Ed Stafford Fire Lighting Expedition to the Forest of Dean

Run in conjunction with the mighty Ed Stafford and the fabulous Forest Holidays, our #igniteadventure competition prompted a flurry of truly uplifting photographs taken of children between the ages of 8 and 18 years on outdoor adventures - ranging from kayaking, hill-climbing and rope-bridge wobbling to skull-discovering and fossil-uncovering.

Winners chosen (not an easy job), we met at Forest Holidays in the Forest of Dean - the perfect location for a day of adventure and outdoor bushcraft. For those slightly starstruck at meeting their hero, a pre-session chat with Ed put them at ease - and taught them some of the all important theory behind the practise of fire lighting, as well as a few of Ed’s own experiences.

Then, off we all walked following Ed and the Forest Holidays rangers, over a damp carpet of fallen leaves and down a slippery bank deep into the forest. The children amazed us with their exceptional enthusiasm, curiosity, knowledge and tenacity throughout the day. Fires were lit using a fire steel, using tinder and wood collected from the forest - it later turned out that this was a far easier method than a bow drill or hand drill, though that didn’t stop our winners giving it their best shot (ignoring the palm blisters and sore arms)!

We waved goodbye at the end of the day to a tribe of exhilarated, buzzing children - wearing signed Ed Stafford caps and taking with them a new skill, the motivation to continue perfecting it, and a self-confidence boost that was palpable.

We are forever grateful to the staff and rangers at Forest Holidays for so generously hosting this event and for the ever-brilliant Ed Stafford for being everyone’s hero that day.