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Back to the Wilderness Days

OK, so Bear Grylls might have got Barack Obama, Kate Winslet, Ranveer Singh and other celebrities Running Wild, reached the summit of Everest and be Chief Boy Scout. But has he ever survived a day in the wilds of Thetford Forest? Probs not. But you can! In the expert company of Bushcraft heroes Back to Wilderness you’ll learn how to make fire, rope, survival traps and snares. And carve a very pleasing wooden spoon to use back in your kitchen at home. Plus there are some lovely pubs nearby! After all, there’s more than one way to survive in Norfolk.

Day 1
Fire & Water at Thetford Forest

Fire & Water at Thetford Forest

Could you survive in the wilderness? Does Bear Grylls er…sit in the woods?! OK, so maybe Thetford Forest isn’t quite as remote as the wild country our ancestors knew, but it’s a fantastic place for getting off the sofa and outside your comfort zone.

Bushcraft experts Back to Wilderness will show you the true value of fire and water at this day long woodland workshop in magnificent Thetford Forest. Learn how to make the component parts of a fire bow drill, and experience how to use them. Don’t worry – your guide will keep rookie fire-starters safe! You’ll get the opportunity to try different traditional ways to get the flames going, super useful if you lose your lighter at a BBQ. Who needs matches anyway?

You’ll make natural cordage (thread, string or rope), indispensable in a survival situation or when your belt breaks at a festival! In a world ruled by technology, there’s deep satisfaction knowing you could thrive using raw elements in a natural environment. Once you’ve learned about fire, you’ll discover how to find a source of water, purify it and hydrate yourself.

For alternative hydration techniques, there are fab pubs nearby! So once you’ve enjoyed a hands-on day in the woods, you can head back to modern comforts, a hearty meal and a well earned thirst-quencher!

This is a self-catering course. Hot and cold water’s provided so bring a pack lunch and plenty of tasty snacks.

Day 2
Spoon Carving at Thetford Forest

Spoon Carving at Thetford Forest

Reconnect with the land and the wisdom of our ancestors while learning the heritage craft of wood carving. Under the expert tutorage of a Back to Wilderness bushcraft expert, you’ll carve your own wooden spoon to take home, becoming part of a time-honoured tradition for sharing and refining folk knowledge. You’ll learn how to use a variety of hand tools, gaining confidence in safe carving techniques. Discover the magic of seeing a useful tool emerge from a plain chunk of wood, celebrating the beauty in the everyday.

During this day experience you’ll be outside in the wilds of Thetford Forest, sitting amongst the quiet splendour of magnificent pine trees. Shaping an age-old natural material surrounded by the woodland which sustains the ancient rhythms of this careful work is a profoundly peaceful process.

Free of digital distractions, you’ll discover a sense of calm, deliberately connecting hand, eye and mind, feeling the warm texture of the wood, working with the patterns of its grain. As you make your hand-crafted contemporary homeware, you’ll be absorbed by the flow of a timeless craft. The word ‘spoon’ comes from ‘spōn’, Old English for ‘chip of wood’. All homes should have at least one traditionally carved wooden spoon!

This self-catered activity takes place about 10mins walk from the lodge, slightly off the beaten track. Please ask when you book, as realistic accessibility accommodations can sometimes be made. Bring a flask of soup, packed lunch and favourite snacks!

Day 3
Survival Traps & Snares at Thetford Forest

Survival Traps & Snares at Thetford Forest

Get close to your ancestors with this one day course from Back to Wilderness, who believe that ‘remembering where we came from and how we got here, may help us better understand where we are going’.

Sometimes the best way of understanding history is to really feel it with hands-on explorations of past habits. In fact, indigenous people and forest communities continue to hunt for subsistence, and have a vested interest in maintaining balanced eco-systems and healthy wildlife. Trapping is thought to be among the earliest methods of hunting, used since prehistoric times to capture wild animals for food and fur. But no animals will be harmed throughout this course, which is intended for educational purposes only!

East Anglia is rich in history, home of the Iceni people and their warrior queen Boudicca in the 1st Century and you’ll learn the etiquette of foragers and hunters from ancient Britain and beyond. You’ll get to examine a selection of complex trap designs from around the world & learn how to build simple but effective traps for a variety of animals, essential knowledge if you have no choice, but to hunt and snare for a meal.

During this insightful and practical session we’ll consider the legal, moral & humane aspects too, familiar to fans of programmes like Ben Fogle’s New Lives in the Wild.

Since we definitely won’t be snaring any local wildlife here in beautiful Thetford Forest, please bring a packed lunch and your favourite snacks!

Build your own itinerary

If you fancy creating your own itinerary for a day trip to Norfolk or a longer visit, it couldn’t be simpler. Just go to Search Activities and select from our wide range of free and paid-for experiences, saving any that capture your imagination with the click of a button.

Once you’ve finished, you’ll find all the information stored in My Favourite, where you can drag and drop activities to create your own day-by-day itinerary! You can download this to a calendar and even share it with friends.

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