Thatching Weekend Courses in the heart of rural West Devon

Next Course: 14th June 2019

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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 thatching.

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 Gardens.

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 meal.

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.

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