Blacksmiths Forge Opening
As part of our 50th anniversary events, we are extremely excited to announce that the old Blacksmith Forge at our base at the Old Prison in Northleach has now opened!
Over the past few months, the Cotswolds Rural Skills team has been hard at work in preparation for the opening of the forge which was put to use for the first time in nearly 20 years on March 17th! The Forge was built in 1981 and was in full, working operation up until 2000.
We hope that the reopening of the forge will offer a wide range of benefits, allowing us to provide permanent, all weather training facilities in the art of Blacksmithing, as well as providing a new and unique addition to the display at the Cotswolds Discovery Centre, where demonstrations by local professionals can take place.
Blacksmithing as a profession has been around since the Iron Age, and for centuries, the Blacksmith was regarded as having a key role in the functioning of rural communities. Here in the Cotswolds, the role of Blacksmith would have involved making and servicing of iron tools and implements used every day on farms, in workshops, and in homes throughout the rural community.
Today, a Blacksmith’s role is somewhat more creative, focussing on the design and creation of bespoke, ornate and functional metalwork through a fusion of traditional and modern specialist techniques to form, shape and join metals such as steel, iron, brass, copper and bronze.
The Cotswolds Rural Skills training programme has been offering courses in Blacksmithing at the Old Prison, as well as other locations around the AONB since 2011. Whilst our courses delivered at the Old Prison have received glowing reviews from participants, we were limited to one-day taster sessions in a mobile forge provided by the instructors. We wanted to take our courses to a new level and give our customers an overhauled experience, allowing for longer, more in-depth training courses.
It is our vision that, by opening up our forge to the public, many people will be able to appreciate and enjoy its full potential, and many will be able to undertake courses held on site. We are aiming to offer lots of new courses when the forge reopens, including training courses for all competencies, as well as accreditations and apprenticeship schemes. Local amateurs will also use the forge to practice their skills and produce items for sale.
So keep your eyes peeled for more news about the forge, our events and our new courses over the coming weeks!
To learn more about blacksmithing or to have a go yourself, you can view our courses at http://www.cotswoldsruralskills.org.uk/events/?searchfilter=type&searchquery=2