Join our TribeWoodsmoke Bushcraft and Wilderness SurvivalSign up to our Newsletter
Woodsmoke's homepage for wilderness survival, bushcraft courses & expeditions Contact Woodsmoke to enquire about your bushcraft course

Woodlander Reviews

 ‘I found this course an inspiration, it helped me see nature with new eyes, skills and want to be there. It has given me great basic skills in which I want to improve on , and led me down new directions for skills and knowledge…. From the forever full biscuit box, to the level of skill and the knowledge passed , I feel this course represented excellent value for money in every aspect…. As a chef I was astonished!!!!! I honestly expected spam at some point of the week, instead what we where given was great food packed with flavour and well balanced. Not only was the quantity there was also quality, it could have been easy to just buy supermarket basics range to save on your costs, it really did for me show that you care in every aspect of what you offer. Not once was i hungry and not once didn’t i enjoy what i had been cooked…. If only I had the time to partake in every one of your courses I would. All in all I thank you for building such an amazing company that offers quality at the levels you do, and long may it last.’ Andrew Tanter, 2012
 ‘An absolutely inspiring week. I learnt such a range of new skills and knowledge and was able to extend my knowledge in so many areas. I found the feeling of full immersion in the woodland environment over the six days really heightened my awareness and understanding. I loved all the subjects we covered and am particularly excited by my new found love of wild flowers and plants. The whole Woodlander experience is incredibly intense, which I thrived on. The range of subjects covered continually stimulated us and enabled participants to really get a feel for the broad range of bushcraft skills and crafts. I would thoroughly recommend this course to anyone who enjoys being immersed in nature and wants the opportunity to broaden their knowledge of bushcraft under the expert tuition of highly skilled course leaders. Ben and Steven are inspiring and excellent tutors. Both incredibly knowledgeable and excited by their subject areas. They clearly thrive from helping others to gain knowledge and instil a sense of inquisitiveness in their students. It felt special to spend time with people who have such depth of experience and understanding of the many facets of bushcraft…I felt the instructors handled the group really well, they were available for one to one tuition and also enabled students to have the space to explore and experiment by themselves. In particular Ben’s knowledge of plants was incredibly impressive, I felt like I could ask all the questions I could think of and he would probably know the answer! Ben’s delivery style was brilliant, he was able to pass across huge amounts of information while keeping us focussed on the really key points to remember. Steven’s deep interest in tracking really came across as well as his enthusiasm for getting people actively involved in the learning to reinforce what was being taught. A really big thank you for all your efforts, Ben, Steven and Barney. I am still buzzing and have already experimented lots more with cordage. I am particularly excited about the plants. I have always really struggled to recall details of plant ID. I think it was a combination of having the time to focus on the plants whilst under expert tuition and a method of teaching that just clicked with me. I feel now I have a basis to go forward and build on my plant database!’ Woodlander, July, 2013, Ro Thomas.
‘First of all, I just wanted to say a huge thank you for a great week on the Woodlander last week.  Ben, I found you to be a truly inspiring teacher as well as a bloody good bloke.  As you know, during the course of this year I have been doing some of these courses to learn new skills, and consolidate existing ones, with the intention of learning to teach myself in the next 2 years or so.  Thanks to your own infectious enthusiasm for and vast knowledge of the subject, I have come away from the Woodlander with absolute determination and resolve to immerse myself entirely as part of my own journey, in the hope that I can pass on that enthusiasm to others in the future.Speaking very personally, for me the real highlight of the week, was the genuine inspiration I found in watching you at work. Your “soft-skills” with group members and your apprentices, as well as your practical ones, are a real credit to you.Lisa – I didn’t get as much of a chance to chat to you as I would have liked, but what little I did was really valuable.  You were exceptionally encouraging and supportive, and my heartfelt thanks to you for that.The very best to you both, and I look forward to seeing you again in the not-too-distant future. Cheers!’ Lee, Woodlander, 2013.
‘Thank you for a fantastic course. I enjoyed every minute of it, mud and midges notwithstanding. I feel like I’ve gotten a part of myself back that I thought I’d lost. I’ve done very little outdoorsy stuff since leaving South Africa, partly because the cold and wet and lack of wild land in England was such a discouraging shock, but also I guess out of laziness. And I told myself all sorts of stories to excuse this, about how it wouldn’t be the same in England, and it would be wet and miserable and boring and I wouldn’t cope with the cold. But after living in the woods of northern England for a week in the rain, and enjoying it more that I’ve enjoyed anything else in a long while, and really not wanting to leave at the end, I now know I have no excuse for not making doing more of this sort of thing a priority. Thank you again!’ Tamaryin, Woodlander, 2012
‘I thought the course was fantastic and I would recommend it to anyone. I feel I learnt a huge amount and we covered many subjects which I now want to explore further. It’s a real reminder of how the simple pleasures in life, like sitting by a camp fire with a brew, are often the best. When I run off into the wilderness to become a wild-woman, I shall tell my family to blame Woodsmoke!…Someone was always on hand to offer help, advice or to answer questions. I also felt that we were monitored really well whilst working on projects etc. and therefore received guidance when needed – Approachable, passionate and very knowledgeable – what more could you want from instructors? Normally there is Wikipedia, but in the woods there is Ben! Heather Osborne, Woodlander 2013.
‘Although we did not finish the course I really enjoyed my time there. There was always something to do, the learning was constant but the environment and teaching style allowed for me to relax and just be in the moment and unwind at the same time, which for someone who last head a break 2.5 years ago is quite a feat! One of my roles in the real world is as a Martial Arts instructor, I can confidently say that the quality of teaching and style was spot on, in knowledge, flow and adaptability – everyone learns differently but everyone was taken care of. The course not only did what it said, it also fuelled my desire to do more, learn more and to just get out there. Hoping to finish the course and build up further skills to eventually go on an expedition…. You were all able to explain things without making me feel stupid and didn’t mind (hopefully) having to repeat for the umpteenth time the same information. Oh and you didn’t laugh at the stupid questions I came out with which was great ☺ You also were able to not over instruct – a skill quite often forgotten. After trying to take on information, figure it out and do something, it is quite nice to be left in a bit of peace to try and ‘get it’ but not be left alone….. Thanks to Steven for putting up with all my questions and for knowing something was wrong and being in the area after I got off the phone, thanks Ben for all the teaching and talking about fighting systems as well as being so understanding and taking us to the car so quickly. Cheers Barney for everything you did looking after the group.’ Woodlander, 2013, Simone Brookes.

‘Much has been made in the news of the “horrific” weather we had (it may have been a little bit damp), but while I’m sure this caused some headaches for the Woodsmoke team, you didn’t let on, and the course was so well run, the wet really didn’t seem like a major issue. The beauty of the site, the relaxed attitude and unfailing sense of fun of everyone on the team, the wealth of knowledge and skills imparted (enough to keep us far too busy to take much notice of the weather), and above all the patience (which I think I can claim to have tested pretty thoroughly!), generosity, knowledgeability and infectious enthusiasm of the instructors, combined to make a fantastic week, which even Cumbria’s best attempt at spirit dampening weather was no match for. I wouldn’t exchange those seven soggy days for anything (even seven similar sunny ones)… The course should come with a health warning: It’s can be hard to settle back into urban life afterwards, you may land up feeling kind off bereft and out of place for weeks.’ Woodlander Alumni, Tameryin Godinho – 2012