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.



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.

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.


Testimonial

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!” 

Donnachadh McCarthy

Key information:

DATES:
April to November 2023 – module dates listed below

LOCATIONS:
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

ACCOMMODATION:
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.

COST:
Supporter: £2550 +VAT
Regular: £2380+VAT
Bursary: £2000+VAT


Limited bursary camping places are available: apply here.

Beaver UK

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.

Accommodation

You will stay in one of our beautiful yurt villages. Each yurt is furnished with comfortable beds and wood fired stove. Both yurt villages have a compost toilets and running water. Full bathroom facilities with hot showers are available in the main building.

Catering

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.

Core Facilitators

Chris Salisbury Wildwise

Chris Salisbury

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’…..

Fiona Tilley

Fiona Tilley

I work primarily in learning spaces with people aged 18 and older. I am a catalyst. My role is to hold processes of change when and where needed for individuals and groups. I have spent much of the last decade working with students and participants on educational programmes at Schumacher College in Devon, UK. My focus is upon providing transformational and experiential learning programmes that equip people for the challenges we face in the modern world.

I am passionate about the way our lives unfold, like pages turning in a book, and how learning spaces can support, enable and allow this unfolding to resonate and deepen. I bring nature based practices, deep listening and ways of slowing down in all that I do. I wholeheartedly know the myth-poetic, the imaginal, story, poetry, crafting, growing and creating are necessary and essential part of life and therefore, my work.

I like to collaborate on projects that involve the unknown, crafting poignant questions, being creative, showing up, acknowledging the sacred and honouring of our ancestors and place. I am attuned to ritual and ceremony, to the elements, the four directions, make offerings, prayer and acknowledging the numinous. I seek to open learning spaces that explore our ecological belonging and connection to all of life.

I am intentionally using language that is speaking to our more than rational selves. This is a moment where many of us are living with immense uncertainty and change. My work seeks to support those tracking their lives through these transformations and meeting the challenges they encounter along the way.

Visiting Facilitators

(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

Mac Macartney

In 1999 Mac founded Embercombe. At which time he was also the founder and CEO of a leadership consultancy for corporate executives operating internationally between 1989-2005. Over a period of twenty years Mac 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 world view 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

Derek Gow

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.


Upcoming Dates and Booking