24 May 2013

Try your hand at heritage skills

They have been at the heart of the community for hundreds of years, and now The Sill at Northumberland National Park, is launching a special programme of heritage skills events, to offer people a taste of these ancient crafts and help to safeguard them for the future.

Pole lathing

The first heritage skills event will be free and hosted at Once Brewed, Military Road, on Tuesday 28 May, where visitors will have the opportunity to discover the rich history of the landscape and try their hand at a variety of traditional crafts and construction skills during a free taster day.

Throughout the event, which will run between 10am and 4pm, members of the public will be introduced to some of the techniques that have created the unique landscape of the National Park, including stone masonry, wood carving, lime pointing, leatherwork, pottery and stained glass – something for all the family. They will also discover the very real place these heritage skills have in modern day construction and conservation.

Open to people of all ages, the event will be led by experts from the Heritage Skills Initiative. With additional upcoming events including dry stone walling and blacksmithery to look forward to at Walltown, near the Hadrian’s Wall World Heritage Site, The Sill is developing a programme to help beginners and experts alike increase their knowledge and skills. As the project progresses, The Sill project team is hoping to work with in partnership with organisations to offer wider heritage skills training opportunities supporting these important skills within the heritage sector.

Stuart Evans, Project Director for The Sill project, said: “As our plans are developed for the new Landscape Discovery Centre and Youth Hostel at the current Once Brewed site, we are launching a programme of exciting heritage skills events, for people to try their hand at the ancient crafts and traditions that helped to shape our unique landscape.

“At the heart of The Sill is an opportunity to develop specialised training and learning opportunities for both beginners and experts, in the hope these professional skills will be used to conserve, renovate, adapt and maintain our environment for current and future generations. Our aim is to develop these further as The Sill project progresses and we are very excited to hear feedback from members of the public and take some very positive steps forward.

“Our first event is a free taster day held during the half term holidays, where members of the public can come along and sample for themselves a series of heritage skills, including everything from pottery making to stone masonry. If you’re looking for something to entertain the whole family with during the school holidays, it is well worth giving this event a try.”

Visitors to the heritage skills taster day at Once Brewed will be able to sign up to a number of additional taster sessions in the coming months, including stone carving workshops, pole lathing, blacksmithery and dry stone walling.

Andie Harris, Learning and Skills Manager at North of England Civic Trust, said: “Whilst offering a fun glimpse into ancient traditions, developing heritage skills can present an inspiring career opportunity in the heritage sector and help people of all ages view their local historic environment in a whole new light. It’s vital to the preservation of our landscapes that we protect our traditional crafts and pass on these important skills to the younger generation. We look forward to welcoming many people to our first taster event and upcoming workshops.”

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:

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