Rural Skills

What are rural skills?

Traditional rural skills like dry stone walling, hedgelaying, coppicing, charcoaling, blacksmithing, horse-logging, spinning and weaving, stone carving, and green woodworking are a precious part of the history of our landscape. Many of these skills have played an important role in shaping the distinctive and unique appearance of the Cotswolds. Changes in land management practices over the past century have sadly resulted in many of these features being left untended and falling into disrepair.

By sharing these fascinating and practical skills, we hope to inspire future generations to learn these skills – as hobbies and careers – and by keeping rural skills alive, take part in the ongoing care of this magnificent landscape.

Want to have a go?

We offer a wide range of hands-on courses, led by highly skilled and experienced crafts people – so whether you want to have a go at something completely new, or develop your skills towards a qualification, our trainers teach at every level. Our courses run throughout the year, but remember that some courses are seasonal – including hedgelaying, coppicing, and dry stone walling. If you’d like to book one of these and can’t find dates, please enquire to find out when courses start up again.

We can arrange sessions as team building or corporate days, and we work with a number of schools developing programmes to encourage pupils to engage with rural skills at an early age. During the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve worked hard to make sure our courses are safe for both trainers and attendees.

One of the best things about offering these courses is getting feedback from people when they finish their courses with us, and tell us they have a real sense of satisfaction, have enjoyed being outside in the fresh air, have discovered new skills, and feel happy in the knowledge that they have helped to conserve one of the country’s most important landscapes. What’s not to love about all of that?

Use the Rural Skills menu button at the top of the page to browse and book courses.