Natural Bushcraft - The True Spirit of Bushcraft

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Camping Trips

Dartmoor from Above - Snow

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Filmed in January 2016 my wife and I visited Dartmoor I tried my hand at filming the snowey landscape from above.


Big Fish - Kayaking Chill

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A chilled day in the woods and on the water. This is the first time I have managed to catch a fish on film underwater, the conditions weren't ideal either it was merky but I was tickled like a trout with the shots I managed to get. I hope you enjoy the video.


Lads Weekend

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Camping, Clay Pigeon Shooting, Archery, Air Rifle Plinking & Tree Climbing! 


Tom Dale Live in the Woods

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It doesn't get much better than this, a magical party in the woods with friends, food and great music! Tom Dale is a muscian that my younger brother and I love so what a treat to get to listen to him live in the woods! Thanks to Jane @ The Hedge Combers for the invite.


Small Coastal Meet in Polperro

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A small gathering of friends camping near Polperro, we spent the weekend relaxing in the woods and catching up. We did a spot of fishing, plant ID and enjoyed some lovely weather. See the discussion about this video here.

Music by Seasick Steve - Track: Diddgey Bo


Party in the Woods

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Phil with CoracleWritten by Phil Keelan | Photos & Editing by Ashley Cawley.

I got a message from Ash on Friday that Jonny and Janie had organised a sweet little party in their woods and would I like to go? Woods? Camping? Live music? Great food? How could I resist. So after packing my overnight gear and gathering supplies from the local farmers shop, myself Ash and Claire headed off to east Cornwall on a little adventure...


There and Back Again, A Coracle Tale

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Phil with CoracleWritten by Phil Keelan | Photos & Editing by Ashley Cawley.

With a free ish weekend ahead and torrential rain forcasted.... Lets go camping! Once again last minute plans were cobbled together and we settled on heading for a local quiet spot for a night in the woods. We being myself, Ashley, Matt and Martin. The first time we'd all managed to get together since the Cornwall RV in April. Maybe we could discuss plans for this years Challenge trip? Maybe I could finish off my kids camp spoons? Maybe I could get started on the bullroarer MK2? Who knows? These days I live life with no expectations and would be quite happy just to hang out in the woods with the gennelmen three.



Messing about in boats

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Phil with CoracleWritten by Phil Keelan

So yesterday I found myself in need of a night in the hammock and I fancied taking the coracle for a spin too. I put the idea to Matt and Ash to meet at a quiet spot and, well, make it up as we go. I'd already had a great morning with my kids Corey and Erin, foraging the coastline for wildfood. Then the day just got better. I got all my gear packed and ready, attached the coracle and my foraging bag to my rucsack and tried it on for size. I felt a little over balanced, but not too uncomfortable. The goal was this - Walk 2.5-3km to the site, paddle across the lake to a place almost inaccessable by land, stay the night and have fun. Without further hesitation, I set off on my way.

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Not 10 minutes into my journey, I bumped into Matt. Times have been busy for us both and I hadn't seen he since the Cornwall RV. Was good to have a natter and know that he was gonna pop along later as well. 

It seemed the whole of my small rural town was out celebrating the Jubilee. The looks, and indeed comments I recieved were comical :D


Dartmoor 8 Item Bushcraft Challenge

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So it's that time of year! Time to enjoy ourselves and embark on what has become a personal, annual Dartmoor Challenge. Last October was our first year, the challenge was set: Camping on Dartmoor for 3 Days with just 10 items, food/drink & clothes were considered free items but everything else including things like your Rucksack, Toilet roll etc. counted as an item! You weren't really allowed to share items so you had to take everything you needed...


Last year I think it was fair to say none of us struggled and we all had a brilliant time, the weather looked atrocious on our journey to Dartmoor but we were blessed with wonderful weather for most of the trip. I remember looking forward to shooting a fair bit of film last time so that I could make a nice video when I got back to share with others, however on the first day of the trip my battery broke and I didn't get to video much!

Luckily Martin had his trusty Flip-cam and I still managed to put together a video when we got back. Once I knew my camera was knackered I decided to compensate by taking lots of photos on with my Canon 450D, I'm glad I did because I took some fabulous shots, some of which I'm really proud of.

If you haven't seen last year's video, here it is:


So, one year on we have decided that the challenge will drop by 2 items each year, so very soon we will be off to Dartmoor for 3 days and only taking 8 items.


We do carry a First Aid Kit & phones but these aren't used to aid our survival, they are there in case of emergencies.

This trip creates a lot of friendly banter weeks in advance, who's packing what, deciding what you need and what you can do without. Finding multiple uses for things and continually swapping items on your list whilst you imagine different combinations of kit.

We use a Google Document which is shared online between the four of us, it allows us all to see each other's kit list and unfortunately it also allows for mischief! For example someone today changed my number one item (Rucksack) to "The finest quality camping chair" and other various items were swapped out for rude items of which I cannot repeat here!

Believe it or not picking just 8 items is a lot trickier than picking 10. I would say 9 or 10 items is actually a sweet spot for living life comfortably in the wilds. Whereas trying to reduce it down to 8 I find myself wishing I could have just one more item.

Last year I didn't take a head-torch, I could have if I wanted (I had enough space on my list) but I thought it would be interesting to try make do without. Whilst I knew a headtorch could be an incredibly handy tool I also thought it'd be nice to try camping on Dartmoor for the first time without a torch and surely it's just a matter of getting your camp fully in order and laid out so that you don't really need light when it's dark right? Well after last year I'd say you could do with a torch, it's do'able without but it's just immensely helpful to have in the evenings.

Matts-kitSo here is my kit list so far:

  1. Rucksack
  2. Tarp (3x3m Tatonka)
  3. Hammock (DD Travel 2010)
  4. Knife (Fallkniven F1)
  5. Lighter
  6. Cocoon (SnugPak Cocoon)
  7. Toilet Roll
  8. Billycan
  9. Torch
So I have to drop one item off my list. What would you loose?

What would you take?

If you're interested to know what others think about this trip you can follow the forum discussion here.

Here is the blog-post from last years trip.
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Natural Bushcraft is a personal project aiming to provide a free bushcraft resource available to everyone.

Sharing Bushcraft Skills and Knowledge Freely regardless of age or status is important to me.

Welcome to the...
'The True Spirit of Bushcraft'

Best wishes
Ashley Cawley.

UK Wild Food - Jan

Listed here are Wild Foods that should be available in parts of the UK in January.

Daisy leaf

Gorse flower
Greater Plantain
Ribwort Plantain
Buck's Horn Plantain (coastal)
Scurvy Grass
Sea beet
Sea Radish
Pennywort (particularly good at the moment)
Alexanders (very good at the moment)
Chirvil (be very careful , as Hemlock Water-Dropwort is starting to sprout now and looks very similar, but is deadly poisonous!)
Sea Purslane
Rock Samphire (still usable, but a bit over now, coastal)
Rose Hips
Common Sorrel
Ivy-Leaved Toadflax
Wood sorrel
Three-cornered leek

*These are just some of the wild edibles you will find in the UK this month.

The Hedge Combers


A beautiful blog by my friend Janie sharing tips on self-sufficiency, homemade recipes, growing fruit, veg & rearing animals for meat & eggs.

Woodland Valley

Woodland Valley an Organic Farm in the centre of Cornwall.
A Bushcraft Friendly Campsite with Ancient Woodland and Group Accommodation  available.

Another Bushcraft & Wilderness Skills website that I love, by a friend & superb Photographer Gary Waidson.

Community Bloggers

If you would like to see what other members of our community get up to on their trips then take a look at the Woodland Tales section of our forum where our community post write-ups & pictures of their Bushcraft trips.


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My wife Claire has started her own Blog about Gardening, Growing Your Own / Self-Sufficiency, Chickens, Green Cleaning and much more! Please take a look, comment & bookmark the site if you enjoy it.