Here at Hands on Bushcraft we have a love for the outdoors, therefore all our courses are held in a deciduous woodland. Local trees such as hazel, silver birch, hawthorn, ash and oak will become your friends along side the barn owls, foxes, badgers and deer who roam through the woods.
Hands on Bushcraft offer a wide range of bushcraft and survival courses. All of which are fun as well as informative, our aim is for you to go away from our courses with a sense of achievement and increased confidence in your abilities in bushcraft, wilderness living and sustainability.
We currently have three locations where we run our courses, these are Gloucester, East Sussex and our main site in Wiltshire.
At the start of each course there will be an initial safety briefing where you will be told about any hazards in the woods. We will talk about wilderness hygiene and protection of the local woodland and environment.
Whilst on the course any cooking will take place over our open fire with us giving guidance on campfire cooking techniques. We will provide ingredients for all your meals unless otherwise stated on the course content. At Hands on Bushcraft we want to provide you with delicious local foods that you may not eat everyday. Therefore, we use local game such as rabbit, pheasant, pigeon, fish and deer, including seasonal herbs and vegetables. We like to involve everyone so there will be an opportunity for you to have a go at backwoods cooking. If you are vegetarian or have any other dietary needs we can cater for you providing we know in advance.
All ages from 12 years up and abilities are welcome on our courses (people under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a paying adult) and we also offer large group discounts.
Adam Giles - Head Instructor
The head instructor and founder of Hands on Bushcraft is Adam Giles. As a child Adam spent a lot of his time playing outside in the local fields and woods making dens and having a great time. When he was old enough he joined the scouts where he spent time learning how to light fires, build shelters and backwoods cooking. This was when he was first introduced to Ray Mears by his scout leader Terry Shipp. He handed Adam ‘Ray Mears Outdoor Survival Handbook’ and said “have a read through that you’ll enjoy it” and he did.
Ever since that day Adam has gathered numerous outdoor living and bushcraft books and DVD’s building up his knowledge of bushcraft and wilderness living.
Adam has attended numerous courses as well as volunteering at some of the best bushcraft schools in the UK, gaining valuable experience and helping to run bushcraft weekends, tracking courses, and stag weekends. He has also spent weeks out in the wild, sleeping out in a leaf litter shelter, practising fire lighting, using primitive weapons (including bow and arrow; atlatl; boomerangs, spears and sling shot), snaring and trapping techniques and gathering wild foods. He has spent time learning how to interpret animal tracks and how to stalk wildlife and move silently through the woods, from Ian “Max” Maxwell. Adam has also learnt flint knapping from some of the UK’s leading flint knappers John Lord and Karl Lee. He learnt how to create arrow heads, axe heads, adzes and many more useful flint blades, turning them into useful tools to use around the woods. Adam set up Hands on Bushcraft as he wanted to share his knowledge and inspire people to discover the wonders of Bushcraft and Wilderness Living.
Adam is fully CRB cleared, has a Food Safety and Hygiene Certificate level 2, GNAS Leader and a Outdoor Pursuits First Aid Certificate.
Karl Lee - Flint Knapper
From an early age Karl was fortunate enough to have an excellent introduction to history and archaeology; as a child he visited many British places of historical interest, museums and fossil beds with his parents. At this point he was bitten by a bug that would grow for many years before directing me to flint knapping. This interest was fuelled almost twenty years ago by an introduction to archaeology; starting with evening courses for GCSE and A-level, followed by membership to several archaeological associations.
After some time collecting flint tools in the field Karl began producing replicas for museums. This was the beginning of an eight year adventure that would not only lead me into flint knapping professionally, but also to return to education. After obtaining a degree in archaeology at the University of Wales College Newport, Karl was lucky enough to be accepted as a research student working on an archaeological PhD; also with the University of Wales. Karl then became a full time primitive technologist, a strange term and in many ways a contradiction as prehistoric skills are anything but ‘primitive.
Karl has accumulated a great deal of experience lecturing on and demonstrating flint knapping and many other prehistoric technological skills to schools, colleges, museums and universities around Britain. He has also provided extensive teaching collections for several British universities including Bristol, Liverpool, Durham and branches of the University of Wales, and has carried out demonstrations and experimental research for the British Museum, London.
Karl’s aim is to continue his research into the production of prehistoric stone tools and primitive replications and to produce quality items for the education of future archaeologists at all levels and the general public of all ages. He is passionate about what he does and also about passing this knowledge on a new generation.
Karl teaches on our Flint knapping day course.
Rupert Burdock - Forager
Matthew Sell also known as Rupert Burdock, grew up in Stroud where as a boy he would pick blackberrys and mushrooms and catch trout. He has hitch hiked over ten thousand miles and now sells wild food on a market stall for the last three years. Matthew has foraged coconuts in Florida, wild grapes and mushrooms in New England, Carob pods in Sicily, Prickly pears in Spain, Common Sorrel in Iceland, Scurvy grass and Sweet cicely in Scotland and Sea kale in East Anglia. He has also appeared on various TV channels including ITV 1 and Cotswold TV.
Rupert teaches on our Wild Food Courses.