Westfield Farm, Lee Lane, Oxenhope, Near Keighley, West Yorkshire, BD22 9RB

Tel: 07816 495453

thornwoodoutdoors@gmail.com          thornwoodalpacatrekking@gmail.com

© Experience Thornwood 2018. All rights reserved


The History of Thornwood

Hello! I am Lucy Thornton, owner of Thornwood Outdoors (established 2015) and Thornwood Alpacas (established 2016), located in the stunning Bronte countryside near Haworth, West Yorkshire. It may be helpful to introduce myself and my amazing team so here goes...

My first (and only 'proper'!) job was teaching Animal Behaviour, Ecology and Conservation to young adults at two Further Education colleges in the UK.  I delivered sessions from entry level up to Foundation Degree so I have experience working with a wide spectrum of learners. I have always worked with animals and been passionate about education, so it seemed logical to combine the two: buy alpacas, utilise the woodland at my smallholding, and provide opportunities for people to experience everything Thornwood has to offer.


One of the questions I am asked a lot is: "How did you get into alpacas?"

The answer, in truth, is that I really have no idea! But after lots of research and visits to alpaca breeders, I bought my first four boys, and very quickly saw how much they help people in a therapeutic way. Their calming nature still amazes me every day!


I have a strong passion for nature and the outdoors, and after a short time I began to incorporate woodland skills and bushcraft into the mix, providing opportunities to learn fire lighting skills, shelter building, outdoor cooking and wilderness survival. These workshops - and my experience as a Forest School Practitioner - further cemented for me the importance of allowing everyone the opportunity to learn at their own pace, without targets, and with plenty of choice. This is how I like to work, after all!


I am lucky to have some incredibly skilled and passionate session leaders, who love to share their knowledge. As a team, we can incorporate heritage skills such as dry stone walling, spoon carving, pewter casting and fleece spinning into our sessions so visitors have a truly holistic experience! We now have various courses, workshops and programmes running throughout the year, as well as being an accredited AQA Unit Award Scheme and John Muir Award provider. 


The journey of Thornwood is really only just beginning!

About Me

Prior to landing that all important 'proper job', I spent a lot of time travelling, gaining work experience and ​volunteering for various charities and academic institutions in a bid to find my true calling. I shadowed PhD students and learnt about ecological surveys, I worked at a gibbon rehabilitation centre in Thailand, I taught English to Spanish children and I observed Animal Behaviour and wrote about it.


I basically made every attempt to avoid settling down! However, my skills and experiences are the building blocks of Thornwood.


I have worked with and been around animals all of my life and I am passionate about the effect they have on humans; it is incredibly powerful to observe the way in which an alpaca can bring out the emotions within us and help us to respect their nature and behaviour.


Whilst I was having a lovely time jetting off around the world, I picked up a few handy qualifications too:

  • BSc (Hons) Animal Behaviour Science

  • Level 5 Diploma in Teaching in the Lifelong Learning Sector (QTLS)

  • PgCert. Biodiversity, Wildlife and Ecosystem Health

  • Level 3 Forest School Practitioner

  • Level 2 Mental Health Awareness

  • Trained in the handling techniques of Camelid Dynamics 

  • External Examiner for Kingston University on their Animal Science degree

  • Animal First Aid 

  • Outdoor First Aid

  • Enhanced DBS Certified

Session Leaders

Lucy Thornton

Owner & Director and

Outdoor Learning Practitioner

I am passionate about delivering a high standard of service to all our visitors. As a qualified teacher, I love facilitating my sessions. I can usually be found in the woods, hanging out with the alpacas or training my three border collies.

Stephen Feather

Bushcraft & Heritage Skills Instructor &

Director of Thornwood C.I.C

Stephen has an affinity for the outdoors and has an interest in survival skills and bushcraft. He is a natural craftsman and is keen to share his heritage skills and woodland skills with our groups. 

Lizzie Lee

Forest School Practitioner &

Director of Thornwood C.I.C

Lizzie is a true naturalist. She is also a fabulous artist and keen photographer and loves being outside. Lizzie delivers sessions on an ad-hoc basis so you may find her taking photos, lighting a fire or delivering a pewter casting workshop.

Joe Drury

Forest School & Outdoor Learning Practitioner

Joe is training for his Level 3 Forest School qualification and delivers one of our Home Ed. sessions each week. Joe is passionate about nature, music and outdoor cooking, and he brings wealth of experience and skills to all his sessions.

Sally Osborne

Assistant Forest School & Animal Care Instructor

Sally has a wealth of experience in Animal Care & Management and with a BSc Zoology, she is the perfect Animal Care Instructor. Sally brings with her a calming attitude and her laid back personality is in keeping with our ethos!

Dr. Becky Hull

Clinical Psychologist &

Director of Thornwood C.I.C

Becky specialises in adult autism and complex mental health and currently works for a charity in Lancashire. Becky plans to utilise our woodland to deliver mindfulness sessions as well as facilitating woodland well-being programmes for hard to reach groups.