Woodland Whittling

Engagement officer Faye Irvine with a whittling stick
Wild about Learning!



Learn this essential bushcraft skill for working with wood

This is a Call of the Wild session for secondary school age children aged 11 upwards and explains how to use bush craft skills to whittle green wood.

Video:  Watch the video first for an overview of how to do it, as demonstrated by Wildlife Engagement Officer Faye, Then check out the detailed instructions below. Supervision is essential for this activity. Be safe!

This video was produced as part of the 'Princethorpe Woodlands Living Landscape – Linking Our Woodlands' project and was funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund and National Lottery players.


What you’ll need

  • Gloves
  • Loppers
  • Knife
  • 10cm lengths of green wood that are around 3–5 cm thick, wood like hazel works best.


Cut 10cm long lengths of green wood: this is fresh wood, recently cut, which has not had time to dry. Aim for wood which is approximately 3–5cm thick. Do this using your loppers, making sure you keep your fingers away from the cutting edge, with both hands on the lopper handles. 


When using your knife remember to wear a glove on the hand not holding the knife. Make sure you can reach your arm out to its full length with the knife and not touch anyone.  NEVER hold the wood in your lap as the knife will be too close to your thighs and body. Always whittle away from your body: hold your wood and knife to the side and use a push stroke so you are cutting away from yourself and away from the hand holding the wood.

When you have practised whittling safely, try making a stick for toasting a marshmallow, or a tent peg as demonstrated in the video, or have a go at our Create a Kazoo session.

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