Quantock Hills Blog

If you go down to the woods today!

- Tracking, making fires, sweet potatoes - all in a days work

Andy Harris

Posted by Andy Harris on 18 September 2012

If you go down to the  woods today! It was early morning when I met volunteer Dave Pusill at our depot in the fog on Saturday morning to collect equipment for a family bushcraft day on Cothelstone Hill. As we reached the top of the hill we came out of the fog into bright blue skies and a fantastic early autumnal morning.

We made camp in the woods and were joined by Steve Sudworth (National Trust Ranger) and Vicky Criddle another volunteer and by 9 o’clock we had the company of 20 members of the public.

After a quick game to help us to remember each other’s name we took a short walk into the woods to do some tracking, looking for signs of mammals and other animals.  A few nights earlier I had set out some small mammal longworth traps (these are small metal traps that capture voles and mice alive) and our task was to locate them and see if any had been sprung.  Out of the seven traps we found two woodmice and one bank vole with the other traps being sprung probably by shrews.  The shrews are able to escape from the traps via a small hole designed to let them out as they need to continuously search for food.

By the time we made it into camp Steve had managed to get a fire going and began to teach everyone the art of fire lighting with out using matches.  The fires were used to cook a hearty lunch  and toast marshmallows before some more exploring of the woods and a walk back over the hill to take in the stunning view.

Thanks to Dave and Vicky for all their help and thanks to the families for making such a fun day.



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