Woodlore — School of Wilderness Bushcraft

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Ray Mears

Position: Founder
Founded: 1983

Ray Mears founded Woodlore in 1983 as a way of passing on the skills and knowledge which he had learnt throughout his early life; he achieved this by running the very first dedicated Bushcraft courses in the UK, at first just by himself.

In the decades that have followed, Ray has never swayed from his original aim, and continues to bring Bushcraft to the rest of the world via his books, television programmes and Woodlore's ever-expanding range of courses. Despite the various commitments that come from being an author, lecturer and presenter, Ray continues to be hands-on with the running of Woodlore, and is involved in all major areas of the company today.

Ray's biography is also available to read.

Steve Gurney

Position: Director
Joined: 2005

Steve earned a degree in Accounting and qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 2001. Before joining Woodlore, he obtained 10 years of invaluable experience as a practicing accountant and auditor. Steve joined the Woodlore team in 2005 to head the Finance Department, but this quickly grew to a much wider role and was appointed as a company director in 2008. Steve now has the challenging responsibility of running the company alongside Ray.

Steve has a black belt in Judo and is a qualified Judo instructor. He enjoys spending as much time as possible being outdoors; fishing and testing out the Woodlore clothing and equipment. Steve has also recently begun diving and has qualified as a PADI Open Water Diver.

Courses attended: These include Tracking in Namibia, Arctic Experience and The Heroes of Telemark Expedition, as well as travelling to New Zealand and Tanzania.

Favourite Woodlore Memory:

Having a well earned beer after completing the challenging final phase of The Heroes of Telemark Expedition, and more recently getting to practice Judo with Ray - also quite a challenge!

Jane Mitchell

Position: Purchasing & Project Manager
Joined: 2002

Jane joined the Woodlore team in 2002, and progressed to the role of Head of Merchandising for the Clothing & Equipment department. In 2015 Jane became Woodlore's Purchasing and Project Manager.

Jane is a keen outdoor enthusiast and enjoys many outdoor activities. One of her main hobbies is cycling and she can often be seen pedalling or pushing her bike up the South Downs. As well as Jane's passion for the outdoors, she has been known to walk the boards in a few amateur dramatic village productions.

Courses attended: Arctic Experience, Introduction to Bushcraft, Fundamental Bushcraft, Canoeing in the Ardeche and Jungle Experience.

Favourite Woodlore Memory:

My first helicopter flight took place on my birthday and I just happened to be in Belize. Swooping over the Macal River was just awesome, a truly amazing jungle experience.

Hayley Dransfield

Position: Purchasing Manager
Joined: 2016

Hayley joined the Woodlore team in 2016 as Purchasing Manager in the clothing and equipment department. Before joining Woodlore, Hayley obtained just under 10 year's experience working in supply chain and purchasing roles within the pharmaceutical industry, gaining her CPIM (Certified in Production and Inventory Management).

Hayley has grown up and lived locally in East Sussex all her life and is very much a part of the local community; she is heavily involved with the equestrian world, and owns and competes with her own horse, but also helps out at local equestrian events. Her other passion is dog rescue, and over the years she has helped many stray dogs by rehabilitating and rehoming them through a local charity. Hayley is most at home and happy when outdoors with her animals, and of course her family.

Becky Brewster

Position: Leatherworker
Joined: 2009

With some 20 years of leather working experience, Becky started out in the saddlery trade but quickly realised that her passion lay in designing and producing other leather goods. Luckily, her saddlery training was very diverse and set her up well to pursue other avenues of leatherworking. She loves to make and create in any material; canvas has proved to be a particularly popular combination with leather at Woodlore. Becky has been producing leather goods for Woodlore for many years - it all started with a single knife sheath for Ray. Working for Woodlore full-time has now allowed for an expansion in the range of leather and canvas goods.

Becky's favourite pastimes include country walking, gardening and more recently Zumba. Attending the Wilderness Navigation course in 2011 opened up the beautiful South East countryside for Becky; she says her weekend rambles have become far more interesting – no more guide books.

Courses Attended: Introduction to Bushcraft, Wilderness Navigation.

Favourite Woodlore Memory:

My favourite Woodlore moment has to be on the Wilderness Navigation course, when it all suddenly started to "click"; I suddenly realised "I can do this".

Harvey Taylor-Meek

Position: Packing and Distribution
Joined: 2010

Harvey joined the Woodlore Team in 2010 as our Packer and Distributor. He continues in this role today, dispatching orders on a global scale from our warehouse. Harvey also deals with returns as well as any order queries.

Harvey is very much into computing, studying and attaining a National Diploma for IT Practitioners in 2009. Outside of work, Harvey enjoys practicing judo, which he has been doing since 2001. Harvey also has an interest in "big toys" such as jets and helicopters.

Courses Attended: Introduction to Bushcraft.

Favourite Woodlore Memory:

Spending my first night sleeping out in a leaf shelter, which we built on the Introduction to Bushcraft course.

Dan Hume

Position: Head of Operations
Joined: 2007

Dan attended his first Woodlore course in 2005, later joining the outdoor team as a member of staff in 2007. After assisting on various courses for a number of seasons, Dan became a full-time member of the Woodlore team in 2010, starting out as Quartermaster. In 2011, Dan was promoted to his current position as Woodlore's Head of Operations, where his roles include recruiting and managing the outdoor team, and developing new courses both in the United Kingdom and abroad.

Courses Attended: These include Fundamental Bushcraft, Woodlore Tracking Course, Tracking in Namibia, The Journeyman, Introduction to Nordic Skiing and Arctic Experience.

Favourite Woodlore Memory:

One of my fondest memories is attending the Woodlore Tracking course in 2006; prior to the course I was always out shooting and hunting at home but during the week I realised how it enhances awareness and develops an ability to piece together a story. It was a great week and I learned an addictive skill that I now use often.

Diana Taylor

Position: Operations Manager
Joined: 2005

Diana joined Woodlore in 2005 as a packer in the kit department. However, this soon changed into a career in Woodlore's course department in 2006; first as an administrator and progressing to Operations Manager in 2013. As such, Diana is your first point of contact in the office regarding any queries you may have about our courses.

Diana was born and raised in East Sussex and has spent much of her spare time in the outdoors with horses. Her hobby is mainly just for fun; however she has done some local level competitions in the past. Diana now enjoys being part of the thrills and spills of British Eventing, spending most of her weekends and holidays grooming for and assisting her friend who takes part in Eventing with her horse Marni, training and competing throughout the South East.

Courses Attended: Walk in the Woods with Ray Mears, Introduction to Bushcraft, Fundamental Bushcraft, Woodlore Tracking Course, The Journeyman, Arctic Experience and Canoeing in the Ardeche.

Favourite Woodlore Memory:

The amazing feeling of achievement after The Journeyman course.

Keith Whitehead

Position: Quartermaster
Joined: 2011

Keith joined Woodlore's Outdoor Team part-time in 2007, eventually becoming the course leader on our Fundamental Bushcraft and Introduction to Bushcraft courses, as well as assisting on a number of others. He took up the full-time position of Quartermaster in 2011 and dedicates his time out of the woods to ensuring that Woodlore has the high standard of kit that its courses demand.

Keith enjoys all aspects of working and living in the spectacular countryside where Woodlore operates and spends much of his spare time furthering his experience of the outdoors in his home county of Surrey.

Courses Attended: Fundamental Bushcraft, Woodlore Tracking course, Camp Craft, The Journeyman.

Favourite Woodlore Memory:

The Fundamental Bushcraft course is what brought everything together for me. A wonderful week of hard work that consolidated my studies and love of the outdoors, it provided a gateway to my current career with Woodlore. Unforgettable!

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