Traditional rural skills to learn

From drystone walling to willow weaving, here is a selection of the best traditional rural skills to learn.

Published: February 11th, 2013 at 2:49 pm

Learn how to drystone wall or weave with willow with our guide to the best traditional rural skills to learn.

Hedge Laying

Learn how to build hedges. Distinguish between the Devon hedge, the double brush hedge and the Derby style. Hedges provide a great habitat and help keep the wind out.


Cob Building

Crafting buildings out of earth has been a stock countryside skill since ancient times. Less popular in Britain than it used to be, Cob houses are beginning to enjoy a resurgence. A cob house won The Royal Institute of British Architects award in 2005. Edward & Eve Cob Building offers a first rate introduction to get you started in sustainable building.

Dry Stone Walling

Stretching back almost three and a half millennia, dry stone walling has been thought of as an expensive alternative to fencing. A dry stone wall’s worth comes into play when you consider its ability to stand for a hundred years. The DSWA are the authority on the subject.

Animal Tracking

An effective tracker knows how to read the countryside for clues and build a picture. They don’t need a sixth sense!


Is that pasta sauce missing something? Distinguish the delicious from the deadly with a foraging course.

Wood Carving

You’ll never need to buy a wooden spoon again. Whittle everyday items or gorgeous illustrations. The British Wood Carver’s Association provides invaluable experience.

Bee Keeping

As Einstein succinctly put it: “If the bee disappeared off the face of the earth, man would only have four years left to live.” Do your bit to keep us here a while longer. Cotswold Bees will help you get started. The Soil Association also has some useful advice.

Willow weaving

This can be handy for making baskets and adding screens to your garden.

Wild Meadow Planting

Naturally vibrant a Wildflower Meadow can be the perfect, low maintenance, addition to a garden. They’re also a great habitat for butterflies and bees.



Thatched roofs do not only look great, they’re wind resistant, energy efficient, naturally waterproof and only generate a small carbon footprint in building. Whilst becoming a master thatcher can take up to five years, a day course will give you some appreciation of the beauty of thatching.



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