Breaking New Ground

Reconnecting People with The Brecks

Big Success for The Big Brecks Fest

The weekend looked bright – forecasts were predicting a real scorcher reaching 24°C!  It was however, the 3rd of March and the weekend in question was a month away; would our faith in the forecast be rewarded?


The Big Brecks Fest started out with the rather more wordy title - Brecks Vernacular Materials and Craft Skills Event.  The inspiration behind it came from a young craftsman who wanted to raise awareness about traditional skills.  It was developed into a celebratory event to showcase Brecks specific heritage building skills and


  • connect owners and managers of buildings with the skills and resources needed to manage them
  • promote the skills and training opportunities necessary for the continued conservation of built heritage assets
  • help people to understand the important relationship between buildings and the landscape, and explore key skills that are still relevant today.

Last year West Stow Anglo Saxon Village and What’s On West Suffolk jumped at the chance to take over delivery of the event and wasted no time in making arrangements.

So the date was set for the Easter weekend, 2015.  As the Sunday approached, the skies darkened.  Whilst the rest of the country seemed to be bathed in sunshine, the East was treated to overcast skies, with a few sunny spells, and a chilly breeze.  It didn’t deter visitors though.  By the end of the weekend over 1500 had been through the gates and enjoyed the first big event in the BNG scheme.

There were queues to have an arrow head made by the Blacksmith, and opportunities to have-a go at willow weaving, shingle making and bark stripping to name but a few.  Demonstrations took place throughout the day in flint knapping, thatching and timber framing.  For the young at heart there were plenty of children’s games, a storyteller, badge making, face painting and an Easter trail. There was even the chance to meet some of  the Anglo Saxon residents and partake of an ale or two in the inn set up in one of the houses (modern brews, but I’m sure our ancestors would still approve).  Delicious wafts from the pulled pork stand drifted down the hill to where our BNG tent was situated.  We lost track of just how many leaflets we handed out and people we chatted to, but by 3pm on the final day we had completely run out of badges and keyrings for people to make!  All in all, it was a very successful event and set to be repeated next year.

If you were at the event, we would welcome feedback – click here for contact details

To see pictures from the day click here.