Comprehensive Instruction in the Cornerstone Skills of Bushcraft

Making natural cordageAre you looking for a course that provides a thorough grounding in the core subjects of bushcraft?

Would you like to gain a rounded set of outdoor skills that are widely-applicable wherever in the world you find yourself?

Do you want to make sure you receive expert instruction from high-calibre instructors?

In studying bushcraft, you study nature.

As you learn the various ways to use natural resources, you begin to see a world populated by familiar and useful friends that can be called upon when needed.

A week-long course in the cornerstone skills and knowledge of bushcraft provides an immersion in learning and a breadth of experience not possible during a shorter course.

A week-long course – is there really that much to learn? It’s true there are many short bushcraft courses out there. They are popular and the best ones convey a good amount of knowledge in a short amount of time. But there is a limit to how much they can cover in only a day or two.

Once we move away from the very basic techniques, acquiring more advanced skills requires practice. This of course, requires more time.

Lighting a fire with feathersticks
Learning the more refined techniques of bushcraft takes time and practice…

While there are fewer providers of week-long courses than short courses, it’s not because there isn’t much more to learn.

Bushcraft Encompases an Extensive Body of Knowledge

In learning the techniques of bushcraft, you will certainly gain the ability to utilise natural resources to provide for your basic needs – fire, shelter, water and food.

Bushcraft, however, offers much more than basic survival skills.

Bushcraft is a massive grouping of skills and knowledge which encompasses botany, butchery, campcraft, cookery, craftwork skills, firecraft, fishing, mycology, navigation, outdoor safety, stalking, tracking, trapping, wood carving, zoology and much more.

Each of the above could easily warrant a course in its own right.

And that’s before we even begin to consider the journeying skills such as canoeing, kayaking, hiking, skiing, snow-shoeing, horse-riding, motor-bike riding or off-road driving, that might take us to wild or remote places.

Introducing the Elementary Wilderness Bushcraft Course

The week-long Elementary Wilderness Bushcraft course is an immersive, challenging yet enjoyable programme of learning in the woods that delivers a broad base of skills.

Learn a Syllabus Selected and Taught by Experts

We have created a well-chosen syllabus of the most widely-applicable techniques and in-depth knowledge.

Throughout you’ll be taught, helped and accompanied by Frontier Bushcraft’s experienced, skillful and friendly instructors.

Paul Kirtley demonstrating bow drill friction firelighting in the rain
Demonstrating bow-drill friction firelighting in the rain during an Elementary Wilderness Bushcraft Course…

Make the Skills Your Own

During the course there is always practical application of the skills being taught. We also provide in-depth background information so that you have both the judgement and ability to apply the techniques in different situations.

The aim of this 1-week Bushcraft course is not for you to only see the techniques, or even just ‘have a go;’ rather, the aim is for you to make these important techniques your own. This will, by definition, require active effort on your part.

But you will be guided and encouraged every step of the way. To this end, the Elementary Wilderness Bushcraft course provides comprehensive instruction in the cornerstone skills of bushcraft with a high instructor-to-student ratio.

Our goal is for you to leave the course capable, enabled, with a good understanding of how to hone your skills and take them further.

Bushcraft course student celebrates bow-drill success
Success! This course is all about boosting your abilities and confidence in the great outdoors…

Tried and Tested Teaching Methodology

Throughout the course, key skills are introduced, thoroughly explained and demonstrated. You will then be given the opportunity to practice the skills under the watchful eyes of the instructors. These skills will be built upon throughout the week in layers and you will come back to core techniques repeatedly. Practice does indeed make perfect!

For most people the course is tiring but, as with many things in life, the benefits you get from bushcraft skills are in proportion to the effort you put into mastering them.

You’ll Gain More than Just a Set of Skills

Wilderness bushcraft not only increases your self-reliance in the great outdoors; your confidence grows and you become more relaxed.

This course provides a fantastic opportunity to gain a solid grounding in wilderness bushcraft and learn directly from expert instructors.

Students learning bushcraft skills first hand
Learn directly from expert instructors…

What’s In The Elementary Wilderness Bushcraft Course? What Skills Will it Give You?

Here’s an overview…

Water and Water Purification:

In different environments you need varying amounts of water to remain well-hydrated. In some environments water can be hard to find and you need to know where to look. Even when you do find water, more than two-thirds of the world’s fresh water is unsafe to drink. The course provides in-depth knowledge of what the problems are and how to avoid them, with failsafe protocols for water purification anywhere in the world. These will be applied on the course repeatedly so that you know them inside-out.


Being able to provide ourselves with shelter from the elements is essential in the great outdoors. From fast and efficient tarp pitching (and we mean really fast) to considerations for locating and building shelters from natural materials, the course covers all aspects of shelter-erection. In the past we’ve found that many people have difficulty remembering tarp knots. The course is structured so that you have multiple opportunities to apply all of these knots. By the end of the week, they will be ingrained.


Harnessing fire is what differentiates us from other species. It allows us to subsist in regions where it would otherwise be too cold or too wet. Fire warms us, dries our clothes, cooks our food, makes our water safe to drink, illuminates our camp, discourages dangerous animals and biting insects, allows us to signal and provides the means to manipulate and shape natural materials. From basic survival through to more advanced bushcraft, being able to light and manage a fire is the most important wilderness skill.


Whatever level of fire-lighting skill you already have, this course is designed to refine and broaden your skills. You’ll master fire-lighting with sparks, matches and lighters, even in pouring rain. You’ll be amazed at the range of natural and man-made materials that can be ignited if prepared properly. We’ll show you all the ways in which you can create a flame. Top of most course attendees’ lists is the desire to light fire by friction – something that the majority of people find extremely difficult without being tutored. We provide comprehensive instruction in the bow-and-drill method on this course. This is the most widely-applicable of the friction fire-lighting methods. Our aim is for each individual on the course to achieve success with this method.


In addition to being able to reliably and consistently light a fire in all conditions, you also need to know how to select fuel and structure your fire to provide the outcome you require: Are you looking to boil a billy can quickly for a brew? Are you going to roast a meal over the fire? Are you building a fire for warmth during the night? Do you need illumination? Some woods burn quickly, others brightly. Some woods provide hot, long-lasting embers while others are toxic. Different fire-lays produce different effects. We cover what you need to know to get it right.

Natural Cordage:

Producing cordage from natural materials is a much under-valued skill. You need bindings for many purposes in the outdoors, from camp gadgets to bark containers to shelters. Without cordage you can’t make snares, fishing lines or nets. You need cordage for the bow-and-drill method of friction fire-lighting. More advanced traditional skills such as building canoes or toboggans also require natural bindings. We’ll show you how to select and process a wide range of natural materials for bindings and cordage.

Cutting Tools:

While many of the tasks of bushcraft are possible without a cutting tool, some are impractical and most are made easier if you have at least a knife. We cover tool selection, use and care, including practical advice on sharpening.

Carving Skills:

With access to metal tools that can attain and hold a good edge, the possibilities of what we can fashion from natural materials is extended considerably. The course covers the safe use of cutting tools then progresses through basic utility carving to shaping more elaborate but equally useful items. Even if you are used to using a knife, we’ll add insight or impetus to your carving.

Wilderness Fishing Techniques:

While modern angling for sport is a leisure activity enjoyed by many, it isn’t always the most efficient way of catching fish. We explain and show you the most effective active and passive fishing techniques that are easily applied with minimal equipment. This will increase your chances of getting fish out of the water if you need to. You’ll also learn how to gut and prepare fish of various sizes, including cooking them over a fire.

Traps and Trapping:

If we are to rely on nature for sustenance, then in addition to knowing where animals may be active, we also need to know how to catch them effectively. We cover legal (UK) methods of trapping and, if time allows, one or two traditional methods of trapping that should only be applied in a survival situation or in territories where they are legal. Studying traps is interesting even for those who have no interest in catching animals. Many of the trigger mechanisms are ingenious and they give an insight to the inventiveness of our forebears.

Small Game Preparation:

If we obtain small game, then we need to know how to prepare it. Many people these days have very little idea of how to butcher even a small animal, let alone a larger one. Even though larger animals can feed many people for days, you will most regularly be preparing small game. We show you quick and easy methods of making the most of the meat from a small mammal.

Plant and Tree ID:

At the heart of bushcraft is the study of nature. Central to this is knowledge of trees, plants and their uses. This starts with being able to reliably identify various useful species. Until you can recognise which bark to use for tinder or for cordage-making, for example, then you cannot proceed to the next stage of the process. We’ll show you how to reliably identify key species with a broad geographical distribution, so that you can always utilise the resources they provide.

Plants and Trees for Food and Medicine:

In addition to identifying key species for their utility, you should also know important species for food. Which species yield the most energy? Which contain a significant amount of protein or fat? Which are easy to collect? Which have a wide geographical distribution? How do you process them? Plants are also a source of medicine and we look at some of the more important ones. Importantly, when selecting plants for food or medicine, we need to ensure we select the correct species and do not confuse them with toxic species. We provide clear guidance on this important aspect of foraging.

Wilderness Outfit:

What kit do you really need? What are the most essential items to carry on your person? Which clothing works well and why? How do you pack it? All this and more will be discussed and explored during the course. Even the hardened kit fanatic will be discarding previously-essential items at the end of this week. One of the beauties of bushcraft is that it shows us how little of our equipment is of much importance as well as showing the great importance of a few key items.

Looking After the Land and Leave-no-Trace:

Throughout the course, there is an emphasis on using natural resources sparingly, taking only what you need. While many bushcraft skills have an impact on the local environment, we encourage thoughtfulness in harvesting materials. There are also some legal considerations, particularly with regards to foraging. One of the key skills of wilderness bushcraft is the harnessing of fire. But a fire managed badly can cause damage to an environment. We teach how to judge whether a fire is appropriate and, if so, how to manage it and clear-up appropriately.

Practical Bushcraft Skills for the Trail:

It’s one thing to practice various bushcraft techniques from the comfort of a base camp. It’s another to apply them in real-time while undertaking a journey. Our instructors are experienced wilderness travellers and will show you how to apply your skills in a realistic way.

bushcraft fire skills being applied on the trail
Learn to apply bushcraft skills in a realistic way…

What People Say About The Elementary Wilderness Bushcraft Course:

Detail of What You Will Learn: The Syllabus

  • How to choose cutting tools for wilderness bushcraft
  • Safety in the use of cutting tools
  • The knife techniques of bushcraft
  • Carving skills and making useful utensils and gadgets
  • Knife sharpening – at home and on the trail
  • Methods of fire-lighting, including friction fire-lighting
  • Choosing and preparing tinder and kindling
  • Fire management and creating the right fire for the job
  • Cooking with fires – with and without a cooking pot
  • Water – finding, collecting and purifying
  • How to choose and use a tarp
  • Shelters from natural materials
  • Making cordage from plant fibres, roots and bark
  • Trees and plants for food and medicine
  • Poisonous trees and plants
  • Traps and trapping
  • Small game preparation
  • Wilderness fishing techniques
  • Elementary natural navigation
  • Wilderness environmental hazards
  • Looking after the land and leaving no trace

All the Other Details You Need to Know…


You don’t need to spend lots of money on specialist clothing or equipment for this course. What you will need is some basic outdoor clothing and camping equipment.

A full kit-list is available here and it will also be e-mailed to you with your e-mail receipt after your booking has been accepted.

Specialist equipment will be provided for your use during the course. This includes the loan of a tarp, bivvy bag, billy can, water purification kit, sharpening stone, folding saw, flint and steel as well as all group kit.


This course will be conducted entirely outdoors, from an expedition-style base camp and you will be camping out for the duration of the course.

There will be a covered teaching area which also serves as a communal area for breaks. There is a fire, kettle, tea, coffee, biscuits and cordial available here.

Engrossing carving session
Elementary course students engrossed in their work during a carving session in the main parachute teaching area.


All food is provided but a good amount of the preparation and cooking will be done by you and your fellow participants in order to provide you with practical experience of this aspect of outdoor living. Evening meal timings will be somewhat dependent on how quickly you gather firewood, organise yourselves and apply the fire-management skills being taught on the course. We will show you how to prepare a range of simple campfire meals and rest assured, you will not go hungry! To be clear, we do provide an evening meal on the first evening of the course.

If you have any allergies, food intolerances or other dietary requirements, please make sure you include this information when you book. There is an opportunity during the booking process to tell us about this.

Fileting salmon for ponassing
Preparing salmon for cooking over the fire during an Elementary Wilderness Bushcraft Course. Photo: Paul Kirtley.

Prerequisites and Experience Required

No previous bushcraft or camping experience is required to attend this course. All you need is a positive mental attitude, a willingness to learn and some perseverance to see tasks through. That said, you should note that this is not a nine-to-five course. The experience of living in the woods for a week is part of the learning process employed on the course, including preparing meals on a campfire and wild camping. The course programme is a full week of instruction and practical activities, with most people finding the course tiring. Indeed, it may at times stretch you. You will be living outdoors all week and you should be comfortable with the fact that you will be on your feet and/or using your hands for much of your waking hours.

Badge that says FREE

FREE Equipment with this Bushcraft Course

During the course you will receive a Heavy Duty carbon steel bushcraft knife by Mora of Sweden, and a large Strikefire ferro rod – a British made product, using the best ferrocerium rod available

These are important pieces of kit and will be yours to keep.

Mora Heavy Duty Companion Knife & StrikeFire Ferro Rod.
FREE with this course: Mora Heavy Duty Companion Knife & StrikeFire Ferro Rod.

Availability and Booking: Elementary Wilderness Bushcraft Course

Duration: 6 days.
Price: £747
Included: All instruction, food and specialist equipment. No hidden fees or extra kit rental.
Deposit: 25% on booking.
Suitability: 18 years and above.
Course size: 12 participants (maximum).
Course Meeting Time: 18:30 Day 1.
Course Finish Time: 16:00 Day 7.
Location: East Sussex.

Course Leader: A good number of our long-standing team members are qualified to run this cornerstone course. Any course leader will be accompanied by two or three course assistants too, ensuring a high staff-to-student ratio.

Elementary Wilderness Bushcraft Course Dates:

07/04/24 – 13/04/24

22/09/24 – 28/09/24

Book your course now

Back to the Frontier bushcraft courses page.