Welcome to Red Oak Bushcrafts

Derbyshire / Peak District Bushcraft & Wilderness Skill Courses

Do you feel it’s time to escape the hi tech world we live in and step back a little, back to basics, back to connect with your surroundings, back to what you perhaps used to do when you were a kid?

In that case you’re in exactly the same place I was in 2006 when I quit my IT job and turned to outdoor education. However you don’t need to be as drastic as that, you maybe just need to remind yourself of what’s out there and what you can do.

It’s not just about learning skills, it’s about clearing your head and maybe taking a different approach. Far too often we are forced to put our heads down and get the job done. Sometimes you need to stop and take stock. The woodland environment is the perfect place to do this. If you can do this, learn a new skill or two and have fun you will notice the benefits! Or maybe you want to drag your kids away from screen time and introduce them some new skills as a family unit, creating fantastic family memories.

Red Oak Bushcrafts has been in my head for too long so now we are live and ready to meet you.

We are a family run business, below you will find more information about us. We may need occasionally to involve other instructors, if we do then rest assured that we will only use people we are 100% confident with in their skills and knowledge.

Peter Morton

So in 2006 I quit my IT job and set off in a new direction, it wasn’t rocket science it was the only other thing I had qualifications in having been involved in the outdoors since becoming a guide at the age of 5 (long story, will tell you about it when we meet) and working my way through the Peak Park Ranger Service and Mountain Rescue.

I love my office window now – However Bushcraft and wilderness skills are my passion and combining them with a canoe trip makes it even better!

I am now qualified to deliver the following and regularly work for a number of centres/providers in the Peak District as a freelance instructor, frequently heading up courses for them.


  • Bushcraft for Practitioners Course
  • Bushcraft and Wilderness Skills Mentoring Course
  • Leave No Trace Trainer
  • MLTA SPA Climbing
  • MLTA Summer Mountain Leader
  • MLTA Winter Mountain Leader Trained
  • BC/UKCC L2 Instructor
  • BC 4* Canoe Award
  • BC White Water Safety & Rescue
  • SMBLA Trail Cycle Leader
  • BCA LCMLA L1 Cave/Mine Leader
  • BCA LCMLA L2 Cave/Mine Leader Trained
  • First Aid Qualified
  • Enhanced DBS


Nichola Smith

My office window used to be in the centre of Sheffield!

Since the kids came along I have taken time out to bring them up and from that got involved with their schools. Here I found I had a passion for educating children, particularly in an outdoor environment.

I am now a teaching assistant in a local primary school where I also deliver Forest Schools which is my real passion, using the outdoors to help them grow in confidence in their surroundings as well as educating them.

I work, when I can, for a local outdoor centre and have also lectured on Forest Schools at Derby University.


  • Level 3 Forest School Leader
  • NVQ Level 3 Early Years Care and Education
  • First Aid Qualified
  • Enhanced DBS


Towards the end of 2019 we were fortunate to agree the use of a woodland owned by Forestry England. The end of 2019 and start of 2020 saw a flurry of activity getting the site ready for use, building a compost toilet and laying out the main camp area.

While we try to work to a leave no trace ethic it was felt that those two areas would need to be created to provide a base and reduce human impact on the rest of the site.

We have also created a sanitation station to ensure everyone can be as hygienic as possible, particularly in the current climate.

The woodland we use is one of seven woodlands that create Forestry England's Matlock Forest lying in the Dark Peak Natural Area just outside the Peak District National Park. It consists of approximately 40% broadleaved trees, 40% coniferous trees and the remaining areas are felled or open spaces. This woodland has a roadside broadleaf belt made up of Silver birch, Red oak and beech to break up the conifer edges and soften the woodlands outer appearance. It has also recently been planted with English oak, Western hemlock and Sitka spruce to add more variety to the tree species found here.

Timber here is harvested using sustainable silvicultural systems based on the natural lifecycle of trees. Most of the harvested timber is softwood which produces fencing materials or goes into the building market where chipped wood is manufactured into boards used for flooring, roofing, partitions or flat-pack furniture. Softwood comes from coniferous trees such as pine, fir, spruce and larch. Hardwoods tend to be denser than softwoods and are used to supply UK markets for construction and wood fuel. Hardwoods come from broadleaved trees such as oak, ash and beech. You can find out more about how Forestry England manage the nation's forests here: forestryengland.uk/forests-lifecycle

Our woodland is also home to a number of different bird species and in 2020 a pair of Buzzards successfully reared and fledged a chick. Red and Roe deer frequently pass through as do fox and badger.



Fantastic family bonding day. Great, relaxed but engaging bushcraft experience suitable for the whole family. We were greeted with a lovely toasty fire in the morning where after a cup of tea we started building shelters and playing with different tarp combinations. The experience included purifying water after lunch, and making fire in a variety of different ways. Good combination of hands on practical learning as well as instruction from skilled professionals! Suitable for novices and folks with varying degrees of skill.

Mili Veira
Family Bushcraft Day


The brownies had a great time firelighting in the woods! They had to use their communication and teamwork skills to enable them to light their own little fires. After the initial whole group instruction, the leaders took the time to show each group how to practice and develop their firelighting skills. It was a very informal setting but they still covered literacy and numeracy skills and also re-enforced manners from the brownies! The brownies got to toast their marshmallows at the end and sing a campfire song. Definitely be back!

Brown Owl Methodist Brownies, Buxton
Private Booking


All of the students were super proud of themselves because they could light fire without matches and told their teachers and friends how it’s done!

M Lomas, Buxton Community School
Introduction to Bushcraft Day


Thank you so much for today. It was wonderful - I don't think it could have been better. Callum was going to phone you to say thank you but he fell asleep!!

Laura Hill
Introduction to Bushcraft Day


My Guides had a fantastic time building shelters and lighting fires in the snow. Peter was knowledgeable, flexible and tailored the session to our needs. I would recommend you book a session!

1st Hollingworth Girl Guides. Private Course


Jayden had the best birthday party with his friends. Brilliantly organised and I would highly recommend to anyone who's children enjoy the outdoors. Big thanks to Nicola and Pete for a great afternoon.

Nina Cocker
Birthday Party