Richard and Alison have been married for 16 years.
They run Wildside Experience as a Christian business from their home.
They have a great team of staff around them… please read on!
Richard, who is married to Alison, graduated from Bath University in 1992 with a BSc in Biology and a PGCE. He then taught for 3 years in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea, where he spent most of his spare time in the rainforest. He assisted the BBC with their filming of Attenborough in Paradise, and is mentioned by Sir David Attenborough in his autobiography, “Life on air”.
Richard has learned bushcraft skills from tribal groups in Papua New Guinea. He has also been taught by Ray Mears and John Rhyder, and he is a qualified Advanced Bushcraft Practitioner (NCFE Level 3). He taught Science for 11 years at Uffculme School.
Richard's favourite thing about Wildside is seeing the awe and wonder in people's faces when they have a "wow moment" in nature.
Alison grew up in the Blackdown Hills with a naturalist father. She spent a lot of time outdoors riding, walking and foraging for wild food. She became familiar with the natural history of this area from an early age, and developed a love of nature.
Alison ran a playgroup in Ireland for 5 years. Since then she has worked at Broadhembury Primary School and Uffculme School, where she met Richard. She is a qualified Forest School Leader (OCN Level 3).
Alison loves cooking, and she makes sure that the food served at Wildside is of a very high standard! She likes to encourage people to try new tastes - such as her homemade pesto as a vegetarian alternative to her delicious bolognaise! She bakes fresh bread for breakfast.
Alison's favourite thing about Wildside is hearing the sounds of happy children playing in the meadow.
Bob (“Mr Zipwire”!)
A retired pharmacist, Bob has been a key member of the Wildside team since 2015, when he first came out as a volunteer on a scrub-bashing day.
Happy to volunteer now on a regular basis, Bob jokes that his pay is “an egg an hour”!
He does much of the groundwork over the winter - clearing scrub, renewing fencing, sawing wood and feeding lots of bonfires! He also helps out with groups in the summer.
He is very popular with the children, who especially love it when he pushes them high on the rope swing and supervises them on the zipwire!
Bob loves keeping fit and getting exercise out in the fresh air. He especially loves helping children to overcome their fears on the zipwire.
Now a student at Leicester University, Tom has been helping at Wildside for 5 years.
Tom first came as a Year 8 pupil with Uffculme School, and he then volunteered here for his Bronze DofE. We now employ him whenever he is available in his University holidays.
Tom loves the outdoor life, especially hiking. He has completed the Ten Tors 35, 45 and 55 mile challenges on Dartmoor (the latter twice), and his Gold DoE award.
Tom is great as an activity leader, and a huge help all-round at Wildside. He is particularly good at seeing jobs that need doing, and then doing them!
His favourite thing about Wildside, other than being outdoors in such a great place, is seeing the groups trying new things that they enjoy, and seeing them conquer their apprehensions - especially in the orienteering.
A former occupational therapist, Suzie has also worked as a teaching assistant and a public school matron. Her main role at Wildside is to assist Alison with food preparation, serving and hospitality.
Suzie has a passion for healthy, home cooked food, and her delicious homemade shortbread has become part of the “welcome” for groups.
Suzie likes to encourage children to broaden their horizons with food, by trying some of the homecooked variety as well as the basics.
Her favourite thing about Wildside is seeing the delight on children’s faces when they share about their experiences in the woods, or when they discover how good the homemade pesto tastes!
A former early years teacher and SENCO, Annabel has had many years of experience with managing children and recognising their individual needs.
She has always loved the outdoors, and she is very knowledgable about the natural world. She is always keen to help children to identify the trees, plants and other wildlife at Wildside.
Annabel comes in to lead activities with children, especially with rotations that involve smaller groups. Her husband Keith also assists at Wildside with maintenance and construction.
Annabel loves watching the children respond to the new experiences at Wildside. She always laughs when - as so often happens - she ends up pulling them out from the gooey mud where they’ve got stuck!
Adrian has been involved with Wildside for 8 years, ever since he started as a Bronze DofE volunteer. He loves nature and outdoor activities.
Now a Geology graduate from Oxford University, Adrian is taking a year out before starting an MSc or some other course-related work. During this time he will be practising some DIY on the family home, as well as joining our core staff team.
His favourite thing about Wildside is…