“If you can’t be bothered walking to us, we don’t want you here,” says Adam Taylor, only half-joking. Suffice to say, most hospitality bosses wouldn’t agree, but he isn’t most hospitality bosses.
Instead, he’s Into the Wild’s founder, manager, and venue owner. Situated just south of Hale village centre, the operation is as unique as they come. Hidden away in Cheshire woodland, the man in charge describes his brainchild as a “community hub for people to congregate and enjoy being outside”. Having sent our own Matt White to investigate, we can’t really think of a better way to describe it.
Arriving on foot — you can’t drive here, and instead are given a choice of walking routes, varying in length and ability level — it’s immediately clear how much work has gone into creating this green oasis. Huts serve craft beers, fresh coffee and wood fired pizza, the latter made from 100 year old sourdough and locally foraged ingredients, while a large seating area beneath generous marquee takes centre stage.
Here visiting talent perform concerts under cover of foliage and stars, making for one of the most dramatic and unique venues in the region. On other nights, the space is used for classic film screenings. But this is really just the side show. Frustrated by “seeing kids on their phones all the time, not engaging at all,” Taylor began offering bushcraft courses and birthday parties for young people years ago. Covid-19 temporarily halted that, putting the business on a cliff edge, then he bought a gelato bike and started selling ice creams in the forest during lockdown, and quickly saw how much people relished the au natural location.
Slowly, Into the Wild came to fruition, but the focus remains on helping people learn survival skills and gain a greater understanding of what nature can offer, and how we can live better with our environment. Today the business is thriving, and not just because of all the hot weather. In addition to evening-long Experiences, which range from live bands to open air movies, bites included in the overall price, the operation also regularly runs weekend-long training sessions for over-16s and a Survival School for children, inspiring the next generation of Bear Grylls. Keen to know more? Our latest Hidden Gems video more than lives up to the series name, revealing a little more about what goes in this enchanted woodland.