David Willis is a teacher of Bushcraft and Wilderness Living Skills. He can be found baking bread and rustling up tasty meals over a campfire, whittling spoons, foraging for edibles, walking in the woods and soaking up everything nature has to offer.
He has served with the Royal Engineers in Belize, spent time living alongside the Maasai in the Rift Valley and learning from the Bushman of the Kalahari, motorcycled around Europe, built and paddled his canoe along British rivers, and loves heading out on adventures.
Escaping the corporate world was his best decision ever, with a long career in technology development and consulting, David now loves teaching adults and children, sharing the skills needed to enjoy living life and having fun outdoors!
Press, Media, Publications
- 5th November 2022: The Telegraph 10 of Britain’s wildest winter experiences – Spending time among the trees is good for the soul .
- 29th November 2021: An intriguing character in Jarvis Cocker’s Wireless Nights – Lost in the Forest on BBC Radio 4 – Listen again
- 4th March 2021: Bucks Breakfast Radio with Pippa Sawyer, talking about Springtime in the woods, whilst sitting on a log in Hodgemoor Woods – Listen again here on Soundcloud
- 1st February 2021: Hiyabucks Magazine, feature and centre page spread, David’s journey into Bushcraft here in the Chilterns.
- 15th December 2020 – Bucks Breakfast Radio with Pippa Sawyer, getting a little closer to living in the woods – such an enjoyable conversation, lighting the campfire, putting the kettle on and having a brew Listen again here on Soundcloud
- 23rd August 2020: BBC Two – Stories of Us, Rev Kate Bottley and broadcaster Ashley John-Baptiste look on the bright side of life, discovering the impact of spreading joy, happiness and laughter. David takes them on a journey through the woods, gathers a few sticks, lights a campfire and bakes bread, whilst telling of his love for the woods.
- 2nd April 2019: Visit Chilterns – Meet the Makers, featured as one of the makers in the Chilterns AONB, along with a short film of their visit to meet me in the woods where I work.
- 16th May 2017: Berkshire and Buckinghamshire Life writer Venetia Hawkes joins David on a magical journey of discovery in our local woodlands (read article in Berkshire and Buckinghamshire Life).
- 14th December 2016: The Guardian picked David’s woodland walks as one of their the best guided walks around Britain. Embracing the great outdoors in the dead of winter is a lot easier in a group and with a knowledgeable leader for motivation (read article in The Guardian).
- 26th August 2016: Escape the phones and tablets and discover the secrets of dining in the real outdoors – Venetia Hawkes writer for Berkshire and Buckinghamshire Life did just that in Buckinghamshire woodland (read article in Berkshire and Buckinghamshire Life).
David the teacher
David enjoys teaching adults just as much as he does children and teenagers. So whilst one day he may be teaching adults the skills needed for a team building exercise, the next may be teaching young children how to safely light a fire or teens how to whittle with a knife.
From an early age, David loved being outdoors. In those formative years, he had fun exploring the local parks and woodlands, building camps and lighting fires with his friends. Camped out, they were always slightly nervous about who would find them and spooked by the unfamiliar sounds of wildlife.
Now, years later it’s wonderful to help others regain some of those often lost childhood experiences, become confident living outdoors and reconnect with nature.
Professionally accredited and qualified
David is a professionally accredited / qualified Bushcraft instructor of 12 years standing, with a former career in the information technology industry after serving with HM Forces in The Royal Engineers.
Trained in First Aid and an expedition leader for lowland Britain, David is a ‘Certificated Practitioner’ with the Institute for Outdoor Learning and active member of the Bushcraft Professional Practice Group (PPG) – both as a participant and in workshop delivery.
David achieved the Bushcraft Leadership & NCFE qualification in 2009/2010, covering: outdoor living skills, natural history, woodland crafts, leadership and instruction (and a whole lot more – you are welcome to ask!). A fabulous and challenging year of education under the instruction of John Rhyder (formerly instructor for Ray Mears), living in the wilds of West Sussex at his Woodcraft School.
As a professional Bushcraft instructor, David maintains public liability insurance for the protection of students and the woodlands where he teaches and for when he works with children or vulnerable adults he has a current enhanced DBS / CRB certificate.