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About Wildwood Bushcraft

Since 2005 Wildwood Bushcraft has provided inspiring courses that combine survival skills, ecology, wildlife study and adventure. Our aim is to teach responsible, sustainable use of the natural environment, based on a firm ecological understanding. We believe that once people re-awaken a connection with the natural world they will value it more and want to protect it.

We have bases on the West Coast of Scotland and in Sussex. We also run annual expeditions to Arctic Sweden and Canada.



Staff Profiles:

Leon Durbin

Leon is Wildwood Bushcraft's founder and Chief instructor. He has had a lifelong passion for wildlife and wild places. He grew up near Leith Hill in Surrey and spent much of his childhood learning about local wildlife and the outdoors.

Leon is a qualified and experienced wildlife biologist with a BSc (hons) in Ecology and a PhD based on otter research in Scotland. He has over 13 years field experience, studying badgers, foxes, grouse, otters, loggerhead turtles (Greece), kodkod cats (Chile), and Asiatic wild dogs (India). This has included 10 years living in Scotland, expeditions to remote wilderness regions such as Patagonian Chile where he was a biologist for Raleigh International, and a three month research visit to South Africa. He also led a two year research project on the endangered Asiatic wild dog in central India which gave him the opportunity to work with local tribes in the jungle. He is a member of the IUCN Species Survival Commission and the Institute of Outdoor Learning, Bushcraft Special Interest Group.

In 2004, Leon formalised his bushcraft interests and achieved a nationally accredited qualification (with distinction) to teach the subject. This year long NCFE course covered all aspects of leading groups, including bushcraft skills, understanding of the natural environment, teaching ability, knowledge of legislation, and health and safety.

Here is a list of his most relevant accredited qualifications:

  • NCFE Certificate in Bushcraft Leadership
  • Summer Mountain Leader
  • IOL Foundational Bushcraft Competency Certificate
  • NCFE Foundation Certificate in Creative Craft in Wood Crafts
  • NNAS Provider of Navigation Awards
  • Level 2 Certificate in Outdoor First Aid
  • Food Safety and Hygiene Certificate Level 2
  • Level 1 BCU paddlesport coach (Canoe and Kayak)
  • 4 Star BCU Open Canoe Leader
  • BSc Hons Ecology
  • PhD (Thesis on Otter Ecology)
  • Leave No Trace Trainer
  • CRB Enhanced Disclosure

Wildwood Bushcraft courses are also run by a number of like-minded, accredited instructors and trained assistants.



Alison Durbin

Alison is likely to be your first point of contact at the Wildwood office as she works on communications and marketing, as well as being our Forest School Co-ordinator. She is an artist with over 12 years' experience running community arts workshops, usually with environmental themes. She trained as a Forest School Leader in 2010 and now provides workshops for young people that complement our pure bushcraft sessions with creative and play-based activities.

Alison has:

  • Level 3 Forest School Practitioner
  • Level 2 Certificate in Outdoor First Aid
  • CRB Enhanced Disclosure
  • Community Arts Training
  • BA Hons Fine Art




Guest Instructors

Toby Cowern

Toby has been the principle instructor on our Arctic Expedition since 2010, working closely with Leon. Toby's unique fusion of teaching background, risk management qualifications, military training and outdoors experience, ensures the Survival Skills instruction he delivers is of the highest calibre. Based in Scandinavia, deep inside the Arctic Circle, Toby holds expertise in Extreme Cold Weather Survival, but also travels extensively to deliver applied Survival Training internationally. Toby's passion, experience and enthusiasm, coupled with his professionalism, patience and humour will make your time on any of the courses he delivers a memorable experience!

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