Previous apprentices busy in the woods.

Discovering New Horizons- a Partnership Project with Furness College (2021 - now)

A pilot project with Furness College and UCLAN, aiming to introduce young people to Rusland's woodlands.

The six students partaking in this pilot project had the opportunity to learn bushcraft skills alongside the excellent Gareth and Ro Thomas (Woodmatters) as well as experiencing the excitement of a charcoal burn with Darryl Kelbrick of the Natural Charcoal Company. Through the creative experiences of greenwood carving, learning basic foraging and tracking and through meeting together round the fire, the students learnt about Rusland's ancient yet vulnerable woodlands. They learned about coppicing and its place in sustainable woodland management, about the challenges and threats faced through overgrazing by deer, competition from invasive species and climate change. Students then applied their newfound skills and confidence in the woodlands to make use of a tool developed by Plantlife known as Rapid Woodland Assessment process. By partaking in this venture, students learnt about a range of professions they may not have previously been aware of, broadened their own CV and hopefully began a lifetime of appreciation for places like Rusland’s horizons.

In addition, this venture is being used as a research case study by the University of Central Lancashire. Researchers there are using the creative and collaborative process of film making with the young people as they experience the woods, to help empower and enable often not-heard young people's views on landscape and how best to care for it.
After the success or this pilot project - see the results on the video on our landing page -  we hope that this project will lead onto further collaboration with larger groups of students and for longer in the future. 

So far so good...

  • Students from Furness College have been recruited to the project.
  • A set of activities have been devised in partnership with Furness College, University of Central Lancashire and Gareth and Ro Thomas. 
  • Funding has been awarded by the Lake District Foundation to support the aims of this project. 

Did you know?

  • Young people are increasingly disconnnected from nature and the natural world. 
  • Time spent in woodlands is well documented to benefit physical and mental wellbeing. 
  • Rusland Horizons previously supported 10 young people from a variety of backgrounds in apprenticeships which led to rural employment in the region.  See our Valley Futures project which ran from 2016 - 2019. 


The Challenge

  • Young people without the opportunity to experience rural landscapes can find it tricky to find out about rural careers and employment, as well as not developing an understanding of the vulnerabilities of an area such as the Rusland Valley.  This project aims to redress that situation, albeit in a small-scale way. 

Our Approach

The objectives of the venture are
• to offer students who might not otherwise do so, the chance to expand their horizons/see different perspectives and interact with the natural world.
• To give students the enabling to value the benefits to wellbeing of being in a natural landscape, and to give them confidence and skills to return independently.
• to enable students to see the vulnerabilities of landscapes such as the Rusland area, so they will be passionate and feel empowered about looking after these places.
• To demonstrate that there are jobs and careers beyond those that might immedialtey come to mind- that it is possible to earn a living in the countryside.

If this small-scale pilot project is successful, it is hoped that it will provide a model for further opportunities with young people from Furness College in the future. 

© Rusland Horizons 2017 - 2024. All rights reserved.
Rusland Horizons was a Landscape Partnership funded by the National Heritage Lottery Fund until July 2019. It is now being delivered by The Rusland Horizons Trust Limited. Company No. 2133450; Charity No. 519410; Registered Office: Bleacott Farm, Witherslack, Grange-over-Sands, Cumbria LA11 6RZ.