Making straw work: thoughts by Steve Donagain

Through support from Making Local Woods Work, four Woodland Social Enterprises ( Leeds Coppice Workers, Glue Collective, Whistlewood Common and Nene Coppicing and Crafts) came together for an exciting and ‘hands-on’ Straw-bale Building workshop hosted by Hill Holt Wood.

Following a presentation on straw-bale building methods and the basic principles, the group were taken on a tour of the on-site ‘eco’ buildings. The buildings represent environmental, social and economic sustainability, whilst also demonstrating environmental construction methods and natural materials such as British timber, straw-bales, hempcrete and rammed earth.

During practical sessions the group constructed a small scale straw-bale building undertaking various tasks such as ramming tyre foundations, placing timber elements, constructing the straw-bale walls and building/testing a reciprocal roof structure. Tom from Leeds Coppice Workers said “Straw Bale event was good – relaxed but informative; you’ve got some good staff!”.

The aim of this workshop was to give the Woodland Social Enterprises an understanding of the fundamental principles of straw-bale building and give them essential skills to apply to their own build projects.

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