Category Archives: Field Staff posts

#AskWoodlore – Sarah Day

Following on from our recent article in which Woodlore Instructor Keith Whitehead answered your questions, we thought we would keep the ball rolling with a new interviewee. This time around we’re giving you the chance to put your questions to Woodlore Aspirant Instructor Sarah Day.

Woodlore Aspirant Instructor Sarah Day

Woodlore Aspirant Instructor Sarah Day

To put your question to Sarah, simply post it in the comments section at the bottom of this article. Alternatively, you can post your questions on facebook or twitter using the hashtag #AskWoodlore. All questions must be posted by midday on Friday 1st May, and a selection of them will then be put to Sarah.

The person who asks the best question, as chosen by Sarah, will receive a £20 Woodlore voucher.

Continue reading

Ask a Woodlore Instructor – Keith Whitehead

In January we invited you all to take part in an interview with one of Woodlore’s Fundamental Instructors, Keith Whitehead. Many of you got involved and kindly sent us your questions, which we then whittled down to the best 10 entries. During a break from preparing for this year’s course season, Keith sat down with us for a chat and gave us his answers:

Keith Whitehead

Keith Whitehead

Continue reading

How to Cook Outdoors: Hunter’s Stew

How to Cook Outdoors: Venison Stew

When we hunt for our own food, we can rest assured that the animal has led a free and natural life, that has come to an instant and humane end. Deer have been hunted in the woodlands of Britain for thousands of years and, as such, their meat forms a very natural part of our diets.

Venison is one of the leanest and healthiest of red meats, and a casserole provides a great way of cooking it outdoors. The Hunter’s Stew is a hearty, warming meal that is perfect for the cold evenings of winter and early spring. The dish shown here was cooked in a small Dutch Oven suspended over the fire, and served two people.

Ingredients:

  • 2 x small venison steaks
  • 1 x handful of flour
  • 1 x knob of butter
  • 1 x large onion
  • 2 x cloves of garlic
  • 6 x rashers of bacon
  • 1 x handful of mushrooms
  • 2 x sticks of celery
  • 2 x carrots
  • 1/2 bulb of fennel
  • 1/2 bottle of Merlot
  • 2 x bay leaves
  • 1 x sprig of thyme
  • 1 x tablespoon of honey

Continue reading

Essential Skills for the Season Ahead

The following post was written by Woodlore Fundamental Instructor and Quartermaster, Keith Whitehead:

Last week saw the members of Woodlore’s field staff gathering in East Sussex for their annual training week. After a winter apart, this was an opportunity to meet once again, share stories, reaffirm friendships and get down to the serious business of preparation for the coming year. Every member of the team is expected to demonstrate their ongoing commitment to the subject that inspires us all and we were not left disappointed by the level of professionalism, leadership and skill that is the mark of our team.

Ray teaching during staff training week

Ray spoke to his field staff about the importance of first aid in wild places

Continue reading

Prepare for Life

In the heart of winter, it can seem that the long, dark nights are closing in around us. But the forest, seemingly asleep, is already making preparations for the most spectacular of its annual displays. The days are already starting to draw out again as we are blessed with crisp mornings, and soon we will feel the excitement of change in the air. Look closely and you will see that buds of many trees are already formed, holding close their furled treasure; spring is waiting.

Buds

The magic of the British woodlands in spring is the wonder of transformation and new life. The leaner times of winter are washed away in a flood of colour, scent and sound. Once again we can rest in coppices bathed in the deep perfume of ramsons; walk beneath the cathedral bowers of the beech, fresh in the succulence of their new leaves; drift slowly to sleep, lulled by the heady perfume of bluebells, and wake to the serenade of birdsong. These are the experiences that form our year and bring renewed vigour to our love of the forest. There is an irrepressible thrill, a deep connection with the life of these very special places, which wakes the soul and sets our pace into the coming year.

As the sun’s weak rays start to muster their strength and bring warmth to our forest home, the plants that surround us respond with generosity. The sap will rise in the birch, giving us a short-lived opportunity to enjoy this invigorating draft. The willow will loosen its bark, allowing us to harvest the fibres needed for cordage at this time of year, and many other plants will provide their fresh, young leaves, ready for salads: a welcome repast which speaks of the freshness of the season.

Sunlight Continue reading

Winter Crafts

The following post was written by Woodlore Senior Assistant, Ross Burt:

It’s that time of year when work goes quiet. Does that mean that it’s time to rest? NO! It means that I can get out into the woods and practice my skills, as well as produce items to sell or, in this case, give as a Christmas present! So, not only am I out practising and gaining more knowledge, I am also saving money and giving someone a much-needed gift.

I have just finished two chopping boards and a hanger for them; there is one from beech (this will be used for vegetables) and one from oak (for meat). There’s a give-away on the boards that suggests what each one should be used for! The hanger is made of oak and I decided to make the pegs from the same materials as each board.

Ross' Handmade Chopping Boards

Ross’ Handmade Chopping Boards

Continue reading