Family / Activities

Whittling in the woodlands

By lou archell, Wednesday Oct 22, 2014

There are many great woodlands to explore around the Bristol area. All are perfect for walking, building dens, exercising the dog or to observe wildlife

We love to go to the woods on the wildest of days, when the weather isn’t so great. Grabbing our waterproofs and a few essentials to make camp of sorts.

Our new favourite spot is the woods to the side of National Trust Tyntesfield estate. On our most recent trip there, the weather was wild, squally. Strong gusts of wind made walking down the bridal path difficult, follow that with lashing rain, driving hard into our faces, it wasn’t the best of days to be out in it. Ignoring the storm we made ‘camp’ on the edge of the woods, overlooking the newly ploughed field.  Here, sheltered by the trees we let our sons loose with their whittling knives.

My eldest son had just been given by his grandparents, ‘The Stick Book‘. This book is perfect for all kids who love to have a stick in one hand whilst adventuring. Using a pen knife (not the best tool for the job, as he found it quite sharp and pointy), he managed with some initial safety guidance, to make some great shapes out of the wood.

My youngest son used an Opinel no.7 knife.  The perfect tool for whittling and for a life outdoors. Good for cutting and stripping bark, and buttering your bread too. The rounded head meant he wasn’t going to stab himself, but the blade is sharp enough to make whittling a breeze for him.

And there we sat, in the many showers and sunshine that followed. The boys whittling sticks to a point, discarding and starting again. With a flask of cocoa for company and a few rounds of biscuits we couldn’t be happier. My sons didn’t care that it was raining, they just loved being outside, playing with sticks.

If you’d like to get your child into whittling there are some great places to buy their first knife:

Fforest General Stores
Greenman Bushcraft
Marcuss Stores – Hotwells, Bristol
The little book of whittling (great inspiration and ideas)

Great places for woodland adventures around the Bristol area:

Leigh Woods – with fantastic views across the gorge.
Ashton Court Estate – step away from the house and adventure in the woodlands towards the old music festival site
Abbots Pool, North Somerset- Just outside of Bristol. A large medieval pool with a surrounding woodland.
Priors Wood, Portbury, North Somerset – Go in April when the bluebells are out in this ancient woodland.
Snuff Mills, A wooded riverside walk, if you are lucky you might see Kingfishers.




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