Woodland Journeys is the work of Jenny Archard and collaborators.
Jenny Archard is a group facilitator, forest school leader, trainer, wilderness guide and outdoors woman. She lives in a small village in East Devon, UK, between the sea and the Blackdown Hills. Collaboration, communities of practice and co-creating are core to her way in the world. In 2019 her focus is on practice, gratitude and simplicity.
Having studied Psychology, then becoming a breathwork and relaxation therapist in her early twenties, she went on to work in community development, co-operative development and rural enterprise support. Travel and volunteering abroad gave her wider perspectives on community and nature; visiting credit unions in Fiji; volunteering on permaculture projects in Australia; helping research green turtles in Malaysia; co-leading facilitation training in Ghana.
She has studied and practiced group facilitation since the 1990s, studied group facilitation methods with ICA:UK , group-work practice with Relate, leading Action Learning Sets with Millennium School for Social Entrepreneurs, and more recently the Way of Council trainings with Pip Bondy and others. In the 1980s she learned structural consulting and 'Art of Living' with Robert and Rosalind Fritz , and still uses this approach to creating her own life. In 2005 she became a qualified Forest School practitioner and the focus turned toward supporting people's wellbeing through connecting with nature and the 'wild' of our inner and outer landscapes. She chaired the Forest school Association South West group, and still helps with regional gatherings and bigger events for practitioners.
Jenny has been part of a group working with one lineage of Native American Medicine teachings from 2007-2018. That work is now rooted in these lands, where she spends so much of her time in the woods or walking the hills, moors and cliffs. In 2010 she initiated work that led to the setting up of Neroche Woodlanders, a social enterprise in 100 acres of public forest estate in the Blackdown Hills AONB. Much of her work takes place there. I she co-leads this with her partner Gavin Saunders, and supported by fellow directors, staff and many wonderful volunteers.
Answering a long held call, in 2017, she trained with the School of Lost Borders in California in the USA on their 'month-long training' to be Wilderness Guide.
She also makes time to get out on, in or next to the sea. Her passion is for lives well-lived, rich in every dimension, that are respectful of our Earth, our communities and our place within nature.
The Peace of Wild Things
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
Jane spent most of her childhood wandering the countryside alone or on horseback getting to know the lie of the land,horseback getting to know the lie of the land, much of which has now been swallowed up and is under the houses and roads of Milton Keynes. In early adulthood when riding in a forest at dusk she had a mystical moment where everything became one and she has been searching for ways to find this place within nature and herself ever since. Pilgrimage and ritual/ceremony are a huge part of this search as both provide her with a safe container for a deep listening to occur, which may often lead to a change in perspective. A story, or quest, may emerge and following this thread she nowfinds that a previous lonesome task now involves other people and sometimes some far away places. Pilgrimages along rivers, or across them, are a particular passion as they can take us into another world and hold so much hidden wisdom from our ancestors who would have used them as we now use motorways and train stations to navigate and travel the land.
She now lives on the Somerset Devon Border and when not wandering the land and rivers, teaches art and so helps others to see things from another perspective. Jane has trained with the Sacred Trust and with Meredith Little of the Land of Lost Borders. She learned Eco Shamanism from Mandy Pullen and was introduced to the Way of Council, which she practises regularly, by Pippa Bondy. The Zoence Academy gave her a grounding in how to work with the energies of place and space within buildings and landscapes and she is frequently asked to work with those who have land that needs help.
Sarah Churchill, has completed her own Vision Fast and is a Way of Council practitioner, she runs the Glow Collective in Bridport, where she teaches Pilates and offers bespoke 1-2-1 Wellness and Lifestyle Packages. She has practiced Yoga for thirty years, and is nearly a black belt in Kickboxing, she tempers this with regular Qigong sessions, barefoot boogie’s, and sea swims, for an holistic approach to using her body.
She is a qualified Forest School Teacher, and likes to use the word ‘Nature Connector’ instead. She has experience of working with young families as well as home educated and school children outside, and as a 1-2-1 Mentor for Teenagers. She has worked at Trill Farm running family camps with Chris Holland and has held an overnight camp for teenage girls, so moving to working with adults in nature seemed like a natural transition.
Over the years she has studied with many herbalist teachers, and grows her own food on land in West Dorset. She makes tinctures and lotions and potions from the herbs she grows there. She has a Foundation in Yoga from the British Wheel of Yoga, and is working towards a Level 3 in Counselling Skills.
In the last year alone she has taken part in workshops and offerings held by Isla Macleod, experiencing deep healing ceremonial work, as well as Eliza Kenyon’s practices in movement meditation and song and Rina Golan’s teachings of Ayurvedic Medicine and nutrition, gaining knowledge and inspiration that is gently placed inside her tool kit.
“I met dear Jenny at a Forest School Conference in 2018, she was holding a workshop about Rites of Passage, a subject I was keen to explore, I knew straight away I wanted to work with her.
I started attending workshops at Young Wood and I was soon training to be a Way of Council Facilitator (I now co-run a monthly Council at Glow) and in 2020 Jenny guided my first Vision Fast and invited me to support her the following year, taking others out on their own Vision Fast journey. It was an honour and to support those that took part and to hear their stories.
I bring with me my knowledge and love of plant medicine, growing, journeying, dance, meditation, movement, song and seasonal celebrations. I offer my experience of cooking on the fire, nature connection practices, self generated ceremony, and my deep joy and love of stepping outside and into communication with all those beings who work for thriving life, and into communion with my non human family. "