Tracking is an ancient art often shrouded in mysticism. Those observing the tracker at work can be forgiven for imbuing them with secret gifts of seeing but the truth is that trackers are trained and that anybody can become one. Woodlore invites you to join the ranks of those people who have trained their senses and skills of observation to lift the woodland veil and experience the forest in high definition.
We will start by “turning up the volume” on the senses that have become muted by the pace and nature of modern life. You will slow down, tune in to the rhythm, sights, sounds and smells of the woods; feel the texture of the ground as you learn to move unseen and unheard and begin to feel more a part of the forest. These are the foundations upon which you will build over the next few days.
Once the group is ready, we will start to track. Moving slowly at first, you will learn to recognize the subtle signs left by the passing of humans and animals. You will find where each step has fallen, interpreting flattening, changes of colour, creased leaves, broken twigs and out of place foliage to find the footfall of your target. As the days progress, you will learn techniques that allow you to move more quickly over various terrains and recognize the signs left above ground level. Soon you will be able to move with urgency and build a profile of who or what you are tracking. This allows you to predict movement, overtake your target and find not just the print but the foot that made it. This is the true art of tracking.
Beyond these fundamental skills, you will spend time observing the very special wildlife that inhabits your forest home; learn how to use your binoculars correctly, how to age the sign that you see and have every opportunity to immerse yourself in stunning surroundings.
Of huge value to all who enjoy being in the outdoors, tracking is also a vital skill for those involved in law enforcement, search and rescue, wildlife monitoring, conservation and countering poachers and has been relied upon around the world for thousands of years. Your new skills will feed back into everything that you do and you will see the world through new eyes.
Some of the topics covered in this course include:
- Ancient and modern applications of tracking
- Human senses
- Using binoculars and telescopes
- Moving quietly and blending in
- Animal sign identification
- Wildlife watching
- Tracking terminology
- Tracking drills
- Determining age
- Team tracking
- Blood spoor
- Final tracking exercise
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.
The Woodlore Tracking 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 you your car will be kept during the course (if you bring one).
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.