Members of the public will have the chance to discover the many opportunities that exist within the heritage skills sector this summer, as The Sill project team announces an exciting programme of taster sessions for people to try their hand at.
As plans for an extensive learning and participation programme at Northumberland National Park’s planned new Landscape Discovery Centre and YHA Youth Hostel gather pace, the sessions have been designed to showcase the role traditional skills play in modern day construction and conservation. They will include pole lathing (7 July), dry stone walling (13 July), blacksmithing (20 July) and stone carving (date to be announced), all of which have played an important part in shaping the unique and ancient landscape of Northumberland National Park.
Hosted at Walltown, near Brampton, in partnership with the Heritage Skills Initiative at the North of England Civic Trust, each session will involve a day of hands-on training in these traditional crafts, with an introduction to each skill led by experts in their field.
The pilot events programme is being implemented as part of the development phase of The Sill project, the planned £10.5 million Landscape Discovery Centre and Youth Hostel at the Once Brewed site. As a gateway to Northumberland National Park, The Sill will act as a hub to encourage exploration of the wider Park and a broad range of learning and participation opportunities will be available to members of the public, of which the pilot events will play a significant role in shaping.
Georgia Villalobos, Learning and Participation Coordinator for The Sill project, said: “The Sill is currently developing plans for an exciting learning and participation programme, which will be at the heart of the new Landscape Discovery Centre and Youth Hostel when it opens in 2016.
“Having a specialist heritage skills scheme in place, as we eventually hope to do, will help to facilitate training and development for all ages. The aim is that this will in turn support the local economy by using professional skills to conserve, renovate, adapt and maintain our environment for current and future generations.
“Whether you would just like to try your hand at something new, have a go at an exciting hobby, or develop your skills further, we would like to encourage people to have a go at these taster sessions. We are especially keen to hear their feedback as we take the project forward and begin to shape how the activity programme will look.”
The Sill team is working alongside representatives from the Heritage Skills Initiative at the North of England Civic Trust, to develop the taster sessions at Walltown, with skilled professionals from across the north of England showcasing their crafts at the events. Places are limited and must be booked in advance.
Andie Harris, Learning and Skills Manager at North of England Civic Trust, said: “The buildings and heritage of Northumberland National Park provide a unique sense of place and link today’s generation directly to its history. It’s so important that we continue to nurture and preserve the aspects of our history that have helped to shape our unique landscape and pass on traditional skills to the next generation.
“Learning new skills can be great fun and gives participants a real sense of achievement. After taster sessions people often find they want to learn more so they can develop their skill and begin a new hobby.”
The development phase of the project has been made possible through funding from The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).
Northumberland National Park Authority and YHA are seeking to secure an additional £2.5 million in funding for the full project costs and to make their vision for The Sill a reality, the project needs your support. You can support The Sill by volunteering, attending one of the project’s consultation events or making a donation towards the £2.5 million target.
For more information about The Sill and the upcoming events, visit www.thesill.org.uk , find The Sill on Facebook or follow The Sill on Twitter @thesillproject.
Highlights in The Sill’s Heritage Skills Event Programme, include:
- Pole Lathing Workshop, Sunday 7 July, 10am – 4pm, Walltown. Join us for a fascinating day learning the art of the ancient woodcraft, pole lathe turning. Discover the tools and techniques of this traditional craft; and then it’s your turn! You’ll create an item to take away with you at the end of the event. No experience required. Six places available. Booking essential – book your place on 01434 344396. Cost £60 per person.
- Dry Stone Walling, Saturday 13 July, 10am – 4pm, Walltown. Join us for a fun and informal day of practical hands on training. The course gives you a firm understanding of wall structure, types of stone required, how to make repairs and maintain dry stone walls. No experience required. Eight places available. Booking essential – book your place on 01434 344396. Cost £60 per person.
- Blacksmithing Workshop, Saturday 20 July, 10am – 4pm, Walltown. Join us for a fantastic day learning the basic techniques of blacksmithing. Participants will be able to develop their skills with hands on instruction and leave with items they have crafted themselves. No experience required. Eight places available. Booking essential – book your place on 01434 344396. Cost £60 per person.
- Stone Carving Workshop, date TBC, Walltown. Join us for this engaging introductory course in stone carving. Try your hand at creating a stone sculpture under the guidance of our expert and take your creation home with you at the end of the day. Eight places available. Booking essential – book your place on 01434 344396. Cost £60 per person.