Bushcraft in South Wales
Watching the likes of Ray Mears and Bear Grylls lighting a fire in the great outdoors seems easy when we’re sat watching it from the comforts of our own homes. However, there is nothing like the feeling of pure human satisfaction when the smouldering kindling bursts into a roaring fire and you finally have the heat and means to cook a delicious meal to sustain you through a long night embracing the elements. Wild Spirit Bushcraft courses, situated on the South Wales coastline offer the opportunity of an alternative break away from modern life, where you can reconnect with nature and relearn long forgotten skills of living off the land.
|Nestled in 70 acres of forest on the Tythegston estate near Bridgend, Mid-Glamorgan is the site of Wild Spirit Bushcraft courses. They offer courses ranging from 1-day introduction to 4-day survival courses, including, fire-lighting, hunting and tracking and foraging courses among others. Families and corporate groups are made welcome and courses can be tailored to any requirements. With so many courses on offer it was hard to choose what to go for but we opted for the overnight stay in a Tipi.|
|Not usually indigenous to the Welsh countryside, the Tipi was surprisingly authentic with handmade wooden supports and canvas cover, its decoration depicting wildlife scenes, staying true to the designs on the original native American dwellings. Although it is undoubtedly just a glamorous tent, it was made homely with the addition of cushions and an airbed covered with blankets and throws. Candles and a wood burning stove also added to the cosy atmosphere that we experienced inside, even though it was raining pretty much all night. As this was the case I was quite perturbed when I looked up from the bed to see daylight where the smoke flaps were, however the canopy created by the forest was enough to ensure that inside the Tipi remained warm and dry.|
|On arrival at the site, after a short walk from the car to the Tipi, we were greeted by a member of the Wild Spirit Bushcraft team who was just finishing off a course on foraging and tree identification. The kettle, keeping warm over a log fire was full and we helped ourselves to a cup of tea before starting our adventure. My daughter immediately took herself off to find some sticks to build a tree house.
Although she didn’t quite complete it she had hours of fun trying, whilst my husband gave in to his caveman urges and got on with lighting the log burner in the Tipi.The site’s facilities are intentionally basic to give you the full experience of what it’s like to live and survive in the forest; however the Wild Spirit Bushcraft team have considered modern necessities and there is a comfortable compost toilet, running water and a quaint continental breakfast provided in the form of a hand-woven basket filled with muffins and boxes of cereal for those staying overnight.
|For the courses, waterproofs, walking gear and a packed lunch are recommended for a comfortable day and for overnight you will need to provide roll mats, sleeping bags and cooking equipment. There is an open fire to cook on; however after seeing the handle drop off a usually sturdy pan after cooking on it, I recommend that you make sure the pan you are using is suitable for high temperatures. For an extended break, the location of the site means that it offers easy to access to the tourist spots of South Wales. The breathtaking, legendary village of Merthyr Mawr complete with thatched houses and country pub is a short distant from the site as is the beach and miles of sand dunes. Cardiff and Swansea are within easy driving distance; the Brecon Beacons a little further but still accessible within one day.|
|The Wild Spirit bush craft adventure doesn’t have to end in South Wales! The company also leads expeditions to Norway, during the summer months where you can learn how to live like a Njarder Viking. These are led by Wild Spirit Bushcraft’s lead instructor Richard Alexander Rees, whose experiences of arctic life have led him to bring a group of huskies, who are currently in training, to being an essence of the arctic to Wales. So watch out for new experiences as well as the current ones on offer.
For more information and booking enquiries visit www.bushcraftcourses.co.uk.