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Welcome to IOL North East

IOL North East Event

Making the Most of your Fire

16th May 2017 - 4.30pm - 7.00pm

at Scotswood Natural Community Garden, Newcaslte upon Tyne

... including smelting, making charcoal, and of course baking.
As practitioners it's important to remember to make time for ourselves to play and create. This is a perfect opportunity... and you'll take away new ideas for activities to run with your own groups. We'll discuss age appropriateness and adapting activities for different age groups. 

Presenter: Harriet Menter
Present biography: Harriet is the Education Manager at Scotswood Natural Community Garden, a small independent charity in an economically deprived urban area, delivering community wildlife projects, environmental education, forest schools and forest school training.
  • IOL Members £15
  • Non Members of IOL £30

How to book for an IOL Event


Organisational members can book for up to 5 of their team at the member rate.

Or contact IOL


IOL NE Conference 2016

Took place 7th November at Peat Rigg Centre, Pickering

at the IOL NE Conf 2016 
Keynote Presentation: Preparing 21st Century Learners for 21st Century Life

Professor David Leat, Prof of Curriculum Innovation at Newcastle University School of Education and Director of the Research Centre for Learning and Teaching.

The 2017 IOL Regional conference for the North East took place on 7th November at the fantastic Peat Rigg Outdoor Centre.  Snow was forecast, and some of the delegates had a couple of hairy moments on the top of the moors on their way to the venue, but we managed to dodge the rain showers and enjoy stimulating and informative workshops in some spectacular autumn sunshine. 

The theme of the conference was to explore how outdoor provision can help to prepare children and young people with the opportunities and challenges that lay ahead of them. Delegates had a range of practical, interactive workshops to choose from which provided opportunities to experience new skills and ideas, and to discuss and share good practice.

Download Anita Foster's full report of the event

Download the Powerpoint from the Keynote. (9.5mb)

Outdoor Food Hygiene - Level 2 Award in Food Safety in Catering

IOL NE CPD Event took place on 21st October 2016 at Northumberland Wildlife Trust, Gosforth

food hygiene

  An ‘Outline of the programme’ :
  • Importance of Food Safety in the woods incorporating HACCP
  • Microbes – Where are they "lurking"?
  • Illnesses linked to food and the outdoors
  • Hygiene Control - Temperature control, Storage, Handling, Preparation, Cooking, Equipment
  • Personal Hygiene
  • Food Safety Control – planning a HACCP relevant to your practice.


IOL NE Bushcraft 2 day event

this took place at Kirkley Hall, Ponteland in April 2016



  • Campfire Gadgets
  • Working with Willow
  • Wool Spinning
  • Tree Identification and uses
  • General Fire Lighting
  • Wilderness Cookery
  • Splitting wood of any size successfully


Some participant feedback from the day:

  • Wilderness Cookery was an excellent session. Gave me a range of ideas to work with for future group work sessions.
  • An excellent range of skills to learn throughout the two days. This has given us a wide range of ideas to use with groups here at Kirkly Hall. It just shows the amount of Bushcraft activities we can actually do here. We learned a lot and really enjoyed it!
  • Knowledgeable leaders, great location. Very useful, thank you!
  • It was nice to do more craft type things as well, like willow work and wool spinning as well as fire and cooking. Lots of ideas to take back with me.
  • Was good to meet other IOL members in NE. Another good Bushcraft workshop. Fancy making a bow next time?
  • Thank you for a great day, it has been very helpful to have such knowledgeable staff. I have loved being immersed in such a beautiful woodland. I plan to use some skills developed today.
  • Great venue, great course, great instructors, what more you ask for!. A chance to try loads of different Bushcraft skills and perfect ones you have!!
  • Thank you for sharing skills and knowledge. Thoroughly enjoyed the two days.
  • An amazing couple of days with fantastic instructors with some brilliant activities.

North East Bushcraft Event

took place 23rd to 24th March 2015 at Kirkley Hall, Ponteland

What some participants said,

"Had a super couple of days. Instructors knowledgeable and tailored things to our needs. Have learned loads and met some great people."

"Great course, knowledgeable instructors, learned lots, weather great, good fun, cant wait to do more!" 

"Really enjoyable, great instructors. Learned loads - just got to remember it all now."

"Fantastic couple of days, with loads of new knowledge to share. Plus fantastic instructors and activities! Especially friction fire and axe throwing."

"Fab sessions, great fun, learned a lot."

"Loved every moment! The instruction was given perfectly. I am feeling devastated that I now have to go home, however cheered as I will be booking on quite a few courses this coming year."

"Thank you all so much."

"From couch potato to potential Bear Grylls in two days.... Wow what a trip. Loved every minute but it was over too quick!"

North East Bushcraft pic


  • Confident Fire Lighting
  • Campfire Gadgets
  • Safe/Efficient Knife skills
  • Bow Drill for all ages
  • Tree ID and uses
  • String Making
  • Mini Hurdles

 dave watson fire lighting

Dave Watson - firelighting


Dave Watson LPIOL has been teaching Bushcraft professionally since 1995 making him one of the longest established trainers in the UK. Having worked with every conceivable age and ability Dave has always found ways to engage/inspire the student with the given subject. Instigating the Bushcraft Special Interest Group  in 2007 he now organises workshop events around the country.

Andrew Middleton is a former teacher and Headteacher who has used elements of Bushcraft to encourage and support learning, with young people and adults for over thirty years. He has been involved in wild country expeditions in Britain, Iceland, Europe and Tibet. He now runs Wild Country Walkabouts, based in The North York Moors'.

Ron Lawson is the managing director and lead bushcraft instructor for Taught in the Wood - he is also a member of the NEIOL Regional Committee

IOL NE Conference 2015 - Friday 16 October

Over 50 people attending from across the whole of the NE region made this another great day.

Thanks to the presenters for their time and expertise, the Carlton Centre for hosting and to all delegates for making the day the a great networking opportunity for all and for driving the NE region forwards.

Keynote presentation: Re-claiming Adventure by Dr Simon Beames.

12 workshop sessions offering something for everyone.

North East Conference + AGM 2014

Nearly 80 people attended the second IOL North East Regional Conference and AGM Event which took place on Friday 19 Sep 2014 at Kirkley Hall, Ponteland, Northumberland.

The event saw delegates enjoy three workshops, a ‘have a go’ archery session at lunchtime, and an afternoon presentation - Marine Education & Outreach : Promoting an Ocean Literate Society – by Dr Susan Gebbels and Annie Russell  of the Dove Marine Laboratory; which inspired members to take their outdoor learning to the sea shore and beyond.

Letter to NE IOL Members from the new Chair

Dear Member

It is with great pleasure that I take over as Chair from Maxine Lock, who has done a great job of establishing the North East IOL Executive Committee. Maxine has moved onto pastures new and the commute would be just a little long from Essex, I would like to take this opportunity to wish Maxine Good Luck.

As a young child of nine my Outdoor playground was a field a beck and lots of hills and it was a delight walking from my house to this wonderful place. I remember finding a tarzie (rope swing) with my brother across the beck and collecting our friend on the way when we went to play. As usual, with a bunch of nine year olds a discussion broke out about who was going to go first, we decided that our friend should go first as an act of kindness.
The swing sits swaying gently above the ground, we have to jump to reach it and start walking it up the bank of the beck, our friend looks at us as he climbs on the swing with a look of smugness he swings off, out he goes and back then of he goes again, then, we hear an almighty snapping a major splash ensues as he crashes into the beck all we could do was stand there in silence with our mouths open which very quickly turned in roars of laughter, emerged covered head to toe in mud struggling to get of the beck and he was walking like he had spent a year on a horse.
At eleven I lost my playground and found inner city!
After 20 years working in commercial and charity retail I decided I needed to find my playground again. I wanted children to find their playground and learn just what a fantastic place nature and the outdoors has to offer.
I would like to introduce myself! I am Tracy Evans Northumberland’s Wildlife Trust People and Wildlife officer and Forest School Leader.
We the North East Executive committee would like to support you in your work by providing those opportunities for networking CPD events and represent the North East at both the Regional and National Level.
I would like to share your values, commitment and enthusiasm for outdoor learning. If you have any ideas, for CPD or keynote speakers or networking opportunities than please share those with the North East IOL Executive committee. We would love to hear from you.

Kind Regards
Tracy Evans, IOL NE Regional Chair
Email Tracy

North East Conference 2013 - Keynote + Workshops + AGM

This took place on Friday 18th October 2013 at Carlton Outdoor Education Centre, Carlton-in-Cleveland, Middlesborough. Many outdoor professionals gathered for this Conference and were able to network, attend workshops and enjoy the Keynote Speaker; Andy Mouncey - Ultra Runner, trainer and author of Triathlon.  Below are some photos of the event - thanks to Neal Anderson for these.

NE Conf 2013   NE Conf 2013  NE Conf 2013

First North East conference took place on 7th Sept 2012

We held the first IOL North East region conference at the Carlton Centre, Carlton in Cleveland, with a very encouraging turnout of 50 members.

The keynote speech was given by Marcus Bailie, Head of Inspection at AALS who, very thought-provokingly, gave us an insight into ‘Things coming over the horizon in outdoor learning’.
Thanks to all the presenters who gave up their time so willingly and to the Carlton Centre for hosting us and feeding us so magnificently.
If you are in the North East and interested on being involved in developing the new region and the IOL offer to members, then please contact the IOL Office, as below in the web page footer.
North East Region Exec

Chair: Tracy Evans

Paul Kirkpatrick (Treasurer)

Anita Foster (Secretary)

Committee: Harriet Menter, Dave Shields, Nigel Horne, Anita Foster, Mandy Roberts, Joanne Appleby, Anne Legget, Dave Hopwood, Kat Woolley, Morgan Lax

IOL North East also has a group page Facebook. Search for Institute for Outdoor Learning North East Group.