Discover your inner Bear Grylls

Want to discover your inner Bear Grylls? The celebrity survivor skills television presenter spent most of his early summers in Bembridge on the Isle of Wight. The Island itself has some bushcraft courses available so you can walk in his footsteps.

“Bear has always been attracted to spiritual places such as the woodland area at the bottom of our garden,” said Lady Grylls of their home in Bembridge.  

“Mountains beckon Bear. He finds peace in their majesty. A stillness in their silence. The hills leading to the Yarborough Monument (In Bembridge) are alive with the sound of music. Bear trained for the Royal Marines by climbing up and down (them) with our long-suffering miniature dachshund in a rucksack on his back!  

“The Forelands beach at low tide at daybreak and at sunset can be awesomely tranquil and beautiful. It is pleasing that those sleeping in the open spaces by the shore at Kingswood will be able to share in this experience.  

“The Isle of Wight has a magnetic attraction which calls people back again and again to experience the sharing of its history and adventure activities.”


Bear Grylls Survival Academy runs on selected Saturdays in the summer holidays at Kingswood Summer Camp in the shadow of the Yarborough Monument. Or you can enjoy a week long Adventure Choice holiday with one full day dedicated to survival training. 

Including a combination of survival skills and adventure tasks set by Bear and his team, the course is designed to put 8 to 14 year olds to the test while having the opportunity to learn new skills, get outdoors and stay active, and to inspire the next generation of adventurers and explorers. 

Techniques taught include learning how to build a fire, how to navigate in the wilderness, learning about natural foods, building a shelter, dynamic rescue techniques and learning Bear’s specific priorities of survival.  

Kingswood also offer Adventure Days or one or two night Adventure Weekends, according to how long you wish to stay, and the number of activities you try are determined by the length of your stay. An Adventure Day will cover four activities from zipwire, obstacle challenge, archery, abseiling or climbing, whereas a one night Adventure Day will include six adventurous activities including those above plus the obstacle challenge, laser games and a bushcraft fire lighting session around the campfire in the evening. A two day weekend has 10-11 adventurous activities – all of the above plus fencing, motor sports, low ropes or beach activities. And there’s the option to upgrade to include watersports. 

Exclusive Offer: When booking the week long kids only 8-17 Kids Only Adventure Choice Holiday that includes a day of Bear Grylls’ survival skills use the exclusive code ACTIVE when booking for a discount. 


Bushcraft sessions are new at Tackt-Isle Adventures Isle of Wight on St Helen’s Duver this season, with activities such as fire lighting, shelter building, knife and axe skills, outdoor survival and the ‘Bushman’s Code’ all taught in rustic woodland or on a secluded beach. “Giving you the opportunity to build life skills, encourage teamwork and experience real life risk management,” they say. 

They also offer foraging and shellfish walks with Paul Noakes of 'The Fruit of the Land', a professional forager and chef who supplies local hotels and restaurants with his foraged produce. Learn how to identity and harvest responsibly, a range of foods on your doorstep including sea vegetables, herbs, seaweed and wild vegetables. Paul also offers razor clam and cockle walks and will teach you how to cook the produce you collect. 

Isle of Wight Adventure Activities 

For a taster in Bushcraft then try Isle of Wight Adventure Activities two hour sessions for families for just £25. You’ll build a shelter together and then learn to make fires and can relax together enjoying some food and drink that you have made. All the time you’ll have an experienced bushcraft instructor there to show you what to do and to give you loads of advice on tips and techniques.  

“Bushcraft is something everyone can gain skills in and have fun learning,” they say. “Our Isle of Wight Bushcraft introductions are run by a Bushcraft specialist who has years of experience in outdoor living and teaching Bushcraft. We utilise the best locations on the Isle of Wight for our Bushcraft courses and provide all the equipment you need, and even the food and drink for you to experiment with on the fires that you will make using traditional methods – no matches here!” 

Wood Learn Forest School  

One day courses in Bushcraft and survival skills training for adults and young people are given by Wood Learn Forest School in Firestone Copse, near Havenstreet. There’s a maximum of twenty participants per course and the course will give you an introduction to essential skills such as tracking, fire making, shelter building, water purification, cordage and tool use, among other disciplines. Check their 'Forthcoming events' for details of when the next courses will be. 

They also offer children's Bushcraft parties in a forest or shoreline near to your home. The Forest School provide the activities, equipment and hot chocolate and you provide the birthday girl/boy, a maximum of 11 other party guests and any food. The party lasts two hours and they fit in whatever Bushcraft based activities that the birthday boy or girl wants - den building, camp fire cooking, bow making, tracking, and treasure hunting. 

Or you might like to book a team building day for your business with a difference. You and your colleagues will be 'stranded' in a forest and have to work together to make shelter, cook something on a campfire, dig a usable latrine, find water and then make it suitable for drinking - among other tasks. Aimed at groups of up to twenty adults, the experience can be tailored to your needs and the abilities of participants. 

Jo Macaulay

14 July 2017

By Jo Macaulay in Articles