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 three books covering natural navigation:

The Natural Navigator

The Walker's Guide to Outdoor Clues & Signs

How to Read Water

Steps in Learning Natural Navigation:

1. Have a browse of this website, explore navigating using the sun, moon, stars, water, plants and animals.

2. The website contains lots of good stuff, but if I come across something really good I don't always put it up here. I hold it back for my email newsletter or books. You can sign up to the free newsletter at the bottom of the page and unsubscribe instantly at any time.

3. If you're serious about learning how to navigate using nature then I'd recommend reading one of my books or coming to a talk or on a course.

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

Trentepohlia, Moisture and Signs Pointing North

Here is a nice example of trentepohlia on the north side of a tree. This algae can be one of the best indicators of north if you know how to use it. Like all moisture indicators, including moss, it's important to understand the relationship between…

BBC Radio 4 Tweet of the Day

I was honoured to record Tweet of the Day for BBC Radio 4 recently. I chose the wood pigeon, more for its physical behaviour than its song. You can listen here. I remember feeling a bit surreal when doing the recording. It was about 3.30am…

The Wedge Effect

My thanks to Malcolm Pinches for sending in these great examples of the 'wedge effect' from the Isle of Eigg in the Scottish Inner Hebrides. For a full description of this effect and how to use it to navigate see The Walker's Guide to Outdoor…

New Podcast

Whilst in the US in March, I recorded an interview with Jason Milligan for the G.O. - Get Outside podcast. It has just been broadcast...?... podcasted...? Definitely casted. You can listen from this page.

Cook Pines lean towards the equator

Researchers have discovered that Cook pine trees lean towards the equator, regardless of where in the world they grow. There will always be more light on average in the direction of the equator. More details on the New Scientist website. Photo credit: Johns et al.,…