Instinctively Wild
Building an animal shelter
Instinctively Wild about…

Health Wellbeing Education

Instinctively Wild is a leader in therapeutic and skill-building outdoor experiences for adults and young people. We have a proven track record in delivery ecotherapy and well-being projects for vulnerable groups, in partnership with health boards, schools and other clients.

Our team draw on their experience in teaching and psychology, and have delivered educational and therapeutic programmes to adults with dementia, mental health and addiction issues, as well as young people with behavioural issues.

At the heart of all our projects is the Forest School ethos of user-led learning and reflective practice.



Ecotherapy is an approach to improving mental and physical well-being through engagement with the natural world. Guiding people back to nature through hands-on outdoor activities can bring many benefits, including improved self-esteem, confidence and resilience, and a sense of reconnection.

Our bespoke ecotherapy programme is called Natural Connections. We have delivered five Natural Connections projects to NHS Borders since 2012, working with clients with mental health issues and dementia, as well as recovering drug and alcohol addicts. Currently, we are working with a dementia researcher at the University of Suffolk.

Another flagship project is Creative Breaks, a therapeutic wild camping
programme for adults with mental health challenges, run in partnership with the New Horizons user-led mental health charity. Participants had the chance to explore activities such as environmental art, bushcraft and storytelling over a respite weekend. Core themes are drawn from our Natural Connections programme and the John Muir approach of ‘head, hand, heart’.

‘I was able to be myself, be with nature… felt quite small and got my problems into perspective.”I can be me, be off the wall, no one judging/condemning me for being me.”I have never felt so at peace in my life. It was bliss.’

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Letter of Recommendation – NHS BORDERS – Ecotherapy – Dementia

Letter of Recommendation – NEW HORIZONS – Laura Lawson

Relationship BuildingDSC_0173

Instinctively Wild uses the Forest School ethos to support relationship building between children and their parents. Each session is geared to the group and run by experienced leaders in a safe, supported environment.

My Main Man is a project we’ve been running since 2010 for NHS Borders with children and their fathers in areas of multiple social deprivation. Children and fathers learn to connect and engage with each other in positive ways through activities such as bushcraft, shelter building, campfires, environmental art and bows and arrows.

Each session is geared to the group and run by experienced leaders in a safe, supported environment.

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Letter of Recommendation – NHS BORDERS – All Together & My Main Man – Nichola Sewell

Letter of Recommendation -Social Enterprise Academy


Forest Schools & John Muir Award

Forest School programmes can be highly effective for children who do not thrive in a traditional
school environment. Through activities such as making bird feeders, shelters and bug hotels, conservation work and team games, children can have fun while learning practical and interpersonal skills.

Instinctively Wild is a John Muir Award provider, and our Forest School projects are usually run in tandem with the John Muir Discovery Award.
Schools who have commissioned tailored Forest School projects from us include Trinity Primary and Kingsland Primary in the Scottish Borders.

Letter of Recommendation – Trinity Primary School, Hawick.

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 Burgh John Muir Press article

Nursery project

Nursery – Early Years Forest Schools projects

Instinctively Wild has been running early years Forest School based projects since we began in 2009. We use a woodland elf puppet and design themes to tie in school/nursery planning.

We have successfully completed two six week blocks, Spring (May/June) and Autumn (Sept/Oct) 2015, with children from Trinity Primary nursery – Hawick.  Each group of children had either three or four half day sessions. They built shelter for animals they found in the woodland, made larger shelter, used clay to make faces on trees and hunted for presents that the elf had left them – in the form of ‘wood cookies’.

Get in touch to discuss how we can help your group.

Environmental Education

Instinctively Wild has a history of running successful environmental education activities,

whether this be eco-schools workshops, climate change/energy education workshops and more general activities which support the curriculum. As Pete Carthy is an experienced Primary School teacher, he can design activities to suite the client group. Get in touch to discuss how we can help your group.

Get in touch to discuss how we can help your group.


CPD Training

Since 2010, we have run CPD training for teachers and other professionals at Scottish Borders
and East Lothian Councils, the Social Enterprise Academy, and other organisations.

We design training specifically for each group’s needs, ranging from personal skills such as team-building, leadership and resilience to practical skills in bushcraft, environmental education, and John Muir Award leadership.

Get in touch to discuss how we can help your group.


Now it’s your turn!

Contact us today to discuss how we can benefit your group or organisation.

Community Interest Company (CIC) Company Registration no. 514321 Registered in Scotland