traditional Arrows and Fletching: (Age 12+, all children to be accompanied by an adult). You’ve made your bow now come to learn how to make self-nocked traditional arrows! Using traditional materials the day takes you through the whole process of arrow construction from tree to finished arrow. We explore wood selection and shaft making using tools and jigs, spine testing, cutting nocks, nock inserts, glues from skin and bone, cutting feathers, fitting feathers to shaft and binding them with thread. Materials, tools and drinks are provided.

Cost £75.00 adult (£50 child) full day

Course Dates: March 27th / May 25th / June 14th.

Contact Greg on gregh@futuretracks.co.uk or 07776 223337 for booking

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Coppicing In Cornwall

September 17, 2013

It is a privilege to be able to work in the woods throughout the year, and to see one woodland change over the years is truly incredible.

Looking up through the ash coppice this summer

Looking up through the ash coppice this summer

Such a warm summer has been fantastic for all that flora and fauna, especially the invertebrates.The bees have been extra busy building resilience for the winter and the butterflies!!!…well

The Plan-It Earth goddess with a fluttering heart

The Plan-It Earth goddess with a fluttering heart

The ash coppice has been putting on girth ready for the Winter cut this year…

Cornish Ash Coppice

Cornish Ash Coppice

…and we are hoping Calara Fraxinea (Ash Dieback) will not get down to this part of the world for the next 10years or so, so cutting now will produce another good crop in 8-10years. That’s the scientific projection anyway!? It will be such a cause of pain to me to see these trees disappear, but we can always replant with another woodfuel crop; Sycamore maybe?…does anyone out there have any ideas?

If you are interested in sustainable woodland management, or coppicing please contact me at gregh@futuretracks.co.uk

Charcoal Burn – Truro

January 28, 2013

Overlooking the Helford Passage is a beautiful woodland project with established deciduous woodland and new plantings of over 5,000 trees. Amazing! The managers of the site invited me down to do a charcoal burn with lots of overgrown hazel they had cut the previous Winter. With a fantastic view over the river we loaded the portable kilns and began the burn.Image

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Each burn is different with its own problems and challenges (I think thats why I love charcoal burning so much :-)) and this was no exception with a lid collapse near the end and the ignition of gasses. However, all was under control quickly and the kilns were damped down and starved of oxygen. Thank God for experience!

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In the end we got a good 70kg of charcoal from the kilns which I’ll be selling in the Summer season.

Thanks to Hilary and all the crew at Malpas nr Truro.

If you are interested in ordering charcoal or learning to make it yourself then please contact me at gregh@futuretracks.co.uk

Ash Coppice Dilemma

January 28, 2013

Apart from charcoal burning and educational activities much of this Winter has been reclaiming neglected and overgrown coppice at Plan-It Earth Environmental Project.

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Due to a land ownership dispute the ash coppice was allowed to be completely over-run with brambles and as you can see they had ‘scaffolded’ on the lower branches of the ash to grow over 12′ high!! Nightmare. The only way to deal with them without damaging the trees was to get in there with a billhook and clear it all tree by tree.

After a lot of hard work, a couple of pairs of gauntlets and a few scratches a lovely clean ash coppice is revealed.

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THe spacings are slightly wider than I would have liked, but after some pruning the trees look remarkably healthy 8 years old and ready for their first cut.

However (and here is the dilemma), with Chalara Fraxinea (Ash Dieback) doing so much damage, particularly in newly coppiced stools, do I cut them? Or should I leave it a few years and see what happens?

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 (www.futuretracks.co.uk)

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.

Cost

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.

Modules

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 (www.futuretracks.co.uk)

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

Email Bookings: gregh@futuretracks.co.uk
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.