How to make a Mallet

I started with a 10inch long, 4 inch wide piece of Sweet Chestnut.

Using a Laplander saw I cut 1 1/2 inches around the centre of the piece of wood.

Using a Hultafors Forest Axe I cut down on one side of the cut, leaving the other side (head of the mallet). This is how I shaped the handle.

This axe took about 30 minutes to make!

Making a Lean To Shelter 

What I used: 1 long, strong branch (approx 2.5m). A tree with a strong supporting branch. Shorter sticks for a roof. Leaves and mud for outer Layer

Time: can be done in 30 minutes.

1. I started by finding a tree with a strong branch that would support the spine of my shelter.

2. Find a strong long branch and lean on end against the tree, this will form the spine. The length of the branch will determine the length of the shelter.

3. Using shorter sticks lay them against the spine of the shelter forming a frame/wall. You can use a weaving technique if you wish.

4. Once you’ve made a sturdy frame start to gently cover it with mud and leaves. This will result in it becoming thick and allowing you to shelter from the elements.

5. You can make frames on both sides if you have time to resemble a triangular prism and look more like a bivouac.

I took inspiration for this shelter from the Ray Mears BushCraft book.

This was a great activity and although I finished to an “acceptable” standard quite quickly, I’d have liked to continue as I was having a great time!

We need teenagers, not “Screenagers”!

I have finally started the long but exciting journey to becoming a Level 3 Forest School Leader.

As a year 4 class teacher, I’m no stranger to the various methods of education but I’ve always found that the learning process is more enjoyable and memorable when outside of the classroom!

Forest School encourages the development of people outside of the classroom in a natural environment. By taking children outside and offering new exciting experiences with an element of risk we can encourage children to develop in ways that aren’t possible inside the classroom! When I was younger it was normal to disappear into nature in the morning with my friends and to return at dinner. This sadly is no longer the case, with technology developing quickly, children are constantly attached to mobile phones, televisions, laptops and computer games. This and the effects of an over protective society is resulting in children’s comfort zone stopping at their front door. How will they cope in new situations? Will they be confident in new schools or jobs? Will they be able to work as effective member of a team?

The comfort zone is like a muscle. With slow stretching we can increase it’s size. For this reason Forest School takes place over an extended period of time, throughout the school year, regardless of the weather.

I am doing my training with a company called “EarthCraftUK” ( Over the course of the year I’ll be learning the safest and most effective strategies to lead my Forest School.

As I am not yet a Forest School Leader I have started an Outdoor Club at my school. At this club, children will help me set up our Forest School site and use tools that might make a lot of teachers and children cringe!

I’ll be using this blog as a method of sharing Bushcraft methods that I have used, activities done at Forest School and as a way of reflecting on my own learning.