11. May 2017 · Write a comment · Categories: Blog

At last!

My new resource is available! There is a free month ‘appetiser’ course here


Or there is the paid year course here With a special introductory offer 20% off!

What is is?

It’s a drip fed, month by month, year long storytelling training course with videos, storyboards, audio files, tips and tricks, activity ideas, curriculum links and more. Priced at less than £3 (or one posh coffee!) per week – it’s amazingly good value.

You can pay Yearly or Monthly – both buttons are at the bottom of the page!

This course gives you the tools and the confidence to tell a great story that engages all the listeners & then gives you activities and ideas to transform your outdoor learning delivery.

“Do you know what? This is INSPIRATIONAL! I love the story, the background information, the ideas. It’s a fabulous resource. It’s also very supportive recognizing that it’s not always easy to tell a story.” Sara Collins

Get 20% off with this code valid until the 25th May! 2week20 Click the image below to visit the course website.

11. May 2017 · Write a comment · Categories: Blog

There’s a swell of excitement and anticipation for Outdoor Classroom Day on Thursday next week!



Outdoor Classroom Day is a day to celebrate and inspire outdoor learning and play. On Thursday 18 May 2017, thousands of schools around the world will take lessons outside and prioritise playtime.

Why? Outdoor learning improves children’s health, engages them with learning and leads to a greater connection with nature. Play not only teaches critical life skills such as resilience, teamwork and creativity, but is central to children’s enjoyment of childhood.

It’s easy to get involved and there is something everyone can do!

If you’re a teacher and new to outdoor learning, why not use Outdoor Classroom Day to try it out? Or, if you’re an outdoor learning pro, use the day to celebrate what you’re doing already and inspire other teachers around the world to join in.

If you’re a parent, talk to your child’s school about the importance of outdoor learning and play. Ask them how they will get involved and offer to help out on the day if they need a bit of extra support.

If you work for an organisation that cares about children, nature, education or the environment, speak to us about how you can get involved. Are you an NGO that could lead the campaign in your country? We’d love to hear from you.

There are lots of resources, including advice, guidance and lesson plans, to help get you started. Sign up below to take part and help us build a movement that gets children outdoors to learn and play every day!


And remember, If you haven’t joined already there is a free storytelling for outdoor learning course I have created here:

Food, Fire and Bird Language: Three courses in May nr Sidmouth

Book Now get £20 off the day course prices! or all three for £90

HI,, just wanting to let you know I am running three courses in May at the lovely Bulstone Springs Farm, nr Sidmouth, East Devon.

19th Wild-food forage and cook up on the 19th May 6-9pm £30 More info herehttp://www.wholeland.org.uk/foraging-course/)


20th Wildfire! Learn fire by friction using the bow drill and the hand-drill 10-4pm £65 now £45 More info here (http://www.wholeland.org.uk/firebyfriction/)


21st Understanding Bird language course 9.30-4.00pm £65 now £45 More info here (http://www.wholeland.org.uk/birdlanguagecourse/)

Watch the video here:

Bird Language at Bulstone Springs from chris holland on Vimeo.

Come on all three for £130 Hang out round the fire into the night… wake up early for the amazing dawn chorus!

You can camp over at the farm for £5 a night…it’s a great place for hammocks too

And just in case you didn’t know I am offering a FREE STORYTELLING for outdoor learning course – click the picture to join up!



World Storytelling Day 2017

Today is almost vernal equinox…time for World Storytelling Day

This year I am launching a storytelling for outdoor learning course in May, but for today…

Here is one I prepared earlier!

grandpa and the two lions from chris holland on Vimeo.

I have also created a free storytelling for outdoor learning course… and there is another free story there!  Follow this link: 




grandpa and the two lions from chris holland on Vimeo.

Free Storytelling Course! It’s an appetiser for my latest online resource.

I have created a free storytelling for outdoor learning course here: http://storytellingforoutdoorlearning.com

It’s the appetiser for a year course that is launching in May…click the picture or link above to find out more!

 Waterside Ape


Monkeying around at the coast…five finger shoes available from http://www.primallifestyle.com

The two 45 minute programmes have me persuaded. There is a part where he talks about the small bones in the ears that close up if we spend too much time in cold water. This “Surfer’s Ear” is something I am aware of… and I always wear a hood when I am surfing in the winter because of this. Supposedly there is fossil evidence for these Ear Exostoses too…at a time when our ape ancestors seemed to be getting a big boost on the brain size front… possibly from eating alot more fish…

However other scientists such as Prof Alice Roberts who presented the Incredible Human Journey on BBC2 infer that Sir David Attenborough was putting forward an implausible theory based on the lack of evidence. Is Sir David “Monkeying” around I wonder.
At least the radio show wasn’t broadcast on April 1st… so of now I am going to give it some credence. What do you think?

Three courses in May

I am running three courses in May at the lovely Bulstone Springs Farm, nr Sidmouth, East Devon.

19th Wild-food forage and cook up on the 19th May 6-9pm £30 More info herehttp://www.wholeland.org.uk/foraging-course/)

20th Wildfire! Learn fire by friction using the bow drill and the hand-drill 10-4pm £65 More info here (http://www.wholeland.org.uk/firebyfriction/)

21st Understanding Bird language course 9.30-4.00pm £65 More info here (http://www.wholeland.org.uk/birdlanguagecourse/)

Come on all three for £130 Hang out round the fire into the night… wake up early for the amazing dawn chorus!

You can camp over at the farm for £5 a night…it’s a great place for hammocks too

Wild Food

Plant of the moment: Buck’s Horn (Staghorn) plantain – Plantago coronopus. This is one of my favourite seaside edibles. It can grow to quite some size in sheltered sites. I love it for it’s geometry and it’s salty, crunchy delicacy equally. It’s also fairly easy to identify.

On a visit to Charmouth recently I picked a little salad to finely shred and go with some bacon…it was a mixture of see beet, buck’s horn plantain and black mustard (for the wasabi like kick).

Favourite wildfood recipe: Robin’s Seabeet Chowder

Try this lovely recipe from the amazing Eat Weeds site. if you can get to the coast and find some seabeet: If not substitute with beetroot greens, kale, or spinach.

Sea Beet Chowder (Well Maybe)

Top Tip!

Remember to climb trees at this time of year too as you get a much better view!… and some blatant advertising for my favourite shoes… most excellent for tree climbing they are too. (http://www.primallifestyle.com)

In winter you can wear wooly socks from injinji.com inside the shoes too! http://www.feetus.co.uk

fullsizerender-13In this Post:

  1. Keynote Speech  – Powerpoint file to download
  2. I grow two more arms during a Natural Musicians Workshop – photos from the workshop.
  3. Short video of dynamic natural numbers 6 times table from the workshop
  4. Funny Shoes
  5. Transforming Outdoor Learning report from Plymouth University
  6. Lovely Wandering short film (4 mins) about mountain biking coast to coast across the highlands.

Last week was a particularly dynamic one for me. Many journeys both physically and emotionally. Ups and downs, Easts and wests! What about you? I reckon there was something poignant going on in the stars…

In my world of work in the West of England I was offered more forest school work at St Leonards in Exeter and the management of the development of the forest school site there.

I then headed East to give a keynote speech on Natural Flow Learning and a Natural Musicians workshop the LOTC conference organised by the fab Louise Flavell. It was Louise’s first conference since stepping into the role as manager for Essex County Council Country Parks Team. I think she did a great job.

LOTC ESSEX Natural Cycles and Flow Learning Presentation

Here is the presentation about flow learning I delivered: If you really want the pdf or ppt, file pls email me.

Natural Musicians Workshop:

During the workshops we did the following activities (as a reminder for the participants) : Mosquito Tag, “I went and found a…..”, Name drumming circle (from I love my world), Natural Numbers times tables sculptures 1-60 and the Found Sound Round (with conductor, repeat and volume controls)


Here is a v.short video of one part of the activities, the natural numbers times tables:

I also managed to from two extra arms..i think it was a little uncomfortable:


Along with the help of the extra hands I hope to release DVD’s of many more activities from the Natural Musicians activities during 2017…sign up to my mailing list for more details of when they are available.

After the conference I travelled West to Worcester for a day of Storytelling at the wonderful RGS Springfield school. It was a whole school forest school day.

Funny Shoes!

I had many people asking me about my five finger shoes all day – they are the most comfy shoes I know and the nearest thing to bare feet – available from http://www.primallifestyle.com

vibram five fingers

vibram five fingers

Transforming Outdoor Learning report from Plymouth University

Check this out!

Transforming Outdoor Learning in Schools – Lessons from the Natural Connections Demonstration Project, has been published. Find it here, free of charge! It features teachers and pupils across the project talking about the benefits the project brought to their school, alongside practical advice on howteachers can successfully embed outdoor learning in their school.

I was involved in this project on the delivery side. Full praise to those who pulled all the research together!

Here is the link again: https://www.plymouth.ac.uk/research/oelres-net/transforming

On Wandering

Here is a gorgeous film. I love the quality of the feel of wandering, and the message of the film. Wandering is so vital to the life journey of the human soul. A chance to venture, not lost, but looking, sensing, being in the flow. A chance to meet serendipity and chance first hand, to let nature enter or to enter nature and be re-juvinated and refreshed in some deeper, subconscious way. Ok, it’s an Advert for bikes…but for me it’s the nature connection that touches, the bike is just the vehicle!

And finally, a moving piece of music played by a genius, in the Arctic organised by Greenpeace. Pls skip the ads.

Monday was a bright morning and saw me working with almost 30 lovely teachers from Dulwich Village Primary school.

We looked into how to make the most of the school grounds and the apparently limited resources there.

We played wake up and number games, listened and made sound maps on the ground, did mini shelterbuilding and storytelling work, using found objects for times tables, number bonds and music making before heading indoors for some theory, and playful reviewing activities as the rain came in.

Here is some of the feedback:

“A really great day full of great ideas, laughter, and Inspiration. We will certainly be using the natural resources around us more.” and another member of staff:

“I love how there were SO MANY practical ideas and games for using outside with very little man-made objects needed. The fact that I can use so many of these ideas straight away is brilliant!”









Musical Woods is a new forest school with a musical and slightly wild twist.

musical woods banner

This ‘forest school’ will be a mixture of nature connection, music making and wild play to help children and accompanying adults connect to self, to each other and to nature.

Based at the gorgeous Bulstone Springs Farm, near Branscombe which is owned by Jon Theo and Laura Williams, Musical Woods has access to woodland, a shallow stream bed, some steep heathland and springs of sweet fresh water.

Using a basic forest school model, with added mentoring and community building in the background, I hope that in time connections develop that support us all to live a more natural, healthy and regenerative culture based way here is East Devon.

The average Musical Woods session will follow a flow of meet-up, journey to the base, games, circle time, child led play and exploration, some craft work and music making before going home.

There will be three sessions for different age groups, each limited to 12 child participants:

3-7yrs 10am—12.30pm £7 per child (£5 second child)

7+ 1pm – 3.30pm £10 per child

5-11 4 – 5.30pm  £5 (£3 second child

Pay per week for this Summer Term. Pay per term from September.

For more information and to book your place please contact Chris Holland 07980 601830 or on Facebook

or join https://www.facebook.com/groups/wildschooleastdevon/

Barefoot shoes and badgers.

Badgers have been around for a long time. Way longer than humans have been wearing shoes. I wonder what this “Land of the Engles” was like before humans turned up. With the absence of tracks, roads and buildings… it might be that some of the biggest earthworks and well worn trails around were made by badgers.

Not far up the lane from our home in East Devon is one of my son’s favourite places – he calls it Badgerland. It’s on a steep, northwest facing slope and the badgers have been busy burrowing into the soft red jurassic sandstone for years. We thought is was the perfect place to go and have our first adventure together in our new Vibram five finger shoes. As a nature connection facilitator, forest school leader and team building provider I also have a thing about shoes, “barefoot style”  and “ninja” shoes. As a kid I preferred running around barefoot. Zola Budd was a heroine and about 20 years ago a friend brought me back some gardeners ‘tabi’ shoes from Japan. And now I have a bit of a reputation in the outdoor education world for wearing ‘unusual shoes’. So it was with great excitement that I recently unboxed two pairs of Vibrams’ latest five finger shoes for me and my son. We both have a pair of Trek Ascents with the new mega grip compound sole. We also got a pair of V-toes toe socks to keep our feet warm in the winter


New shoes can be like “super suits” for feet…. and we needed to go and test out their super powers.

One of my nicknames as a kid was ‘Scorch’ because I used to run around everywhere. I remember getting my first pair of Nike trainers and how they helped me think I was running even faster. Maybe you remember having some favourite childhood shoes that gave you super powers? My son certainly likes the ninja-ness of these Vibram shoes and loves how grippy they are in the trees:


I stopped wearing stiff walking boots and trainers with bouncy heels about 10 years ago. I like something flexible with ‘zero drop’. I love walking barefoot but have soft skin on my feet. I enjoy walking over all surfaces without shoes, I even believe it is good for me as I have a foot massage for free, but I do get a lot of thorns if I don’t wear something on my feet. As far as I am concerned vibram five fingers are just amazing as a shoe concept and so I have has two pairs to date, but until now I have been disappointed by the grip in off road and trail situations. The latest Trek Ascent model has a new mega grip compound with a more aggressive grip under the toes.


They are a bit like badger claws for humans. I think they are awesome! The extra large grippy bits under the toes are really effective in muddy earth. I climbed some trees too and found the mega-grip exceptionally good on dry and very good on damp wood.


Coming down from the trees we searched the land for signs of who had been around. I love the way in these minimalist shows it feels easy to walk carefully amongst spring flowers so as not to squash them.


Treading carefully and looking for tracks and sign we found some fox poo, rained on and several days old, with lots of hair and broken bones in it:


We played ‘It!’ around the budget setts… and our dog was often sticking his head in the entrances as we counted them:

IMG_2622 (1)

Some of the larger setts have more than 100 entrances. Badgers seem to prefer earth that is easier to dig in – and so do I! – sandy soil and banks being favoured. Even smaller setts are quite extensive underground. One study of a sett with 12 entrances in the Cotswolds found more than 310 metres of tunnels and it was estimated that the badgers had moved more than 25 tonnes of earth to create this complex.Their trails winding through the woodland, scratch marks around the entrances to their underground laberynthine setts, neat latrines are sure signs there is someone around. Badger families live in the same homes for years. Being tidy and house proud animal they change bedding regularly and like fresh air in their homes. They are fairly busy and so there is often some fresh, soft earth to look for their tracks in. Most of the time our dog got to these ‘track-pads’ first…but at last I managed to find a small badger paw mark in the entrance to a burrow before before the dog put his paw market there! Can you see it? In between my big toes!


Here are some of the scratch marks we found too. I thought they were like the sprayed hand marks of aboriginal art.WP_20141224_10_38_52_Pro

Badgers have been making their mark on the landscape for so long. Now, without bears and wolves, badgers are a key species… top of the ecological tree in the UK. If you want to find out more about them there is a brilliant website called http://www.badgerland.co.uk – it’s well worth a visit.

One of my sons favourite memories from our previous house was sneaking into an unplowed field of short grass in the late spring dusk, just as it was getting ‘dimpsy’, and waiting for the badgers to come out. They were already there!! Scratching double fore-paws of grass down the slope towards their burrows.

The last time I saw a badger in daylight was the other morning as I was running at daybreak along the top of a flinty ridge called East Hill Strips. I was trying out the new Trek Ascents as a trail running shoe…and had enjoyed the way I could use my toes to grip so well on the way up and eventually reached, in a puffed out fashion, the tarmac road, that runs at the top… and found a badger lumbering towards me! I think it was the first time our dog had met one as far as I know and some growling and chasing ensued before the badger bundled off down the wooded slope. Running the couple of miles along the top road I noticed how the shoes had just enough give for tarmac, but not too much to loose feel. As I ran down the steep track back towards home, I was impressed with the balance between feel and protection from sharp flinty rocks the trail ascents offered and how secure the new lacing system help my foot in a comfortingly secure and flexible ‘foot glove’ like way… definitely the best Vibram five fingers so far in my opinion….and I wondered what the landscape was like before humans started making tracks for our carts vehicles and whether the animals, or previously the dinosaur’s, trails ever made such cuts into the landscape?

For more about badgers visit http://www.badgerland.co.uk

For more about Vibram five fingers visit: http://www.primallifestyle.com

For more information about the nature connection experiences I offer please visit www.wholeland.org.uk