Night Fire SparksAwakening the senses to feel the energy and power of nature is not a prerequisite of the Natural Pathways Bushcraft courses, but quite often it’s an inevitable result.

What a great weekend, sometimes time grants us a deep moment of magic where learning and doors open with ease. Lief Bruylant, Camp Instructor (and Chief Porridge Maker!)

Six families from all corners of England descended, expectantly, on Barham Woods for the Wilderness Family Camp. Such a lovely group of people that by the time it came for Hannah’s introduction, connections had already been made.

After spending time living in the woods, participating in games and workshops that help open your senses to the natural world around you, it’s not unusual to have an emotional reaction.

For the children it’s often joy after running wild through the woods, or returning bright-eyed from the darkness to the fire, all camouflage and white-toothed grins.

For the adults, an affirming of assumptions for some, a relaxing, fun weekend away for others. But for those who have felt the natural energy slip further under the layers we surround ourselves with, there’s often a reawakening that can be life-changing.

My first bushcraft course, Adult Discovery – Basic Survival, had that effect on me. Returning since, I’ve seen as many different responses to bushcraft living as there have been people. To stand as a witness to another human experiencing the power of the natural energy around us is uplifting and humbling. It’s a reminder of all that is beautiful and true about humanity. And in that, hope rises for the future.

Opening a deeper connection to the natural world lets us see everything around us with renewed respect. It’s no longer a tree, It becomes a birch providing a rejuvenating tonic packed with Vitamin C in the early Spring; an excellent source of highly flammable kindling and fuel for our fire; the raw material from which to shape our new tools.

All plants and animals are intrinsic to our survival. Knowing this, everything takes on a new importance. The more I reconnect to nature and see others doing the same, the more aware I become of the truth in this.

Having a spiritual connection to the landscape isn’t about being “New Age-y”. It’s about a practical way of living respectfully with, and a part of the landscape around us.