Through our passion, enthusiasm and experience we help people connect with nature, feel healthier and have meaningful experiences through positive activity and creative play.
We are experienced outdoor educators with a background in bushcraft, forest school and nature therapy, who love what we do.
Meet James Kendall
I am the Head Bushcraft Instructor and Forest School Leader at Woodland Classroom. I have been working in environmental education & conservation for over 10 years now. I received the Bushcraft Competency Certificate awarded through the Institute for Outdoor Learning after 2 years of teaching experience and practical study. Before setting up Woodland Classroom Ltd I was the Project Manager for Long Wood Community Woodland, the largest community-owned woodland in Wales, overseeing the management of 300 acres of broadleaf and conifer forest. I am also a former Director of Llais y Goedwig, the voice of community woodlands in Wales.
My approach to teaching has always been with an emphasis on steering my students toward fostering a deeper connection with nature through understanding the landscape around us. Bushcraft skills are an effective way to do this as we learn about using natural materials and how we can live with the land, whilst also connecting with our own ancient past by seeing the land through the eyes of our ancestors.
I have always had an affinity with woods, being at home amongst the trees, and I’ve made it my mission to study under some of the UK leaders in bushcraft, greenwood crafts and sustainable woodland management including; Dave Watson (Woodland Survival Crafts), Ben Law (woodsman, author, and eco-builder) Patrick Whitefield (permaculture teacher and author) and Mike Abbott (author and greenwood craftsman).
My passions are reflected not only in my work but also in my own interests and hobbies which include; travelling, walking, wildlife and traditional greenwood crafts. I am also an experienced historical re-enactor with a passion for history, specialising in Iron Age and Viking age history. In 2010 I won the BTCV Green Hero Award in recognition for my work leading volunteers in environmental community projects.
James is a member of the IOL Bushcraft Professional Practise Group. The group aims to promote best practice in the growing industry of bushcraft.
Meet Lea Kendall
I am a qualified Counsellor and Life Coach and Woodland Activity Leader. I am also a qualified Mindfulness in the Woods practitioner. As an Integrative Counsellor I take the view that there is no single approach that can treat each client in all situations. I take a holistic view of each individual, taking into account their emotional and mental well-being as well as their physical health.
“I am a firm believer in the power of nature to be therapeutic for everyone. My training as a Counsellor worked toward my long-term goal to incorporate nature therapy into my services. I am passionate about finding ways to increase the self-esteem of people and encouraging motivation through positive experience, shared enthusiasm and a nurturing environment.”
I am the Co-Founder and Activity Leader at Woodland Classroom, which is all about teaching people to connect with nature for improved wellbeing. We help adults and children to discover more about themselves, connect with their communities, and develop a deeper connection to nature.
Lea has years of experience working with children and young people, including four years working in a primary school as a Learning Mentor focusing on the social and emotional aspects of learning and working one to one with vulnerable children and children with challenging behavior. I am a firm believer in the power of nature to be therapeutic for everyone. I believe that play for all ages should be a large part of our lives. My training as a Counsellor worked toward my long-term goal to incorporate nature and play therapy into our services. I am passionate about finding ways to increase the self-esteem of people and encouraging motivation through positive experience, shared enthusiasm and a nurturing environment.
My interests include travel, aimlessly wandering in nature and discovering more about the natural world. I also enjoy cosy nights in, camping under the stars, festivals, good food and foraging and being with like-minded people.
Our Partnership with National Trust
In 2017 we partnered up with the National Trust at Erddig Hall & Gardens and Chirk Castle, both amazing outdoor venues in Wrexham county borough, in North East Wales. Our ongoing partnership with the Trust enables us to offer so much more to the groups we work with who have the opportunity to engage in bushcraft, forest school and nature therapy sessions against the backdrop of these historical estates with their variety of habitats and rich biodiversity.
At Erddig, we also have use of the Felin Puleston Outdoor Centre, a purpose built outdoor education space, easily accessible from Wrexham town, that includes an activity room, toilets, parking, allotment garden and surrounding woodland and meadows which gives us a great backdrop for our sessions.
Meet Kay Ribbons-Steen.
Kay is a qualified Forest School Leader and Social Forester. She has worked for a number of years in eco-therapy having trained as a Mindfulness in a Woodland Setting practitioner. Kay studied a work based diploma in Environmental Conservation with Flintshire Countryside & Coast Service. She is also an Ambassador for the National Autistic Society, and an autism awareness speaker.
Alongside her Forest School freelance work Kay works as an Environmental Project Officer on a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and Special Area of Conservation (SAC).
“I am passionate about reconnecting people with nature for our own holistic wellbeing whilst conserving our unique and irreplaceable environment.”
In 2017, Kay began working with Hawarden Estate Farm Shop and introduced forest play and parent & toddler sessions to the estate. She now co-leads and assists in delivering Woodland Classroom’s activity sessions, birthday parties and wellbeing courses for adult learners.