Highlees 2

Excellence in Woodland would not be possible without the help and support of the amazing professionals that join us to run the workshops.

Meet the team who will be delivering the workshops at August’s event.

Ben Mayo

Ben Mayho – aka Wild Craftist – is a basketmaker and willow artist based in Shrewsbury, Shropshire.

His fascination with natural woodland materials led to him training with renowned basketmakers both in this country and abroad. He produces ‘stock’ baskets and items made to commission.

Out of his basketry work came the willow sculpture that he’s known for today. Ben has produced centrepieces for award winning show gardens, has been commissioned to make large scale sculptures for clients such as the National Trust, and has both artistic and functional pieces installed in the estates of well known and discerning clients.

He loves to pass his knowledge on, and has taught many adults and young people in both public workshops, and as Artist in Residence at leading schools and universities.

Liz Benstead

Following 20 years of bringing up four children and home educating two of them, Liz has spent the last 8 years working at Lifecentre, Hattersley running adventure clubs and working in schools.

She has also recently joined with her daughter’s company, Liberty Farm CIC,  and is developing a number of projects using bushcraft related skills/philosophy, in order to enhance people’s lives. She runs a number of bushcraft and wellbeing courses both for groups and individuals in the Tameside and Glossop area.

Katie Rees

Katie Rees is a skilled outdoor practitioner, establishing KindleWoods CIC in 2012 to sustainably manage local woodlands and promote child and adult wellbeing. A forest school and bushcraft practitioner, she has developed skills in hedgelaying, woodland management, and has honed her skills in fire by friction, demonstrating bow drill in the traditional crafts arena at the Great Yorkshire Show in 2019.

She loves being creative outdoors, and particularly enjoys pudding and patisserie campfire experiments, from kettle-baked treacle sponge to Dutch oven chocolate fondants. She is passionate about supporting people to overcome barriers, find joy in life and connect with the miracles of nature.

Irene Evison

Irene combines her two passions – the outdoors and tapestry weaving – into a unique artistic blend, using tapestry weaving to connect people and nature.

Her Nearly Wild Weaving experiences take people outside to create woven tapestries inspired by the natural world around them; no experience needed, just a desire to explore their creativity and try something a bit different.

She also makes her own work, with some pieces woven outdoors in just a few hours and others the product of days or even weeks of design and creation in her studio on the Shropshire/Powys border.

Pete Morton

Pete is a well established and respected outdoor professional whose enthusiasm and competence is sure to have an impact. Along with running his own business at Red Oak Bushcraft he is also a Trainer for Woodland Survival Crafts. As a qualified canoe coach he is regularly in demand by several Outdoor Centres mainly in the Peak District.

Dave Watson

Founder of Woodland Survival Crafts in 1995 Dave has been instrumental in developing standards of Bushcraft within outdoor education in particular within the Institute for Outdoor Learning.

He spends most of his time training and mentoring other outdoor professionals, encouraging them to look deeper and ask open questions. You will be amazed at what you can discover.