Neroche Woodlanders

About Neroche Woodlanders

The Neroche Woodlanders are building on many years' experience of using trees and woods to yield a positive impact on people's lives. We know that woodlands offer great environments for learning, developing new skills, building personal confidence, and generating new social connections. We know the value of bringing volunteers and professionals together to do something good for the landscape. We know that multi-purpose forests can yield a sustainable supply of wood, while also being rich havens for wildlife. And we are discovering the benefits to be had when disciplines and perspectives on the natural world have the chance to overlap.

Young Wood is a practical working woodland, it is also becoming a meeting place, an outdoor classroom and a place for respite, training and relaxation. The Neroche Woodlanders represents a new partnership between the Forestry Commission, independent practitioners and volunteers to maximise the multiple values of this part of the Neroche Forest.

Pathways Covered

Education, training and employment


Woodland Wellbeing ....

... is a series of regular wellbeing and learning sessions at Young Wood on the Blackdown Hills. The days are gentle, at your own pace and we aim to keep the groups small, with 8-12 participants.

It is open to adults from across Taunton and wider Somerset. We have designed it with the help of many people over the years, and it works especially well for people who have experienced mental or emotional distress, who feel isolated, need time to reflect on life, and those trying to build skills to get moving in life again.

Each session is made up of:

- Talking together as a group around the campfire

- A guided explore walk through the woods looking for plants, animal tracks and other things of interest

- Looking after the campfire, boiling kettles and cooking lunch

- Simple ecotherapy or nature mindfulness techniques

- Practical activities in small groups. These vary depending on the interests of those in the group. They might include: conservation tasks to look after the woods, learning to make things from wood, weaving with willow, creating nature art.

Our aim is that people who come find their own level of connection with nature. We all have good days and bad days, and in the woods you are able to just be yourself.

It's all about give and take. As you give some energy to the woods, and learn a little about how it all works and grows, the place is able to give back something to you. That's how nature works.

Please contact us to book a place. All learners can work towards the John Muir Award. Four Challenges are at the heart of each John Muir Award; discover - explore - conserve - share. The John Muir Award is an environmental award that encourages people of all backgrounds to connect, enjoy and care for wild places through a structured process.

Each course runs for a series of 5 regular Tuesdays. People who come regularly get the most out of it. New people are welcome to start in the first few weeks of each course. Those who have been before are often welcome to come back. ΓΆ€‹

What we do

The John Muir Award is central to Wild Learning, so here are the activities and  learning outcomes that fit with our wild place, our work and the times of year we work.

Our sessions are really drive by the people and the place, so everyone comes up with their own ideas too - and we will make things that can be shared with the communities we are all part of.


  • Tree and plant identification
  • Animal tracking
  • Navigation
  • A glimpse into the past


  • Tool use and maintenance
  • Choosing and harvesting materials for craft items
  • Mallet making
  • Spoon making
  • Bowl making
  • Cordage

Conserve (look after)

  • Keeping warm, dry and safe
  • Fire making
  • Coppicing
  • Tree tagging and nursery


  • John Muir’s example
  • Campfire cooking
  • Making something for the community
  • Taking photos
  • Keeping a journal
  • Team working

Where we do it

Young Wood lies two miles to the south of Taunton, near the village of Staple Fitzpaine.  For a map click here.

From Taunton, leave the town via South Road and take the B3170 towards Corfe.  Just before Taunton Racecourse take the left turning signposted to Orchard Portman and Staple Fitzpaine.  Follow this road for just over a mile, and just after entering the hamlet of Winter Well, look out for a field entrance on the right hand side.  On the day of events there will be a sign on the roadside at this entrance.

From the east, come via the A358 and take the turning to Staple Fitzpaine.  When you reach the village crossroads turn right, passing the Greyhound Inn, and continue for half a mile.  When you come into the hamlet of Winter Well and Badger Street, look for a field entrance on the left, as described above.

From the south, come via the ridge road along the top of the Blackdown Hills and take the turning just west of Castle Neroche, down the hill signposted to Staple Fitzpaine.  Continue through the village past the pub, as described above

We organise a minibus which picks up in Taunton - usually Priorswood shops and Roman Road in Halcon - others stops can be arranged.
The 99a bus passes nearby the woods.
Or you can drive.

How to access

To find out more text Jenny on 07541 080397 or contact them on the website here.

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