Howick doubles up as Amazon jungle

It is more akin to pretty flowers and plants but Howick Hall’s gardens will become a jungle training ground this weekend.

A team of 14 Northumbrian explorers, aged between 17 and 48, will be wading through mud and water, improvising stretchers and shelters, learning how to use machetes and knives safely, and sleeping in hammocks on Saturday and Sunday.

Howick has no tarantulas, strangler figs, poisonous snakes or intense humidity, but it’s the closest the team can get to the real experience in preparation for their journeys to the Amazon basin and dense Trinidadian rainforest.

One of the key areas of training will be the use of hand-held GPS receivers. The team plans to use them to produce maps for local communities and enhance opportunities for eco-tourism. They will also produce learning resources for children.