Breaking New Ground

Reconnecting People with The Brecks

Caring for the Built Heritage of the Brecks Day Schools

From 2014 to 2016, Orchard Barn Environmental Education delivered 12 heritage building skills workshops to 456 participants,, exceeding the target of 360. The workshops were held at West Stow Country Park as it provided all of the facilities required and the project was able to leave behind a legacy of traditionally built structures for use by the public and the park itself. This project succeeded in providing individuals and communities with the confidence, knowledge and motivation to use their new skills to repair existing built heritage, as well as how to responsibly source natural and authentic building materials for use in these types of projects.

The workshops were extremely popular, with many people returning to take part in different workshops. Through advertising, the workshops were promoted to local builders, owners of heritage buildings and anyone with an interest of learning more about the built heritage of the Brecks. A number of long term unemployed people were also able to attend due to having no restrictive cost barrier. Each session consisted of and introductory session with practical demonstrations, delivered by Orchard Barn staff and trained industry experts. After this, attendees got involved in all sorts of activities including flint walling, lime and mortar rendering, working with cob and clay lump, timber framing, green wood working, coppicing, wattle and daub and beaten earth flooring.

Following the workshops, volunteers helped to add the finishing touches to the new roofed noticeboard and park benches which were built during the sessions. A fantastic short film was made about the project by a local volunteer film maker (see below). The interest generated by this project led the local community in West Stow to successfully apply for a Breaking New Ground Grant to repair the ancient flint boundary walls at West Stow church.

"We have enjoyed organising and delivering these day schools. They have made heritage building skills available to a much bigger audience than would otherwise have come into contact with this subject matter. A big thank-you to all involved.” - Sarah Partridge, Orchard Barn Environmental Education

Delivered by: Orchard Barn Environmental Education


Noticeboard to be used by West Stow Country Park for many years. Benches provide features and recreational value to Wes Stow Country Park. Local people with new skills able to apply them to repairing Brecks built heritage features. New relationships created for the benefit of Brecks built heritage features.

This course has actually changed my life. I was living in London and it gave me the confidence to move from London and get out and do exactly what I've wanted to do for the majority of my life.

Helen Wilson


Caring for the Built Heritage of the Brecks Day Schools
Caring for the Built Heritage of the Brecks Day Schools
Caring for the Built Heritage of the Brecks Day Schools
Using an Auger
Mud Bath
Caring for the Built Heritage of the Brecks Day Schools