In 2012, husband Nick and his wife Louise Goldsmith purchased a small overgrown piece of woodland. It had no running water, no vehicle access and had been unmanaged for over 30 years. At the time Nick was serving as a Royal Marine Commando, he conducted many operational tours and was suffering from PTSD. Louise was also in a highly stressful job as a Detective Constable in Child Protection. The woodland was purchased as somewhere they could relax and unwind from the hustle and bustle of their crazy lives, it was never their intention to turn this into a business. They worked hard managing the woodland and it became a beautiful, quirky retreat for them and was soon helping aid Nick with his recovery.
Nick soon started to teach his family and friends the skills he’d learned during childhood and throughout his military career, and it was clear he had a natural ability to teach and there soon became a demand for Nick to run similar activities on a commercial basis – so they decided to set up Hidden Valley Bushcraft. Set in a private woodland on the outskirts of Bristol, Hidden Valley Bushcraft, now provides high quality educational and recreational experiences for all ages and abilities.
Recognising how important the outdoors was on his recovery, in 2016 Nick and Louise set up The Woodland Warrior Programme which provides therapeutic activities specifically for members of the Armed Forces Community. It’s aim is to help participants relax, learn new skills, build self-reliance and esteem, strengthen social bonding and move forward into the next stage of their lives. Set within their woodland environment, activities are centered around bushcraft and the natural world. Examples of activities include foraging, tracking, making fire and shelters, archery, wild cooking, natural history, woodland management, woodcrafts and wilderness living skills. All food and refreshments are included throughout the course.
In 2019 it became its own stand-alone Community Interest Company and is run on a ‘not for profit’ basis, with support from The Endeavour Fund.
The Woodland Warrior Programme is now open for participants, click the link below to learn more and sign up!