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.
He initially came as a pupil on a Year 8 camp with Uffculme School. He then started volunteering for his Bronze DofE, and 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. His family own Hollies Trout Farm.
Tom is a huge help all-round at Wildside. He is particularly good at seeing what needs to be done, and doing it!
Tom is also great as an activity leader. He runs everywhere, and children love the challenge of trying to catch him in the “deer and wolves” game!
His favourite thing about Wildside is…