Woodcraft and Woodlore — When I was peedie, my Mum had a copy of a book called Survival for Young People, by Anthony Greenbank, and I memorised the whole thing. Even now I can still recall the 70s illustrations of glissading, the cat burglar’s traverse, or the simple explanation of how to cook hedgehogs. I moved from there to The SAS Survival Handbook by Lofty Wiseman, again memorising much of it — some of which has come in very useful only recently, in SE Asia. However, it was with the now long out of print Survival Handbook: A Practical Guide to Woodcraft and Woodlore by a young Raymond Mears that I finally found exactly the sort of book I was looking for. It was at that moment, when I was in my last year as a teenager, that I realised it was not weird to want to understand that knowledge and those skills that were once our birthright. I have said it before — to know how to make fire, create shelter, locate and purify water, gather foodstuffs and cook them, and use plants as medicine, these things give you a power that changes you. You walk taller, have more confidence in every area of your life (I was trying not to mention current world affairs, but yes, that too), knowing that you have one foot in the present and another in a timeless, ancient, past. Increasingly, these skills — call them bushcraft, or woodlore, or whatever you wish — have gained in popularity, which can only be a good thing. Those who think they are a tough, manly thing (*cough* Bear Grylls, I’m looking at you and your fans), or view themselves as survivalists, are most likely in for a shock. You cannot go against nature, she will destroy you and not care either way. You can, however, ally yourselves with the wild and learn her ways, walking quietly and treading softly, spreading kindness and joy through natural study and much practice. Reading, however, no matter how good the book, only gets you so far.