About Us

Wildwood Bushcraft Team
Leon Durbin of Wildwood Bushcraft
Wildwood Bushcraft School Activities
Wildwood Bushcraft Canoe Expedition
Loch Shiel Canoe Expedition

Wildwood Bushcraft's ethos is to use natural resources sustainably, while providing realistic, educational and practical outdoor courses.


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 been running our courses year-round since 2005. We run many scheduled courses, private events and expeditions throughout the year. Corporate clients over the years have included the Natural History Museum, Bioregional, Scottish Sea Farms, Viacom Outdoors and Crown Paints, amongst many others.

We also offer outdoor learning experiences for young people and have worked with school groups ranging in size from 6 to 400, across the UK from Rogart in the far north of Scotland to Roedean on the south coast of England.

One important point is that we operate from an ecologist's perspective - which may suit some people better than the military approach.


Leon leads most of the courses in person, but we also call upon a number of like-minded, accredited instructors and trained assistants to help when needed.


We look forward to seeing you on a course soon!

Toby Cowern
Arctic Survival Instructor

Toby has been the principal instructor on our Arctic Expeditions 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 Northern Sweden, 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!

Dylan Sharman

Dylan is an NCFE-qualified Bushcraft instructor, with 15 years' bushcraft experience, as well as 20+ years working in outdoor centres.


He has worked all around Britain and internationally, leading groups in kayaking, canoeing, caving, mountain biking, archery and many other outdoor activities.


He has been a valued part of the Wildwood team since 2014.

Nick Ward

Nick has been teaching outdoor skills professionally for over 15 years. He is passionate about inspiring people of all ages about the natural world and is a great believer of experiential learning.


The eternal student, Nick continually seeks ways to gain new knowledge. With specialist knowledge of trees, woodlands and wildlife, he has had a varied career, from working as a research tree climber to leading groups in search of wolves in the forests of Poland.


An experienced explorer, having spent time with nomads in Outer Mongolia, to trailing Pygmy elephants in the jungles of Borneo. Nick is never happier when in an English woodland or paddling a Canadian canoe. 

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 also an artist with many years' experience running community projects and workshops, usually with environmental themes. She qualified as a Level 3 Forest School Leader in 2010 and runs Forest School Sessions for families, community and school groups.


Alison's qualifications:

  • Level 3 Forest School Practitioner

  • Certificate in Outdoor Emergency First Aid

  • CRB Enhanced Disclosure

  • Community Arts Training

  • BA Hons Fine Art

Alison Durbin
Communications/ Forest School 

Leon 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 ecological work 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 and learning, legislation, health & 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 Bronze and Silver Navigation Awards

  • Certificate in Outdoor Emergency First Aid 

  • Food Safety and Hygiene Certificate Level 2

  • Level 1 BCU paddlesport coach (Canoe and Kayak)

  • 4 Star BCU Open Canoe

  • BSc Hons Ecology

  • PhD (Thesis on Otter Ecology)

  • Leave No Trace Trainer

  • CRB Enhanced Disclosure

Leon Durbin
Founder and
Chief Instructor

©2018 Wildwood Bushcraft, Lochailort, Scotland, UK,  PH38 4NB           tel: 01687 470415  |  07714 334071