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Wild Woods - a Woodsmoke & Evolve Move Play Event

Wild Woods

The Chinese refer to wood as the fifth element;
join us for a five-day workshop celebrating this fifth element – living suspended in the canopy in Tentsile tree-tents for four nights and a final night in a 4* hotel, learning to move through the arboreal environment, from nimbly traveling on forest trails to actually climbing safely through the canopy, learning the art of shaping wood like axemanship and knifecraft, conjuring fire from wood by friction, learning to forage woodland wild food, dining on nutritious woodland based foods; like blossom tea to nut flour bread, cooking on wood fires, and banqueting on spit-roast venison, learning to recognise the tracks of woodland animals and most importantly, learning about the individual tree species themselves, from lore to uses. Evenings will be spent unwinding at the spa before retiring to the campfire circle.    


“The Stone Age should more accurately be called the Wood Age, because most of the tools made by ancient hunter-gathers were made of wood.” Yuval Noah Harari

Our intimate relationship with wood and trees is as old as our species; after all for the majority of our time on earth ‘sticks and stones’ have been our highest form of technology; we are inextricably linked, our high tech lifestyle born out of sticks and stones. Wood has even helped shape our belief systems – from the stone-age rituals at Wood Henge to the ancient lore of the hazel tree in Celtic creation myths, to deities, like Odin hanging from a branch of Yggdrasil and Jesus on his hewn cross, wood has helped to granted us wisdom and given us faith.


Working from a Robin Hood style forest basecamp, sleeping in Tentsile tree-tents suspended from trunks below a high canopy, Woodsmoke has access to some of the finest tree climbing locations in the Lake District National Park, from majestic oaks to twisting groves of rhododendron.

Ben McNutt of Woodsmoke and Rafe Kelley and Ben Medder of Evolve Move Play have come together to give you this unique experience and combination world-class wilderness skills and natural movement instruction. You will be mentored in the beautiful art of arboreal locomotion - tree-running, climbing, vaulting, roughhousing, strength and mobility training, brachiation and natural parkour.

Modern humans retain many physical characteristics that suggest a brachiator ancestor, including flexible shoulder joints and fingers well suited for grasping. Our human anatomy suggests that brachiation may be an exaptation to bipedalism, and healthy modern humans are still capable of brachiating.
— Wiki

As well as learning how to move gracefully through the woodland environment, you will also learn about the art of chopping and stacking logs, the skill of shaping wood with simple hand tools, how to conjure fire by friction, how to forage woodland wild food, cook on wood fires, and banqueting on roast venison. 

You will also learn how to recognise the tracks of woodland animals and most importantly, learn about the individual tree species themselves; from lore to uses. Evenings will be spent unwinding at the spa, enjoying a sauna or steam and lounging in the outdoor hot tub, before retiring to the campfire for the evening.


You can see more about Ben, Rafe and Ben here:

To enter a wood is to pass into a different world in which we ourselves are transformed… (Woods) have become the guardians of our dreams of greenwood liberty, of our wildwood feral, childhood selves
— Roger Deakin

During the morning sessions, you will learn –

  • Running forest trails
  • Vaulting
  • Branch balancing
  • Precision jumping
  • Limb crawling
  • Foot-pinch climbing
  • Toe-pinch climbing
  • Brachiation
  • Landing from height
  • Breakfalls
  • Joint integrity and mobility training
  • Natural Lifting
  • Breath training
  • Roughhousing
  • Natural Parkour

The days will be equally divided to develop mind, body and spirit – with lessons on ancestral movement strategies with the focus on climbing, physical strength, skill and dexterity, craft and cooking, knowledge and learning, and time to yourself to reflect, think and be creative, where you will be encouraged to sketch, journal, meditate or simple be in the forest.

During the afternoon sessions, you will learn –

  • Friction fire lighting
  • Canopy camping
  • Axe skills
  • Knife craft
  • Making rope from bark
  • Tree Id
  • Wild food
  • Tracking
  • Baking and campfire cookery

Natural movement training, in context… actually out in nature, is proven to increase wellbeing and personal growth, from mental focus and a calmer mind, to leaner, stronger, more agile physiques.

So join us to intimately re-connect with nature through trees; living suspended in them, gracefully moving through them, feasting on woodland food – and through wood – learning to shape it, craft with it, split it, stack it, warm ourselves and cook on it. This five-day workshop, celebrating our connection with trees is a great way to begin un-domesticating yourself, to grow and to revert and embrace that feral, childhood self that lurks within us all.

Hosted in the stunning grounds of Armathwaite Hall Hotel and Spa in the Lake District, you will have daily access to the spa for an early morning swim and again each evening for a relax in the sauna or to chill in outdoor hot tub. On the final night of the course you will be treated to a delicious meal and a nights stay in the hotel itself.

When: 2-7 June

Venue: Armathwaite Hall 4* Hotel & Spa

Price: £895 per person (inc. All food, beverages, course equipment, camping fees, tree tents, night in the hotel, hotel meal & VAT.)