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Ever wondered how they did it, our ancestors?

This one day course is all about Firecraft. In it you will learn the fundamentals of lighting and maintaining a fire, whether it’s a chilly spring morning or the depths of snowy winter.

We will cover;

IgnitionMethods: Modern / Ancient / Pre-Historic
GrowthTinder / Kindling / Wood
MaintenanceFinding Materials / Building your Fire / Understanding Fire
SafetySite Selection / Preventing Wildfires / Burn First Aid

The day will be split in two halves. The first part will focus on different methods of creating an ember or a flame using natural materials.

Part two will focus on the often overlooked, but as, if not more important element of firecraft – maintaining a fire. More often than not it is at this stage that people struggle. We will spend time practicing and ensuring you have the knowedge and ability to maintain a fire.

Suitable for complete beginners, as well as those looking to improve and learn new skills.

As with all woodcraft & bushcraft activities, the most important elements are identification & respect. You must see the woods with familiar eyes. Tree identification, spotting deadwood and general woodland knowledge will permeate the days learning. Respect, care and understanding are what create a good fire.


The oldest man at the Reserve is Joseph Patsah. He lights a fire in the woods with all the precision and attention to detail that is the untroubled self-consciousness of those who, with age, are resolved that what they represent be respected. He selects each piece of wood, pauses before placing it in the flame; pauses to look at it, frozen for an instant in some thought about its suitability or texture or species. It is easy to feel impatient with this pace and attentiveness to detail, with its touches of zeal, even fanaticism. Easy to be impatient, that is, until you remember what fire signifies to hunters of the sub-Arctic forest: fires and walking are the two ways to keep warm – clothes are light and the old cannot always walk long enough or fast enough to keep out the cold. Excellence with fires is essential. Joseph Patsah does not flaunt his skill.

From Hugh Brody’s book – ‘Maps & Dreams’

Pease read the information below carefully before booking.

Use the arrows either side of the calendar to navigate through the months to see when workshops are running!

Location –

Hardy’s Birthplace Visitor Centre & Thorncombe Wood – DT2 8QJ

Courses run from 10am – 4pm

All tools & wood provided

COVID-19 –

If a workshop has to be rescheduled due to a change in Covid circumstances, a rebooking voucher will be offered to all students.

Excluding the above, all bookings are non-refundable.

These workshops are for adults only, however children from age 16+ may attend if joined by a participating adult.


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