Woodland Warriors Credit @HVBushcraft Twitter.jpg

Woodland Warriors was set up in 2016 by a former Royal Marine (Picture: @HVBushcraft/Twitter).

UK

Ex-Royal Marine Sets Up Woodland Retreat For Sufferers Of PTSD

The programme recently gained financial backing from the Endeavour Fund.

Woodland Warriors Credit @HVBushcraft Twitter.jpg

Woodland Warriors was set up in 2016 by a former Royal Marine (Picture: @HVBushcraft/Twitter).

A former Royal Marine is using his woodland getaway to help soldiers and police recover from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Nick Goldsmith, 33, runs Woodland Warriors in Pensford, Somerset, teaching men and women skills like building shelters and carving tent pegs while helping them deal with grief and adjusting to civilian life.

Mr Goldsmith developed PTSD in 2014, after completing four tours in Afghanistan.

He said spending time in the wild, building fires and working the land, was the "only thing" that kept him going.

The father-of-one, who served in the military for 11 years, said: "The longer I spend in this environment, working in this way, the more truly human I feel again.

"As far as I knew, I was going to be a Royal Marine for another 12 years at least and that suddenly came to a full stop."

Mr Goldsmith and his wife, Louise, launched the programme in 2016 on land they had bought four years previously, and it currently runs three or four times a year.

It recently gained financial backing from the Endeavour Fund, a charity supported by the Duke of Sussex, meaning there are now places for 72 people next year.

Former armed police officer Helen Barnett, 53, will be taking part in the courses after she noticed signs of PTSD after experiencing a number of incidents.

"I was caught up in an incident where four of us were stabbed by the same guy.

"I was stabbed in the stomach, which sent me flying backwards, my white shirt literally turned red," she said.

"Up until that point, I felt I was pretty indestructible really.

"I think being outdoors is the key to my coping with everything."