Woodland Tribe is the kind of activity every child should have access too wherever they live or play. It integrates important philosophies that can enhance a child's physical, spiritual and social understanding and development. They learn crucial life skills such as: risk taking, independent thinking, and using creativity to overcome challenges. Most importantly it connects a child with the wonderful uncertainty of nature, giving them a break from our increasingly digital, sterile, risk free and virtual lives. Tom and his team are an essential addition to any child centred or family event!
Sidharth Sharma Shambala Creative Director
A pound deposit for your tools and the sky¹s the limit in Woodland Tribe's giant building world at Camp Bestival 2015. Practical play for all ages with spectacular results, an absolute pleasure to watch the adventure playground evolve over the weekend.
Kirsty Henderson - Arts Producer, Camp Bestival.
Tom and his Woodland Tribe truly are the wonderful wizards of play and an integral part of the Starry Skies philosophy. The concoction of boundless imagination, expert knowledge and practical hands on skill, makes for an incredible wild woodland experience. Children and adults alike can design, build, create and revel in the joy of nature - learning together in the great outdoors.
Leah Dermody - Event Coordinator Starry Skies
I've been working with Tom Williams in the 'play' world for over 15 years on adventure playgrounds and putting on large scale play events like Bristol's Play Day, and Bristol Harbour Festival, and now working with his new team with Woodland Tribe. I've always been impressed with Tom's passion and dedication to children’s play, and especially to adventure play. He's a pleasure to work with, focussed, reliable, with an attention to detail, and always wanting to make the most of opportunities and peoples potential. He brings a sense of fun and adventure to his working practice, which is inspiring and motivating for others. One of his best strengths is heading up projects and leading a team, which really shows his ability to manage people and logistics, while creating and building a bigger picture. I'd thoroughly recommend him for any projects, from a hands on community play project, right through to academic research and strategic leadership. His depth of experience, level of knowledge and understanding, and sheer passion for play put him in a select group of experts in the field.
Gary Thomas - Filmmaker and Educator
Woodland Tribe is a collective of creatives and animateurs and is the idea of Tom Williams.
Tom Williams was born in London in 1966 where he played on a South London adventure playground (APG) staffed by art students, before moving to mid-Wales in 1972 for a free range hippy childhood. After art college and political demonstrations he worked on APGs in Cardiff before becoming a LAPA trainee and working on APGs in London for 10 years. In 2000 he moved to Bristol where as Play Officer he developed Council Play Policies, managed 5 APGs and started many successful play development projects including: Scrapstores PlayPods in Primary Schools and Playing Out street closures.
Now a freelance play consultant, Tom chairs the Bristol Play Network and promotes a European model of adventure play, like the adventure playground in Berlin (below) with an emphasis on children’s construction, to new audiences at large family festivals including Shambala, Camp Bestival and Starry Skies.
Tom has played on, worked on and managed many adventure playgrounds for 40 years. He has recently completed an MA studying adventure playground’s in Copenhagen, Berlin and across the UK. He understands their ethos, how they work well, how they should be staffed, H&S and risk\benefit and most importantly the common pitfalls that should be avoided.Woodland Tribe is a unique environment in a world where children's access to nature and freedom to play is increasingly denied or controlled. To set up and run an area like Woodland Tribe, to create a buzzy free play construction environment without children getting hurt or upset, takes an immense amount of planning, skill, knowledge and experience.