We love nothing more than Bushcraft in Dorset! Getting our hands dirty in the woods, putting our survival skills to the test, or just relaxing with pals around the campfire. We’ve put together a guide to our favourite Bushcraft activities, so keep reading to find out more.
Did you know we get up to tons of Bushcraft in Dorset- running Bushcraft Courses in our special patch woodland year round? Why not join us!
Bushcraft Dorset – Fire Lighting
When you hear bushcraft your mind’s eye sees fire. Fire is one of those age old human fascinations that makes fire lighting a skill that most of us wouldn’t mind having under our hats. And, that’s not even taking in to account fire’s brilliant practicality! From keeping warm, purifying water and cooking food when adventuring in the GREAT outdoors.
Here’s a brief how to, Fore style
*It’s important to make sure that you have chosen your fire site taking in to account safety. Whether your chosen site lies on roots that have the capability of catching fire or overhanging branches that are equally flammable
- A fire steel or matches
- Tinder (We like natural, using dandelion clocks, dry pine needles or dry grass. Man-made material such as cotton wool balls also work well)
- Kindling (small twigs, sticks, bark)
- Wood (big pieces of wood that will sustain the fire)
- An area suitable for bushcraft fire lighting
Bushcraft Dorset – How To Light Your Fire
First things first you’ll need to build a teepee shaped construction, using your kindling first. Then progressively larger pieces of wood as the outer part of the structure. It is important that you leave room to be able to place your tinder at the base of and in the centre of your teepee structure.
It can be helpful to literally stick some of the kindling sticks in the ground to form strong legs to the structure. Then the other pieces of kindling and wood resting against these more sturdy pieces.
Ignite your tinder material, having shaped it into a nest like shape and using either your firesteel or matches. Shape the nest around your spark if using the firesteel (or flame if using matches). Gently blow into the tinder nest, allowing the oxygen to fan the spark in to flame. This part is bushcraft heaven!
From here, place the ignited tinder into the centre of your earlier constructed teepee. Getting low to the ground, continue to gently blow into the centre of the structure until you can see that the kindling has caught light.
And that Fore Adventurers is a simple bushcraft guide to get your fire started, and your woodland adventures off to a primal start. Consider fire-lighting, after giving the above how-to a couple of go’s, a skill under your adventure hat.
*The extinguishing of a fire is as important as the lighting; we always want to leave a site as it was when we started and in a safe condition. To do this, make sure the fire has burnt out, ensuring the ashes have too by covering them in water. After this, collect and spread the ashes, putting more water on to the site where your fire was. Then, using a stick, disturb the ground where your fire was to enable the water to get into the ground- ensuring no roots have caught light. Finally, camouflage your fire site with leaves and twigs to make sure no trace is left.
Want to experience your own Bushcraft Adventure in Dorset? Check out our sessions here.
Bushcraft Dorset – Knots
“If you can’t tie knots tie lots” that is the age old saying right? Well if you’re like us and you think having a few good knots up your sleeve will make setting up a bushcraft camp better. Or lashing those branches together a slick affair, then we would have to agree. Gone are the days where knowing how to make a ‘frapping turn’ or how to tie an ‘alpine butterfly loop’ was an integral part of our development. However that doesn’t mean we can’t pick up these skills now and have an amazing time tying ourselves in knots.
Learning Bushcraft knots can be a challenge, but we love to set a challenge so please share with us how you get on with these knots. Here in this blog are some of our most used survival knots that serve us well on our Bushcraft courses and time in the woods. To enjoy your time outdoors and be well prepared to make your camp, knots are something you need to practice and learn. Luckily we think that some of the simplest knots like the clove hitch are actually the most effective, useful knots and easiest to learn quickly. Here are the 6 most useful knots for bushcraft activities we think you should know.
The Bowline Knot
Why: This knot is probably one you may have heard of already, you would use this anytime you need a fixed loop, usually at the end of a line.
For Example: To add a fixed loop to the end of a guideline on your tarp, in order to peg it out.
The Clove Hitch Knot
Why: Possibly one of the most versatile knots around it can be used for attaching a rope from one object to another. It works best on horizontal lengths of wood or as a start to most lashings.
For Example: Try attaching a corner of your tarp to a mid to high branch using this knot.
The Sheet Bend Knot
Why: This knot has one simple but perfect purpose. Use it to attach one length of cord to another to create an extra long piece. A top tip would be that it works best with cord of differing diameters.
For Example: Is your shelter ridge line not long enough? Use this one! Perhaps you need a washing line but only have 2 short lengths? Now you can have one effective piece.
The Alpine Butterfly Knot
Why: A good precursor to the next knot the “trucker’s hitch”. But equally useful anytime you need a fixed loop in the middle of a rope unlike the bowline which primarily will be at the end of a line. This knot can also take a 3 way load which makes it a good choice to create the truckers hitch.
For Example: Maybe you have accidently put a cut in your rope with your knife? Use this to isolate that damaged piece and you can carry on using the rope without the worry of breaking it.
The Truckers Hitch Knot
Why: We would have to say once learnt this has to be one of the best methods to creating a taut ridgeline for your camp.
For Example: This is the ideal system to use when putting up that all important tarp to keep you dry whilst sleeping in your hammock.
The Round Turn and 2 Half Hitches Knot
Why: This is a great one to leave you with as it gives you the ability to secure one end of your line to an object. Before having to tie any of the other knots you have learnt in this blog.
For Example: Use this to attach one end of your ridgeline to a tree. Before you work your way along in order to create that truckers hitch system to complete it.
We hope this has given you plenty to practice with. If you find yourself at a “loose end” then we always have plenty of great bushcraft experiences you are more than welcome to come and get involved with. Don’t forget building a good bank of knots you can tie well, takes time so be patient and have fun learning them.
Bushcraft Dorset – Find Out More
There’s loads more to learn in the woods, whether you want to purify water, get your hands on some key bushcraft toosl, or learn more about wild food and foraging, there’s so many skills to learn! We run various bushcraft courses in Dorset, why not find out more!