The Wild Circle is a series of retreats set in the beautiful surrounds of a 37 acre small holding on Bodmin Moor, offering guests a stay in beautiful Yurts set in mixed deciduous woodland above the River Camel.
The retreat programme is wide and varied, from spoon carving and bowl carving, to coracle making, nature connection and foraging workshops
We have been running woodcraft workshops there since 2020 and I thought it high time to share a little more about this magical spot and the ethos which makes the Wild Circle so special.
The bowl carving and spoon carving workshops are much more than 'how to' workshops, we begin the weekend with a walk down into the woods where Tim Hutton, who has stewarded the land for more than 25 years, introduces us to the stories of the woods, the individual trees species, their place in the landscape, and his experiences as an advocate for biodiversity and regenerative land management
Tim shares with passion and eloquence the ethos of the Wild Circle, which . which is in essence the understanding that humans were once a part of the circle of life, inherently bound to nature's ways and cycles living for millennia in relative harmony with our natural world.
Since the agricultural, industrial and tech revolutions humans have placed ourselves in the centre of the circle of life, taking more than giving back to the natural world and causing mass extinctions on an unprecedented scale. The Wild Circle's assertion is that this is no longer a sustainable nor desirable future for human kind and finding our place again in the circle of life is imperative both for our own wellbeing and that of all life on earth.
There are many ways to restore nature's equilibrium and thankfully many of them already exist and furthermore are deeply satisfying and engaging! From circular living to regenerative land management, permaculture, organic farming, to working with hand tools and participating in our natural resources, all these feed a broader vision of a more beautiful, biodiverse and rich planet for us all.
And so at the very site the tree grew, in keeping with the Wild Circle ethos, our making journey begins from tree to spoon! We take a 3 foot cross cut saw (which always gets us limbered up!) and harvest the tree into logs which we will then spend the weekend carving. This ritual marks the transition from the wild to the domestic and offers us the chance to participate in the entire journey from log to finished product
The weekend is all about slowing down and engaging our heart and hands in the way of making something beautiful, working with the raw materials which grew in the woodlands surrounding us and engaging in the deeply satisfying craft of working wood with hand tools. The sessions follow a practical progression teaching you everything you need to know about safe and effective tool use, from axes to gouges and carving knives to tool sharpening and maintenance, spoon and bowl design and much more.
The workshops are aimed at beginners to intermediate and even advanced green wood workers all of whom benefit from the in depth learning content on offer. Personally it is a joy to see people using hand tools from the first time and witness the joy a finished spoon or bowl can bring - the sense of accomplishment and satisfaction from carving your own practical and beautiful object is truly unrivalled!
The craft sessions are punctuated by nourishing warm meals cooked and eaten in the communal yurt, the shared meals offering us the chance to spend quality time with the lovely folk who come and create a vibrant and connected community.
I hope this article gives a sense of the beauty of the Wild Circle, the depth of the weekend and a sense of the serenity and peace spending a weekend this way can offer us all
Photos taken at The Wild Circle Spoon Carving Retreat © Alex Finberg
For more info about upcoming retreats visit:
The Wild Circle