Where the Wild Things Are: An Adventure in Rewilding Places and People
A year-long pilgrimage to some of the last wild and wilding places in Britain.
With Chris Salisbury from WildWise, Fiona Tilley, Alan Watson Featherstone, Derek Gow, Mac Macartney, Laura Fairs and Robin Bowman and guest speakers Eleanor O’Hanlon and Bill Plotkin.
Come with us on an adventure that follows an old trail once made by species like the lynx, the beaver and Auroch from the southern tip of South West England to the ancient Caledonian forest of Scotland.
This immersive journey is a wild apprenticeship, one that travels to meet wild places and practitioners who are blazing the rewilding trail, but crucially, it also travels an inner path to meet our own wild wisdom within.
In four long weekend modules we will be visiting those places where nature has consciously been encouraged and welcomed back, places where we can each bear witness to the real, unfolding, emergent possibility of restoring wildness in our lifetimes.
|22nd April - 7th November||Where The Wild Things Are 2023||Book Now|
Travel with us on a pilgrimage to the hidden places where the wild things are.
Bearing witness to these potent places of possibility, we will be learning from the pioneering individuals who took the decision to restore liberty to nature – hearing directly from them what their inspiration, their dreams, their practices and their challenges have been. We will learn from them how we might each bring wildness back to our own places, to our families and our communities. We will look in a very practical way how to restore wildness to places that although remember what went before, need some human intervention to manifest the original dreaming.
At the same time we will explore what this means to us as individuals, how we recognise and invite our own wild souls into expression, how we channel the creative force of nature into our own endeavours. We will practise nature connection to attune us to our belonging in nature, and how this changes with different habitats and different levels of wildness.
We will be asking such questions as:
- As humans, how do we fit into the rewilding agenda of our times?
- What form does our apprenticeship to the Earth now take?
- Can we live more elegantly with wild nature around us and within us?
- How can we prepare ourselves both inwardly and outwardly to make this transition?
The soundtrack to our year of rewilding ourselves will be a cacophony of grunts, growls and howls, and accompanying the squeaks and squawks will be your own grief-cry and shouts of joy. Expect therefore to emerge from the other end with a skip in your step and a fierce resolve glinting in your wild eye.
Together we will become a village of people who have visited, in a deep way, the places where the wild things are, and perhaps even become one of them. We will foster a desire to become a community dedicated to restoring the wild, from a soul-centric, rooted and authentic place.
Who is it for?
For any explorer who feels a deep pull, however subtle, toward the wild, and wishes to align with the creative force of nature, inside and outside of themselves, and together with others.
This is a powerful invitation to make a connection between the human journey, that of our species in general and particularly that of your own, and real rewilding projects and pioneers.The experience will consist of a mosaic of puzzle pieces that fit together to make a wholesome village experience. Individual components of the programme include indigenous skills and deep ecology, fieldcraft and campcraft, council and ceremonial practice and storytelling which in combination provoke a deep and soulful enquiry into the nature of your own rewilding.
Rewilding is a relative thing – it is what we want to make it. It is a slow experiment as we as a species become courageous enough to let nature take control, it looks different everywhere we look. Some people have been rewilding for many years, in many ways, in gardens, in patches of wasteland, in corners of the world. Some people have big patches of land that they have handed over to natural creative forces. Wherever we find ourselves in this debate, rewilding is something that is happening, so it is time for us to respond and explore for ourselves what our role might be within this emergent unfolding story.
“I feel really really privileged to have been on a course like this that brought together spirit, nature and also pioneering rewilders. What a great combination!”
Meet our Lead Facilitators
April to November 2023 – module dates listed below
Module 1: 22 – 26 April 2023 – at East Dartmoor and Embercombe
Module 2: 14 – 17 July 2023 – North Devon*
Module 3: 6 – 10 September 2023 – Northern Scotland (nr. Inverness)
Module 4: 4-7 November 2023 – Embercombe
*Includes a visit to Derek Gow’s farm with beavers
We will be camping in modules 1, 2 and 3
Accommodation is at Embercombe in shared or single occupancy or camping (bring your own tent) – varies according to programme.
Regular ticket: £2,390
Supporter ticket: £2,640
Limited bursary places are available on application.
The cost does not include the travel cost, participants are required to make their own travel arrangements for each module.
Please consider purchasing a Supporter Ticket if your finances allow it, to subsidise participants who can’t afford the full price. If your financial circumstances prevent you from participating in this event, please contact us to apply for a discounted bursary place.
INTEREST FREE PAYMENT PLANS:
In order to increase accessibility to our Programmes, we are delighted to offer interest-free payment plans to allow you to spread the cost of a Balance Ticket over a number of months. If you would like to utilise this option, please purchase a Deposit Ticket and then click here to set up your personalised interest-free Payment Plan for the Balance Payment.
Want to find out more about this programme?
Join us for a free webinar on 14 March with Eleanor O’Hanlon, Fiona Tilley and Chris.Salisbury. This is a chance to meet our host of wonderful facilitators and give you an opportunity to ask any questions you might have about coming on the programme:
We will be sending out a recording of the webinar to everyone who registers, so even if you can’t make the live event, please still sign up in order to receive a copy of the recording.
Embercombe – Your Stay
Embercombe is a beautiful 50 acre rewilding estate on the edge of Dartmoor. It is a place to find a deep connection with nature – wild nature around us and wild nature within us. Our land is a mix of nature scapes to reconnect with, from mature oak woodlands that are over 150 years old, meadows and pastures for our family of sheep we have on the land, to various fruit orchards and gardens to explore, as well as our sacred stone circle and sacred well to seek counsel from. It is a place for nature connection, self development, inspiration and engaging in nature.
You will stay in one of our beautiful yurt villages. Each yurt is furnished with comfortable beds and gas heaters. Both yurt villages have a compost toilets and running water. Full bathroom facilities with hot showers are available in the main building.
All your meals are included. Organic, vegetarian food is lovingly prepared on site using produce from the Embercombe garden wherever possible. Special diets are adeptly catered for. Please indicate if you require this on your booking form.
Chris founded and currently directs WildWise, an outdoor education and training organisation in 1999, after many years working as an education officer for Devon Wildlife Trust. With a professional background in the theatre, a qualification in drama-therapy and a career in environmental education he uses every creative means at his disposal to encourage people to enjoy and value the natural world on courses he facilitates in the UK and abroad. He has worked with and been profoundly influenced by Ray Mears, Bill Plotkin, Joanna Macy, David Whyte amongst very many others. He is a course facilitator at Schumacher College, Devon, where he also directs the Call of the Wild Foundation year-programme. He is also known as a professional storyteller (aka ‘Spindle Wayfarer’), and is the co-founder and Artistic Director for both the Westcountry and Oxford Storytelling Festivals. He is also a theatre ensemble teacher for the International Schools Theatre Association.
Chris is married with 4 children and lives in enchantment on the edge of the Dartington’s forest with his astonishing dog ‘Dexter’…..
Tilley’s career began in academia researching and teaching sustainable business related subjects. After a couple of decades working at various Universities in the north of England, exposure to alternative forms of education and process work led Tilley to Schumacher College in Devon and a new chapter began. Eventually relocating to this part of the world a second career has unfolded with a much greater emphasis on nature connection, the imaginal, story, rights of passage and guiding groups through processes of transformation and change. Tilley has had the privilege and joy to facilitate courses involving many different teachers including Colin Campbell, Pat McCabe, Carolyn Hillyer, Vandana Shiva, Bayo Akomolafe, Jon Young, Rupert Sheldrake, Mary Evelyn Tucker and Derek Gow. The courses Tilley is now drawn to guide, teach and facilitate are typically process orientated; involve participatory approaches to inquiry and look into the changes personal and collective that many of us find we are facing today. Nature connection and forest bathing combined with a passion for animism have led to rewilding and this new programme Where The Wild Things Are.
Tilley lives with her wife Mirella and son Oli in a village situated equidistant between the sea and Dartmoor and close to the Dart. She is often to be found wandering alongside the river walking her dog Mae.
(More facilitators TBC)
Alan Watson Featherstone
In 1986 Alan founded the award-winning conservation charity, Trees for Life, which works to restore the Caledonian Forest in the Scottish Highlands. It has become the leading organisation working to restore the Caledonian Forest in Scotland and took on ownership of the 10,000 acre Dundreggan Estate in Glenmoriston as its flagship project for native woodland recovery. Through his work with Trees for Life, he has helped to provide the inspiration for other ecological restoration projects in the Scottish Borders, on Dartmoor in England and for the creation of the Yendegaia National Park in Tierra del Fuego, Chile. He also founded the Restoring the Earth project, to promote the restoration of the planet’s degraded ecosystems as the most important task for humanity in the 21st century. He is one of our country’s most inspiring rewilding pioneers.
Mac Macartney is a writer, speaker, leadership consultant, eco/peace advocate, and spiritual journeyman. He has explored many paths, some unwisely, some with discernment, all with enthusiasm, vigour, and persistence. As a young child, he fell deeply in love with nature and since that time has endeavoured to listen to the guiding dreams, visions, and experiences that have landed in his outstretched arms. In their different ways all have invited him to do whatever he can to shift our world for the better. Mac moves between, learns from, and contributes to, many diverse and contrasting spheres of society – an enriching, stimulating, and often, deeply troubling pathway. Over a period of twenty years he was mentored and coached by a group of Native American teachers. During this training and ever since he has attempted to bring two worlds together – an ancient worldview that emphasises relationship, interdependence and reverence for life, with the huge challenges and equally huge opportunities of the 21st Century. You can find out more about Mac’s work here.
Derek Gow is an ecologist, author of the wonderful book ‘Bringing Back the Beaver’ and a keen advocate of species reintroductions, particularly that of the Eurasian Beaver. His farm in West Devon is home to the first licensed beavers in the UK and he works with Wildlife Trusts and other landowners to bring back this species to the British Isles.
Online Guest Speaker
Eleanor O’Hanlon is a writer, teacher and story-teller, with a passion for renewing our inner relationship to animals and wild nature. She has travelled widely, with the indigenous peoples of the Russian Arctic and the Kalahari, and been guided by outstanding field biologists whose work is directly illuminating this innate bond with our wild animal kin. Eleanor’s book Eyes of the Wild Journeys of Transformation with the Animal Powers won the Nautilus Gold book award for writing on nature, and praise from leading ecological voices for its innovative blend of personal experience, science, story-telling and spiritual insight. Her writing has appeared in a number of anthologies, including Spiritual Ecology The Cry of the Earth, and been published in magazines including BBC Wildlife, Geo, Parabola and others.
“When I met the lucid depths of a gray whale’s gaze, when I saw the aliveness in the eyes of a wolf, or stood before the towering family of wild African elephants who came deliberately to meet us, I realised I was in the presence of beings whose depth of awareness was far beyond anything I had learned about them before. These, and other animals, have been my companions and guides on the journey to inner awakening. In the language before words, they have taught me how their consciousness is inter-connected with my own – just as the world’s indigenous peoples have always known and contemporary biologists are now re-discovering.”
Bill Plotkin, Ph.D., is a depth psychologist, wilderness guide, and agent of cultural evolution. As founder of western Colorado’s Animas Valley Institute in 1981, he has guided thousands of seekers through nature-based initiatory passages. Previously, he has been a research psychologist, professor of psychology, psychotherapist, rock musician, and whitewater river guide. Bill is the author of Soulcraft: Crossing into the Mysteries of Nature and Psyche, Nature and the Human Soul: Cultivating Wholeness and Community in a Fragmented World, Wild Mind: A Field Guide to the Human Psyche and most recently, The Journey of Soul Initiation: A Field Guide for Visionaries, Evolutionaries, and Revolutionaries