Natural Navigation

Natural navigation is the rare art of finding your way using nature, including the sun, moon, stars, weather, land, sea, plants and animals. It is possible to navigate naturally on land, sea or even in the air.

Tristan Gooley’s approach to the subject is unique in that he does not view it as a survival skill, but as a means to enrich journeys and connect with the world around us. Fortunately very few of us are likely to ever find ourselves in a survival situation, but we all spend some time outdoors. This time can become fascinating if we take our eyes off the GPS, map and compass for a few moments and ask the simple question, ‘Which way am I looking?’

Tristan Gooley has written two books covering natural navigation:

The Natural Navigator

The Walker's Guide to Outdoor Clues & Signs

Formal training in natural navigation is very rare and students of this art are guaranteed to learn things that almost nobody else they come across will know. The courses that Tristan runs and his books on the subject are therefore ideal for those who want to learn a unique skill, whether they are undertaking a journey or staying closer to home.

Explore the Wonderful World of Natural Navigation

Please Vote!

The Walker's Guide to Outdoor Clues & Signs has been shortlisted for a BBC Countryfile Magazine award. Which is nice. I'd be very grateful if you could vote, it takes a minute. (You'll be asked about other categories as well, but they are drop-down lists,…

Outdoor Clues Photos

A huge thanks to Neil Mapes for sending in these lovely winter photos of outdoor clues, inspired by The Walker's Guide to Outdoor Clues & Signs. I particularly like the heiligenshein (middle right).


Magnetospirillum is a bacterium found in shallow fresh water. It finds its way onto this website because it is a peculiarly successful natural navigator. These humble bacteria have an ability called, 'magnetotaxis', which means they can align themselves with reference to the Earth's magnetic field.…


When developing an understanding of nature, one of the most exciting moments comes when the pieces start to join up. Take the scene in the photo above. Blue sky, birds, low sun somewhere... The blue sky... is caused by the high pressure weather system... the…

National Maritime Operations Centre (NMOC), Fareham

I'm just back from a visit to the fresh National Maritime Operations Centre in Fareham. This is the new national headquarters of HM Coastguard and will soon be the nerve centre of that august institution - as it approaches its third century of existence. It…

Men and Women Navigation Differences

Controversy Alert! I've written in the past about differences in male and female navigational ability, but there is a new and inflammable study out. Tribes in Namibia were interviewed about their travels and tested on their navigational and spatial awareness. As a result, researchers from…