Go Wild in the Countryside: Let your kids learn to love the outdoors on one of these exciting survival courses
- The Bear Grylls Survival Academy offers 24-hour courses at three locations
- Play as Castaway on the Jurassic Coast at the Coastal Survival School
- Learn how to identify wildlife trails on the Wildwood Bushcraft course in Sussex
Have you exhausted your list of family outdoor activities during the pandemic? Then why not get the gang on board for a survival course when the restrictions are lifted?
Spring is just around the corner and outdoor centers have bushcraft adventures that are suitable for everyone from shy types to aspiring grandparents.
If you are a fan of his TV shows then test your skills to become a graduate of the Bear Grylls Survival Academy. There are three 24-hour family survival courses – in the Brecon Beacons, Dartmoor and the South Downs.
Back to Nature: Crossing a River at Bear Grylls Survival Academy
Don’t worry, you don’t have to drink your own urine or sleep in a camel carcass. But Bear’s team will show you how to cross rivers, chase an animal, improve knife skills while preparing a rabbit for dinner, and find some materials to build a shelter to sleep in before light and wake up early to find your way back to base. Courses start at £ 219 per person (beargryllssurvivalacademy.com).
On a weekend Wildwood Bushcraft A course in Sussex teaches you how to purify river water and identify wildlife trails. When night falls, see the mesmerizing glow of a campfire instead of the TV and curl up in your sleeping bag for a night under the stars.
This course is intended for self-catering. So remember to pack a few easy-to-cook meals in your backpack (plus toilet roll for the pit latrine). The two day breaks are £ 110 per person (wildwoodbushcraft.com).
It’s not quite Tom Hanks in Castaway, but discover how to use that to get out of a crisis Coastal Survival School. Every family member can play as a castaway on a stretch of beach along the Jurassic Coast in West Dorset. Learn how to generate a rescue signal and get to safety along the coast.
Experienced guides will show you what useful appetizers the English Channel has to offer, from kale to plump clams. You will also go into how, in the event of a mutilation, you can stay mentally strong so you can make calm decisions. The two day course with one night beach camping costs £ 138 per person (Coastalsurvival.com).
For those who don’t feel like sleeping in a tent or emergency shelter, keep rolling to the 7th climb. This quirky bushcraft school near Truro, Cornwall was started by nature lover and TV presenter Thom Hunt.
A mother and daughter learn how to make a fire on the 7th Ascent near Truro, Cornwall
Thom describes survival courses as the “ultimate family bond experience because everyone can enjoy the satisfaction of doing a task together”. Adventure seekers are tested before arriving in 7. Ascentas the remote venue is pretty much to find. Once you’ve hiked over three fields, a steep path, and through ancient oak forests, you’ll find Penperth, a beautifully renovated blacksmith’s house that doubles as a warehouse. There is also a tree house and a converted flower shed if you want to sleep a little away from the wall.
Classes include how to slaughter a freshly caught deer, have a delicious fire-roasted dinner with a spoon carved earlier in the day, and canoeing on the Fal River in front of the cottage. Full board weekends are £ 315 per person (7thrise.co.uk). The outdoor educational charity, Field Studies Council, encourages everyone to leave the technology at home before venturing into one of the three-day courses. Andy Pratt, who runs the FSC base in Somerset – a quaint Tudor mansion on the outskirts of Exmoor – describes courses as “the ultimate cure for boredom”.
He adds, “Learning some survival skills, even if as simple as cooking over an open fire, brings a sense of adventure and excitement, and let’s face it, it’s not what everyone feels like after months of home schooling long! ‘Prices from £ 144pp (field-studies-council.org).
The Family Foraging Kitchen offers free classes to low-income families. The picture shows the Rame peninsula
If you have the time and money, navigate Cornwall’s beautiful Rame Peninsula.
The Family feed kitchen (familyforagingkitchen.co.uk) offers free classes for low income families. Otherwise it is only £ 25 per adult while children and grandparents are free.
Pick up some seaweed from the beach and learn how to cook it during a walk along the coast, or grab a handful of dandelion leaves to make a surprisingly tasty salad.