At the beginning of this year, I put out a blog asking for women in the Love Her Wild community to join me on a unique expedition called ‘The Woods’. A team of 10 women who did not know each other would spend 5 days in the woods surviving with just basic gear. We would need to build our own shelters, forage for food and water and start a fire from scratch.

 

This is not going to be easy!

This expedition is about proving that adventures really can be accessible to women of all shapes and sizes. Most adventures have a tendency to focus on physical endurance – traveling far, high or fast. The Woods is going to be a huge challenge but in a very different way. We will be out in the elements 24.7 at times likely cold, wet and tired, sleeping without the comfort of roll mats and a convenient shelter. We will be hungry and tested mentally and physically and will need to work out how we are going to survive and organise ourselves despite never having met before.

Check out the ‘Rules’ for the Woods Expedition here.

We leave on the 4th May!

 

The final team

Over 140 women applied. The final team was selected by a group of volunteers and represent women from all walks of life ranging in ages 21 – 67!

Who are the women about to take on this challenge?

 

Elizabeth Bentley, 67, London

I am a (mostly) retired school librarian with 3 grown-up daughters and a very elderly mother (99), plus a very supportive husband!  Life seems on hold at the moment, and the expedition will be an opportunity to break out, just for a few days. I’ve always loved being among trees – something almost religious about my feelings – so sleeping out among them will be a really special experience.

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Stacey Lui, 21, Manchester

I’m a final-year undergrad with a love of world literature and the outdoors. I really enjoy travelling and hiking solo and hope that learning some survival skills will give me that extra bit of confidence to go on more remote adventures. I’m looking forward to roughing it with the rest of the team!

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Charlene Coulbeck, 29, East Yorkshire

I’m Charley, aged 29, a trainee financial adviser from Beverley in East Yorkshire, and would say I am a very positive outgoing character. I’m seeking a real challenge to bring my life back into balance and give me something to focus on alongside my big career ambitions. Having always been fascinated with bushcraft and wilderness survival, I will have a chance to truly achieve some lifetime goals, make some unforgettable memories, whilst meeting like-minded strong women!

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Rupinder Kular, 37, Birmingham

I’m 37, mum to 3 daughters. living in Birmingham and working part-time as a Sales Assistant for a High Street store. I enjoy cycling, walks, reading, going to the gym….and also my home comforts! Which leads me to the reason I’m wanting to do this expedition. My daughters are getting older which has got me thinking about when they all leave and I will no longer have a purpose. I want to challenge myself with this great opportunity I’ve been given!

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Fran Pearson, 42, Shropshire

I am an XL lady and I’m keen to represent the plus size community & to let the bigger ladies know that weight is not necessarily a barrier to taking on & overcoming adventures!! I applied for the woods expedition because I needed to find a challenge that would test me physically, emotionally & mentally. I can’t wait to go & be part of this amazing team.

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Bec Cork, 38, Bristol

I am a self-employed woodlander with a passion for sharing the wellbeing and health benefits of woodlands. I work with children and adults teaching nature connection, forest school, forestry and bushcraft but I have yet to put my skills to the test by surviving in the woods for so long – and is going to be a challenge! I am excited to share this expedition with so many inspiring women and I know that I am going to learn about myself, survival and teamwork. What an experience!

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Katie Kedward, 26, Bedford

Hello everyone! I am an avid runner, writer and lover of the great outdoors. I am fascinated by the challenge of survival, living off the land and without the everyday comforts we have all become used to – I think this expedition will certainly open my eyes to the realities of this! I’m really looking forward to bonding with the team to solve the survival challenge in the woods together. As a keen writer and blogger, I hope that I can help to craft and share our important message: that ordinary women everywhere can get outdoors and create their own challenge!

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Jo Meeke-Gurney, 40, West-Sussex

I’m 39 from Chichester, West Sussex. I’m embarking upon the expedition following the death of my newborn son in March 2017. Losing a baby is the most isolating of experiences for many reasons; I have found that since Puck’s death I have totally lost my self-confidence and raison d’être. I’m hoping that ‘The Woods’ will help me reconnect with both myself and other strong women, and to find some hope and inspiration in nature for moving forward.

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Emma Lawton, 32, London

I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s at the age of 29 and have made it my mission to raise awareness about the condition. I work as a Device and Apps Strategist at the Parkinson’s UK Charity am fascinated by technology and the vital role it can play in enhancing the lives of those living with health conditions. The Woods Expedition is going to be a real challenge for me in many ways but I’m really looking forward to it!

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Bex Band, 29, London

Since making the move to adventure blogger and setting up Love Her Wild, I have been blessed with many adventures – but The Woods is like nothing I have done before!! I think I’m really going to struggle with the disrupted sleep and lack of food. But I’m excited to be exploring the UK in this way and, more than anything else, being able to join a team of incredible and varied women. I can’t wait to meet them all!

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The team will be sending updates from the woods during the expedition. You can follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

In early 2016 Bex Band quit her teaching job to set out on her first big adventure, hiking 1000km the length of Israel. Adventure is now her life and work! As well as running Love Her Wild, she also offers advice and inspiration through her blog, the Ordinary Adventurer.