Woodlore — School of Wilderness Bushcraft  


Wilderness Navigation

The key to the Wilderness

Learning the art of navigation is a profoundly liberating experience. Suddenly, the forests and mountains, deserts and tundras of the earth cease to be off limits and the fear of losing your way is banished by the confidence it brings.

One of the first skills of the bush you must acquire, navigation really is the key to the wilderness and makes all the other bushcraft skills truly relevant.

Further Information

An exciting and addictive skill, Navigation is one of the very first areas you must address if you want to spend time outdoors, once you have learned to find your way it makes all the other bushcraft skills more meaningful and relevant. It is an essential skill in your repertoire, after all what's the point in being able to split wood with an axe or light a fire if you cannot find your way in the wilderness? You're unlikely to make it far. Bushcraft skills are employed to make life more comfortable when on a journey, so how can you embark on a journey without knowing how to find your way?

You don't need to go far in the countryside before someone who is lost asks you to show them where they are on the map, many people get away with little or no knowledge, but poor navigation even in the British hills, costs lives. If you have never had a go at navigating you may think it looks boring but as you gain experience you feel like you can go anywhere and an overwhelming sense of independence is developed.

Navigation is not the mysterious art some would have you believe. It's simply the application of good observation, logical thinking and common sense. The Woodlore Wilderness Navigation course provides a thorough, no-nonsense grounding in all aspects of the skill, equipping you with the ability to traverse open country or dense forest, day or night, in all weathers.

Navigation is a key skill for those who wish to travel in the wild. Even if you are in a group, don't rely on others to navigate for you; what if the leader of your group is injured or taken ill? What if your guide exaggerated their abilities? If you are following established trails or venturing further off the beaten track, you should be able to keep track of where you are and get home safely again.

Based on Ray's experience of travelling in wild and remote parts of the World for over 30 years, this course teaches you what you really need to know. Using methods Woodlore has used to train its own staff, you may well be surprised at the approach we take on this course.

Key subjects covered include:

  • Why people get lost
  • How to deal with getting lost
  • How to avoid getting lost
  • Reading Maps and Charts
  • Reading the Landscape
  • Use of the Compass
  • Speed and Distance
  • Route Planning
  • Practical Wilderness Navigation Techniques

You will be given time to practice every technique that you learn on this course and test your skills in practical and realistic ways.

This course starts at 17:30 on Sunday and will finish at 16:00 on Saturday.


This course is self-catering, so please bring enough food for the duration of the course and a stove to cook it on. Many clients have found in the past, bringing a cool box is useful to keep all of your food inside.

We provide a kettle, tea, coffee, squash and biscuits in a brew box at the main camp fire of the course, under a large parachute. We also have fresh drinking water and a fruit bowl available.

Course Site

The Wilderness Navigation course will take place at an expedition style camp in East Sussex, close to Tunbridge Wells. The camp is situated in beautiful private woodland with no public access with lots of wildlife including deer, owls, badgers, fox and butterflies. We do not have shower/toilet blocks at our sites, therefore all aspects of the course will have a fantastic wilderness feel, using a screened camp shower and a screened latrine in the woods.

We have a car park at the course site where your car will be kept during the course (if you bring one).

Other Details

Joining instructions will be sent to participants of the course 9 weeks before it is due to start, giving details of where to meet, at what time, and what to bring with you.

If your time is limited we also have a 2-day navigation course available called UK Woodland Navigation, this course teaches you one of the most difficult concepts to grasp; navigating in thick woodland in both day and night.

Dates, Costs and Bookings

  This particular course is already underway and there are no other dates currently available. Please sign up to our mailing list for future course updates.

Course Reviews

Wilderness Navigation is rated 5/5 based on 6 customer reviews.

All of our reviews are from people who have attended our courses.

Overall Rating:


  1 of 6

  Outstanding course - learnt so much in such a short period. Instructors were very knowledgeable (and patient!) Most of the skills are simple and easy to learn and remember when you really need them. Having done previous courses I was familiar with Keith and Dave, but Brian was a real star - wonderfully calm and hugely experienced. Navigating in adverse weather was a challenge - and proved you have to be prepared for anything. I am amazed that this course is not more popular - it's essential even for day and weekend trips - and hugely rewarding. I would highly recommend this to anyone venturing out in the countryside.  


Rated: 5/5

  2 of 6

  The Wilderness Navigation Course far exceeded my already high expectations for a Woodlore course. I arrived at the start of the week with almost zero knowledge of map reading and the broader processes of navigation, and although I still have a lot to learn (and more importantly to practice), I now have a solid grounding that has given me the confidence to start planning journeys into the wild I would never have previously considered. The night navigation exercises were particularly valuable for me in building trust in the tools of navigation. Others in the group had far more experience of navigating with map and compass, but I know also took an enormous amount of valuable information with them from the course. Massive thanks to the expert (and patient!) tuition from Keith, Dave and Brian. The Wilderness Navigation Course may just have made it to the top of my favourites out of the five Woodlore courses I’ve attended so far, and I urge anyone with an interest in Bushcraft to sign up for this course next year.  


Rated: 5/5

  3 of 6

  The Wilderness Navigation Course by Woodlore was wonderful. It was a really stimulating week with great tuition and application. Loved it! The best part was practicing our skills during the night navigation sessions. The other best part was the test at the end of the week where we got to practice what we had learned. It was great to see how everyone went from only having the most basic grasp of navigation to being accomplished navigators. Very satisfying course. Worth every penny.  


Rated: 5/5

  4 of 6

  Bushcraft is important, but for anyone who wants the freedom to explore, with confidence, I would highly recommend doing the Wilderness Navigation course. I was amazed how much knowledge and then practice is involved in the course…much better value for money than I could have hoped. I can't wait to continue to use and develop my new knowledge and skills. Rob and Mark, our instructors, hard working, great guys; loads of knowledge and importantly, experience behind them…the challenges we met during the course have inspired me to continue my personal journey much further. I look forward to another meeting with the Woodlore team!  


Rated: 5/5

  5 of 6

  Wow what a fantastic week! I was a little nervous about camping out in the woods rustic style for a whole week (I haven’t slept under canvas for more than the odd night for about 20 years) but with help from the Woodlore Team I settled to it very quickly. I thought a week seemed like a long time to learn how to navigate using a map and compass given that there are courses and tutorials out there that deal with the topic in much less time. However, even on the first day we started learning about so much more than just these ‘tools’ and it became apparent that Woodlore were going to do their usual thorough job. And they did! Having the night excursions at the beginning of the week seemed an odd way to start out but as the week progressed and we built up skills and experience the value of these earlier exercises became apparent, they would not have had the same impact done any other way. It was fantastic to suddenly find that half way through the week the skills that we had been slowly assimilating were suddenly coming together. I started the week with only the most basic understanding of my compass but left knowing that with it and a map I can confidently go anywhere. Thank you Woodlore, the sense of freedom this experience has given me is something I cannot describe.  


Rated: 5/5

  6 of 6

  Please can you pass on my thanks to Paul, James, Jeremy and Tom for a fab week! It was great fun and I learned a huge amount! This is my third course with Woodlore and it never ceases to amaze me how the instructors manage to use differentiated teaching, to pass on so much, in such a short space of time and keep you laughing! This time, our group ranged from complete novices who (allegedly) could not navigate their way out of a wet paper bag (me) to pilots who knew a thing or two about navigation! It is quite a shock when you flick back through the notebook at the end of the week and see just how far you have come and realize that things that you found hard on day one, seem like a walk in the park by the end of the week! I am really looking forward to putting the new found knowledge and skills into practice! I will keep my trusty notebook and compass close to hand, a marker pen so I can mark the route on my map, protected in its waterproof case, of course. If I forget where I have been (it must be my age!) I am confident that I now know how to work out where I am and how to get to where I want to be! I am really quite excited about navigating and biking in the New Forest in the Summer as well as exploring closer and further away from home. Fortunately my other half loves maps, so we already have a good selection of maps and places to choose from and plenty of scope to decide where to explore next . We have several compasses, not to mention the brand new 'baby' Silva that has joined the family. It will be interesting to compare map and compass with the Sat Map gadget, at least the former won't ever run out of batteries at a crucial moment! It is very hard being back at work - I would much rather be back walking in the woods! When I came back from Woodsense I noticed all the wildlife - now I have a new hobby of contour spotting! They get everywhere! See you next year - unless I have to book on another course before learning how to wield an axe!  


Rated: 5/5

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Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to frequently asked questions about this course can be found here. If you have a question about this course, please contact us.

Will there be showers and toilets available?
The weather forecast isn’t looking good for the week ahead, will the course still take place?

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