The Woodland Warrior programme is a not for profit organisation that provide therapeutic activities for armed forces personnel, veterans and members of the emergency services. All of their activities are based outdoors and take place across two sites in Somerset – their woodland in Pensford and their smallholding in Winford.
The programme was set up by Nick Goldsmith and his wife Louise. Nick is an ex Royal Marine Commando and Louise was a detective with Avon & Somerset Police. Nick left the forces with complex mental health issues around PTSD and had first hand experience of how immersing himself in woodlands and those “back to nature” skills helped him recover. A letter of thanks can be seen at the bottom of the page.
Couple of photos below of some animals at their smallholding:
Set within a woodland environment, activities are centred around bush craft and animal husbandry in the natural world. It provides participants with the opportunity to: Recuperate, Recalibrate and Re-engage.
Designed to be therapeutic, adaptive and inclusive for all who attend, its 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.
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.
The photo below is a portable classroom in front of his orchard that Nick has recently built that he was quite proud of:
Nick and Louise have retrained to provide professional support to people with mental health issues through these “back to nature” activities. Mark Wilcox, Charity Steward at Wraxall Lodge visited their smallholding with his wife – Nick is a real bundle of energy and they were both really impressed with what they have set up from a relatively small budget so the donation of £1000 from Wraxall Lodge brethren was very gratefully received. In addition to a letter of thanks, Nick gave us a signed copy of his book “Rewild Your Mind: Use nature as your guide to a happier, healthier life” which we will use to raise further funds.
Photo below is Nick presenting the book to Mark:
You can read all about the programme at their website: Armed Forces | The Woodland Warrior Programme | Pensford