Bushcraft & Bow Making Qualifications

Phil is the chief Instructor at Woodcraft School in West Sussex where he licences and delivers an array of course's including the Applied Bushcraft level 4, Bushcraft Advanced Award level 3 and the Traditional Bow Making Level 4. For further Information on the fantastic array of Bushcraft and natural history courses available please follow the links below the course's descriptions where they can be booked. 


Traditional Bow Making L4

Course Content

  • Selection of suitable felled timber for specific bow designs
  • processing and preparing timber from round wood. 
  • Construction of a range of bows of different designs using a wide range of timbers. 
  • making repairs
  • exploration of design and techniques to improve efficency
  • bows of varying draw weights
  • character bows
  • dealing with knots, twists lumps and bumps
  • arrow plates and horn nocks


Whats it about

We have been planning this course for several years with the aim of providing a platform from which to explore the variety and craftsmanship to be found within this unique aspect of our social and woodland heritage. We focus on wooden bows which historically have informed so much of life in this temperate home of ours. Tracing back the designs to earliest bows of Europe’s mesolithic hunter gathers, through to the those great weapons of war and then on to explore the new, or at least rediscovered technologies and uses of materials that are available to the modern wooden bow maker. We anticipate that students will make several bows of a variety of designs and specification. These should culminate in a deep understanding of the archery heritage found across North West Europe. The course will run over several months with attendance required in three day blocks spread evenly across duration of the course. There will be some requirement for working on projects at home and for this reason a set of hand tools will also be needed by each participant.

Although not assessed, arrow making and string making will also be explored.

If you are unsure about entering the world of bow making you may be interested in our three day bow making course.


Course Dates: Please follow the Link. 


Course: Traditional Bow Making

Location: Nr Heathfield East Sussex

Start Time: 8.30 am

Completion Time: 4.00pm

Course Leader: Phil Brooke

Course Size: 12 (maximum)

Cost Per Person: £1,600 (Deposit £100)


Course Reviews



The Level 4 Traditional bow making course is a fantastic insight into the world of the bowyer. Phil is excellent at passing on his depth and breadth of knowledge to help you produce a range of bows, to a quality you never thought you could. The hands on nature along with the emphasis on self experimentation gives you the confidence to practice what’s been taught in-between sessions. In short, this course gives you all the opportunity you need to be able to produce bows that can be enjoyed for many years to come. Thank you Phil!


Having made a longbow on the Bushcraft Leadership course a few years ago I thought I would be well prepared for the Traditional Bow Making Level 4. However, be under no illusion this course was time consuming and hard work. At times I was frustrated, but the adage of ‘remove wood where the bow isn’t bending and leave it where it is’ eventually makes sense. Ultimately, the satisfaction of independently making bows from start to finish, bending to full compass is extremely gratifying.

I can’t imagine any other provider doing a better job than Phil Brooke. His knowledge, craftsmanship and personal interest in the subject is exceptional, this said, he won’t be making the bows for you! Please don’t start this as a certificated course if you don’t think you’ll have enough time to work on it independently at home.


This is a fantastic course for anyone who wants to delve deeper into bow making than just the experience of making a single bow. From felling your own timber and splitting out multiple staves across several species, you’ll learn how to craft both functioning and beautiful bows. You will get a deeper understanding of the properties of wood and experiment (sometimes to the point of failure) how efficient a bow can be. Mastering not only the carpentry but also the skill of tillering along with fit and finish, by the end of the course you will have the skillsets to carry on making bows with a much deeper understanding of how to make them shoot well and last. This was a challenging course, which a level 4 should be, but very rewarding. Covering multiple styles of bow construction across varied woods I feel that I’ve not only got a new skill but am better connected to my ancestors and can appreciate just how knowledgeable and skilled they were.



Certificate in Applied Bushcraft - Level 4

"The syllabus is packed, keeping you busy at all times without feeling gruelling because everything is so interesting and the instruction is top notch. Each session builds on the skills already learned, giving ample opportunity for each student to practise and become self sufficient in the woodland' Alex DeWitt

Woodcraft School were the first company in the country to offer an accredited course designed specifically for bushcraft instructors in the UK. This programme of study remains very in-depth and comprehensive and is still the benchmark standard in bushcraft techniques for trainee instructors and enthusiasts alike. We do not now formally assess instructional skills but instead offer tips and advice to anyone wishing to pass these skills on. For anyone wishing to gain formal training and recognition in teaching there are several short courses available to bolt onto this qualification if you dont already have teaching experiance.


Course Content

  • Tool design
  • safe tool use and selection
  • carving techniques
  • use of axe
  • tree felling with hand tools (axes)
  • cleaving and conversion of timber
  • atlatls
  • primitive glues
  • bark work
  • cordage
  • ropes knots and lashings
  • natural shelters
  • modern shelters
  • effects of heat and cold clothing
  • backcountry cooking techniques
  • game preparation
  • tree and plant identification and uses
  • poisonous plants
  • wild food
  • natural navigation techniques
  • hazard tree recognition
  • animal track and sign recognition
  • finding and making water safe
  • effects of dehydration
  • fire lighting and management
  • bow drill, hand drill
  • natural and manmade tinder.


Duration and Time Commitment

It would be useful to have some prior knowledge of the subject before embarking on this programme but it is not essiential. The award consists of nine modules totalling 27 days that are spread out across ten months and all fours seasons. This allows the student to consolidate skills between each session.

If you are in any doubt about your suitability for the programme please feel free to contact us to discuss this.

To allow flexibility for the students, the course is organised so that the blocks that make up the applied course include weekends to lessen the impact of the working week. We believe this system allows students to attend the course and still remain fully employed. Students are also welcome to arrive the night before if they have a long way to travel and this is reflected in the dates below.

The course will take place entirely in the outdoors and you are expected to camp out for the duration. In addition to the sessions at our site you will also have a good deal of home study so be prepared to live, eat and sleep bushcraft for whole of the course!

This programme requires the student to be living in the outdoors and managing themselves, the environment and the camp and resources. With this in mind you are also expected to help out around the site with  tasks such as bringing in water, washing up and collecting firewood.

Please note this is a self catered course and you are expected to camp and live outdoors throughout the duration of each module.

You need to be over 18 years of age to attend this programme.

This course is written and quality assured by Woodcraft School and run under licence by Phil Brooke. The course location is near Heathfield, East Sussex

Course: Certificate in Applied Bushcraft

Location: Nr Heathfield East Sussex

Start Time: 7.00pm on the first day

Completion Time: 4.00pm each block last day

Course Leader: Phil Brooke

Course Size: 12 (maximum)

Cost Per Person: £1700 (Deposit £100)

Course Reviews


I have thoroughly cherished and been inspired by the experience of completing the Level 4 Applied Bushcraft with Phil Brooke of Woodcraft School. An extremely varied and informative course taking everything to the next level compared to week long bushcraft courses. A really great mix of practical experience backed up by solid theory and self led learning. I always enjoy the challenge of assessment which I feel pushes students to really embed the learning enabling them to study a subject area in depth. I have come out of the course having learnt so much, but even more special than that is having had my eyes opened even more to the wonderful world of natural living and bushcraft inspiring me to go forward and continue to learn even more. I would thoroughly recommend the course to those who have a drive to learn and the time to dedicate to enable you to embrace and get the most out of this course. I feel I have come away from the course with brand new skills; a deepening of knowledge in skills I already had explored; and a fantastic group of friends who I know will continue to support each other in the years to come.


This course shifted the way I see the world around me, putting me more in touch with my environment that I used to walk blindly past. It gave me tremendous confidence and experience to teach bushcraft myself, and also the curiosity to extend further and learn more about all the many subjects we covered, from ancestral skills to craftwork and wildlife tracking.

The team spirit and camaraderie that formed over the course was amazing and I learned something from every other student, who all have their own different life experiences to offer.

The syllabus is packed, keeping you busy at all times without feeling gruelling because everything is so interesting and the instruction is top notch. Each session builds on the skills already learned, giving ample opportunity for each student to practise and become self sufficient in the woodland. This goes way beyond the firesteels and knives that some bushcraft courses are focussed around and teaches you the ‘why’ behind the ‘what’.

I was so sad to see the end of the course, I wish I could keep coming back every month! If you’re curious enough about the course to visit this website, hesitate no longer and just book it!


The certificate in applied bushcraft builds on the foundation of the advanced award under the excellent mentoring of Phil Brooke

Bushcraft is a vast subject with many facets.  This course provided me with the perfect environment to hone known skills and learn new ones.  Phil is patient and will guide you in your learning, he will also push you to reach your potential.  Taking place from October to June you will experience all seasons and be provided with a comprehensive outdoor experience.

Thank you to Phil, John and the other participants on the course for the guidance, teaching a friendship over those nine months.

Bushcraft is about the skills and knowledge that allow you to thrive in a raw natural environment. Time tested techniques, often passed down by aboriginal peoples, and simple yet robust tools that strive towards self-sufficiency. Bushcraft is about being resourceful and engaging in the natural world

Course Content

Bow history and bow design, factors effecting bow efficiency, wood selection, tillering, string materials and construction, arrow woods and design, fletching and archery techniquesThere is a saying that "a great bow is nine tenths broken at full draw", but by understanding the properties of timber and with skill, we can take timber to its limit (and return!) to produce an implement of incredible beauty and practicality.

What's it about

The start of your journey through the world of traditional archery begins by exploring aspects of bow design, how this relates to bow making and the woods that can be used. We will look at the elements employed in bows as diverse as the eight thousand year old Holmegaard bow and compare these elements with bows from European history especially the English longbow the subject of our study.

The bow making then begins in earnest, using the design elements discussed and working with the properties of the individual stave. You will craft your own Traditional English Longbow and join the growing ranks of traditional archers. 

The choice of timber is from locally sourced native hardwoods felled specifically for the course.

There will also be instruction on string making and assembling arrows it is planned that you leave the course with a fully working bow, tillered to your requirements, a laid in Flemish style string and a couple of arrows to set you on the path. More importantly than the weapon, you also armed with the knowledge to make it all again. 

Please enquire should this course be full as we may run extra dates

Course Dates


Please follow us on our social media links at the top of the page to see our lastest updates, courses and products. @philbrookelongbows

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