The Bushcraft Movement: what is it and why should you care?

Google News globally searches key words of interest for me.  For over a year now one of those words has been ‘bushcraft.’  Every couple of days or so there is a new article mentioning Bushcraft.  All but two of a 100+ news articles have been from the UK.  And each of those have been about upcoming bushcraft workshops or weekends in local newspapers or online magazines.

That was until today.  While far from earth-shattering for anyone reading this blog, thought it was interesting enough to repost the article below to show what others in the world think of the term…


The Bushcraft Movement: what is it and why should you care?
by Emily Buchanan

Ever since the likes of Ray Mears and Bear Grylls burst onto our screens, bushcraft has firmly established itself in the public zeitgeist. As a holistic movement influenced by environmentalism, bushcraft courses are popping up all over the UK, teaching attendees’ to survive and thrive in a natural environment by making the most of primitive technologies.

Now, you might wonder why – in an age when most people live in cities and deforestation is endemic – these skills are necessary? After all, what’s the likelihood of someone actually finding themselves in a survival situation without a smart phone or some form of modern technology? Chances are slim to none.

However, bushcraft is less about the eventuality of survival and more about developing a positive relationship with nature. By learning how to work with the environment, rather than against it, those trained in bushcraft are said to have a better understanding of the natural world and of its needs in the face of climate change. Indeed, the longer one lives in a hand-built shelter forced to hunt for their own food, the more one adjusts to the beat of the great outdoors and to the changing seasons of the forest.

It might read like new-agey rubbish, but Richard Woodhouse, a Bushcraft Expert, says that the craft offers a viable form of “experiential learning that teaches people the power of resilience, independence, patience and most importantly, preparation. All of these skills are transferrable outside of a survival situation.” Naturally, this means that bushcraft is an incredibly effective tool for teaching children about the environment and their role in the world.

Thus, one needn’t view bushcraft as a purist survival course or some form of ecological doomsday prepping. Sure, you’ll leave the woods with a firm understanding of camp and fire building, but you’ll also benefit from a connectedness with nature that is absolutely not limited to the forest.

But What Actually is it?

Simply put, bushcraft includes but is not exclusive to; fire building, tracking, shelter, knife skills, foraging for edible plants and fruits, hand-carving wood to make utensils, rope and twine-making, camp craft, hunting, cooking and the filtration of dirty water for safe consumption. It’s an insight into the wild antics of Bear Grylls, except you actually have to sleep in your hand built shelter.

Faking it? Bear Grylls in Born Survivor

Faking it? Bear Grylls in Born Survivor.

Taking a bushcraft course could change your whole approach to country walking. Suddenly, the forest becomes an inventory of natural resources and you have the skills to live in nature comfortably and in a way that is sustainable. If the feeling takes you and you decide to spend an impromptu night under the stars, you’ll be able to build a shelter, start a fire and stay dry without any of the latest gear.

Of course, the only modern day instrument that bushcraft allows is the knife, without which you’d be hard pushed to survive.

Emily Buchanan is an outdoor education writer for Kingswood. She lives in Norwich, UK, and is an ardent advocate of all things natural. Check out her blog or follow her on twitter for the latest.

About Christian Noble

Chris Noble is the founder of and Woodsmoke Camping Company. A Master Naturalist, he holds a Bachelor of Science in Forestry and has worked as a Registered Forester and Certified Burn Manager in several states. Chris is also a Wilderness First Responder and since the late 90’s has been “practicing primitive” skills and taking lessons from numerous Master Woodsmen throughout North America. An advocate for Conservation, teacher of Wilderness Living Skills, and happily married, he enjoys passing what he has learned thus far to others, especially his 2 children, Emerson and Duncan.


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