Thatching Weekend Courses in the heart
of rural West Devon
Next Course: 14th June 2019
The traditional thatching material in the West
Country is Combed Wheat Reed, this is specially grown wheat straw.
There are three main types of thatching in England:- Combed Wheat
Reed, Water Reed and Long Straw.
Devon has over 3000 thatched buildings and has the largest number
of medieval roofs in the world, some are 700 years old. We are
located in South Zeal - a medieval village between Exeter and
Okehampton in the lea of Dartmoor, in West Devon. There are about
a dozen cob or stone thatched houses including a thatched pub.
The surrounding countryside is a mosaic of fields with near views
of Dartmoor. It is in these pleasant surroundings that we invite
you to spend a relaxed and interesting weekend in Devon. Our wish
is to provide you with a friendly atmosphere and an insight into
South Zeal is only 3 miles from the A30 dual-carriageway at Whiddon
Down, this links to the M5 near Exeter (19 miles). The nearest
train is Exeter St.Davids and Western Greyhound buses stop nearby.
For those not wishing to take part in the thatching there are
many alternative interests locally: RHS Rosemoor Gardens, 1646
Civil War Museum and Dartington Glass in Torrington, a selection
of National Trust properties within a one hour drive, walking
on Dartmoor or the Tarka Trail nearby. We are only an hours' drive
from the Eden Project in Cornwall and some of the special Cornish
Local accommodation: We do not provide accommodation but
will forward our Thatching Weekend brochure that has a list of
local inns and B&Bs.
NB This course will not equip you to thatch a roof, it
takes a 5 year apprenticeship to learn how to thatch. Keen DIY's
will find it useful.
We will give you the opportunity to not only find out about the
ancient craft of Thatching but also to have a go. We anticipate
our guests (a maximum of 8) to arrive at their chosen accommodation
on Friday afternoon. We will meet at 6.30 to introduce you to
the tools and materials we will have a home made 2 course evening
The course will start at 9.30 am. This will take place in a local
barn on made up roof frames, so as to be out of the weather and
you need have no fear of heights. During the day you will have
'hands on' instruction by Charles Chalcraft (a retired master
thatcher) will lead you through all of the stages involved in
thatching a roof. We will be using both Combed Wheat Reed and
Water Reed but not Long Straw. We will be stopping for coffee,
a snack lunch and a genuine Devon Cream Tea with home made scones,
clotted cream and strawberry jam. Choose from a variety of local
pubs and restaurants for your evening meal.
The course will start at 9.30 am. There will be a demonstration
of ridging and patching and following up any other queries. After
coffee (weather permitting) a short walk to see some of the local
thatched buildings. We will return to a light home made lunch.
The weekend course finishes at 2.30.