Don’t miss the big Straw bale gathering

Don’t miss the big Straw bale gathering

It’s not too late to book your place at the biggest UK straw-bale building event of 2018 this August in Swansea. Jeffrey Hart of Straw Bale UK (SBUK) tells us about how you can get involved, learning all about building with straw from an impressive line-up of speakers to hands-on workshops.


What, where and when
SBUK are proud to present the inaugural ‘Big Straw Bale Gathering’ – a gathering to discuss and learn straw-bale construction and share the latest and  best thinking within the industry. Held at Down To Earth’s beautiful straw-bale roundhouse in South Wales from 10th -12th August 2018, the weekend will feature talks, discussions and hands-on workshops, for all levels, led by the UK’s best natural builders and leading associated professionals.


When you are full of knowledge you can relax with great local organic food, music, dancing, yoga, ‘Strawbale Ale’, children’s activities and a host of extracurricular events ranging from walks to canyoneering on the beautiful Gower Peninsular! For a full breakdown of the weekend’s activities, see our running order.


The Big Straw Bale Gathering will draw together everyone with an interest in straw bale building in the UK. No matter what level you are engaging with straw bale construction, there will be lots to learn at the ‘Big Straw bale Gathering’.


They’re excited to have Ed and Rowena Waghorn as keynote speakers for the Big Straw Bale Gathering. Their build, which took over 10 years to complete, is a work of art and you might in fact remember it from an episode of Grand Designs. We are delighted they are coming to share their views on building a home. Their talk Building a home – enjoying the circuitous route will concentrate on how they are taking their time and being resourceful with what is around them, plus how they make building their home part and parcel of their family life. Other speakers include everyone from Barbara Jones to Chris Vernon and Paul Jennings. Full details of BSBG speakers are available on the website and it’s set to be an exciting and varied line up, covering everything from what’s in a bale (and why it matters!) to engineering aspects and incorporating permaculture design.


Workshops are included in the price of the event so be sure not to miss out. Spaces on the workshops will be limited and sign-ups will happen each morning. Confirmed so far, are: Will Stanwix, co-author of The Hempcrete Book: Designing and building with hemp-lime will be running a workshop at the Big Straw Bale Gathering teaching you how to create you own clay straw blocks. Meanwhile, Hawkland Ecological Construction will be offering an Intro To Bale Building workshop. The perfect beginner session, it will cover everything from resizing a bale to notching a post, with the aim of building a complete wall and preparing it for plaster.


Excursions & other activities
There will be activities to entertain those not so interested in straw-bale building during the day, including yoga, spoon carving & treasure hunts. Meanwhile, Down to Earth will be running a selection of half day excursions at an additional cost. These excursions will be available to book closer to the event and are subject to a minimum of 6 bookings. These will include climbing and abseiling, coasteering (aged 8+) and coracle adventures, at a cost of £35-£40 for three hours.


Full details of ticket prices are available on their website, with discounts available both to students and to members of SBUK. Whatever your straw-bale building knowledge and journey so far, don’t miss out on what promises to be a spectacular gathering!


Photo and story credit: Jeffrey the natural builder.


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