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Anvil Forge blacksmith experience day

Duration: 1 day

Price: £190

Contact: John at Anvil Forge

The Forge
Blackcroft farm
Wokingham, Reading

Course Start Dates

Course dates are flexible; please get in touch for the next available date.

About the Course

Blacksmith Experience Days, the original 'day in the life of a blacksmith' course at Anvil Forge, based at Blackcroft Farm in Wokingham near Reading.

Everything you make on the day is yours to take away. Everyone makes a fire poker as the first project and we then proceed to make a project which can be an idea you have or an item we guide you on, which can be discussed with us in advance.

Anvil Forge is a small Blacksmithing and Metalwork company, established by John Loveluck and family-run. We specialise in bespoke metalwork which include gates, railings and sculptural pieces. John has over 40 years’ experience of creating artistic metalwork.

In 2015 John and his team were commissioned to produce the feature metalwork for the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism’s garden at the RHS Hampton Court Flower Show, which won a gold medal as well as the best in category.

If booking with a CraftCourses voucher for part or all of the course fee, please fill in the contact form above. Your voucher code must be provided at the point of booking.

What's included in the price?

All courses include materials. PPE will be provided but please wear sturdy shoes/boots and old clothes. No Fleeces or Sandals please.

Included in the price is a great cooked lunch in a local pub . Teas, coffee and refreshments are on a constant supply.

If you have any special dietary requirements please let us know in advance and we shall endeavour to meet them.

We start off with a brief health and safety chat to ensure we are all as safe and sound at the end of the day as we were when we started.

Want to review this course?

My wife bought this course for my sons 18th birthday and I was lucky enough to get to go too! I cannot recommend this highly enough. It’s a real working site with an expectation that those on the experience muck in and just get on with life in the metal works. Don’t expect frills - expect to have a bunch of really lovely people trying their hardest to give you a great day.
Working metal in the forge within minutes with great teachers on hand opened the day. Quickly followed by the team helping bring some artistic or practical ideas to life and ensuring that nobody left the day without something to be proud of. There is just the right amount of help provided.
Can’t wait to return for another trip now I know a little more. Looking forward to the next pub lunch with the guys.

- - #28654

This was a Christmas Present from my son. I attended the course on 23/11/2019. I made a wrought iron log holder which is now sitting proud on my hearth. My wife is delighted with it, which means it has passed style and quality criteria - she is pretty fussy what is allowed in the house !
I had an excellent day which was "hands-on", with help and advise close by, when needed. Well done to everybody at Anvil Forge !

- - #26621

Response from Anvil Forge:

Hi Peter
really pleased that everyone is happy with the end result.
I will see you next year as we discussed
best wishes

Terrific course. And not a contrived classroom but in a real life metal-working shop. We were welcomed, geared up and bashing hot metal within a very short time. John and his team were very accommodating on our individual projects and the end result in each case was beyond what I thought possible on a one day course. It was a privilege to be introduced to blacksmithing by such skilled and experienced guys. Many thanks.

- - #25355

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- - #25317

Response from Anvil Forge:

Hello Chris
sorry for the delay in responding , really pleased with the way everyone worked and their projects.

we try to please and its great when we get reviews like yours
nice to know we are getting it right
best wishes

I was first invited to the forge by my partner, who said it was a surprise, and it was a pleasant one. Initially greeted by John I was then give instructions to forge a poker which was fun (especially hammering away at the metal).
Anvil Forge was a great day out I can recommend to all those interested in a exciting blacksmithing experience.

- - #22667

Response from Anvil Forge:

Hi Cory

thanks for the review , pleased you had great time and of course you are welcome back on any of the other courses.

best wishes

My husband bought me this experience as i enjoyed watching 'Forged in fire', I was not sure I would enjoy trying blacksmithing myself. I was so wrong. The team mark, spencer, john and co (so sorry memory block on the fantastic welder) were so helpful, enthusiastic and knowledgable it made the day memorable. Lunch at the Farriers was really good and a wealth of information was shared over it. At the end of the day i had been helped to complete a fire poker and two beautiful lilly garden ornaments that i still cannot believe i helped make. They are already adorning my garden. I cannot recommend this experience enough, you end the day tired and dusty, but so exhilarated and with a great sense of achievement.

- - #20777

Response from Anvil Forge:

Hi Annie

thanks for your review , Aidan was our young welder/blacksmith . I must say considering your wrist problems and operations you had that you were swinging that hammer like a teenager ! well done.
Now to comment on the lily's what a great piece of art , the photos are going on our website but can you send pictures of when they are 'planted' as well.

I look forward to another session with you in the forge.
John and Team

I had a fantastic time on the blacksmithing experience day! John and his team (Spencer, Aiden and Alex) were so welcoming, patient and knowledgeable and always happy to help and offer advice so I could finish my project safely and to a good standard. Lunch was great too and a nice chance to get to know the guys and my fellow course goers. I would definitely go back and try another course or even just another experience day and would happily recommend them. Thanks guys!

- - #20740

Response from Anvil Forge:

Hi Jon
thanks for review, you are welcome back anytime and of course now you have the beginners class under your belt we are expecting even bigger and better things next time ! ( might be hard to improve on the sword you made ) . Jon one favor please can you send me a couple of pictures when its in its new home.
best wishes

Bought this as a Christmas present for my he said “Best day ever”. Such a good experience and he learnt so much. Great atmosphere and fun. Produced a poker and knife to be very proud of. Can’t wait to do a more in-depth course next time....

- - #19953

I booked this course for a friend and myself to do something different on my birthday. We both loved it. John and the team looked after us really well and worked hard to help us complete our chosen project and to a standard we could be proud of. The support was pitched really well to encourage us to experiment but also to make sure that we were successful. We never felt patronised despite being total novices and the only females on the day. We really enjoyed the day and will we back. Now we have a little more understanding of what we can do next time we will make a plan in advance so that we can get stuck in straight away. A great experience all round.

- - #19850

Loved the whole experience, great direction from John, Mark and Spencer and a great pub lunch too! Recommended for anyone with an interest in blacksmithing.

- - #18865

What a great experience - my partner and I thoroughly enjoyed the day and although we started off a little daunted at the thought of bending hot metal we soon got to grips with the techniques under the expert tutelage of John, Mark and Spencer and soon became engrossed in our tasks. It's fairly physically demanding and we ended the day exhausted but very happy with what we produced - we made a pair of candlesticks. Altogether a great atmosphere, lovely group of people - fantastic day!

- - #18849

Having blacksmith ancestors in the dim and distant past, 1100 yrs ago to be precise, I've always wanted to do a bit of smithying!

I found it quite difficult at the start, being female, not very big, and unused to hammering, but John and his Team were very patient and on-hand when I need some help.

It was tremendous fun, once I got the hang of things and would thoroughly recommend an Experience day to anyone considering taking up a challenge. It's very important to think carefully about what one wishes to make.

On the day I attended the others were a great bunch and I think we were all thrilled with the objects we made to take home.

thank you

Sue Williams

- - #18266

Response from Anvil Forge:

Hi Sue
you would have made your ancestors proud with your project, it was pretty good. I hope to see you again in the future to make another project.
I will pass on your comments to the team.
best wishes

What a fantastic day I had at Anvil Forge, getting a taste of the life and skills of a blacksmith. I am delighted with the garden sculpture which will look terrific by our pond. My friends will be so impressed. I'll take a little credit, but most of it will have to go to John, Mark, Spencer and Charlotte for their kind and sympathetic instruction and encouragement. You may well see me again! Many thanks to you all.

- - #17353

Response from Anvil Forge:

Hi Hilary
I am pleased you enjoyed the course and as we mentioned you are welcome to return at any time.
The garden sculpture you made ( I think you deserve most of the credit) looked great and would enhance any garden.
Best wishes John and the Team

Many thanks again to you and the team for a fantastic day.

- - #17070

Had an absolutely amazing day with the guys at Anvil Forge!!! Mark, Spencer and Steve were fantastic teachers. Course is taught at really good pace, moving quick enough that its interesting throughout but not so fast that you cant keep up.. would strongly reccomend to anyone thinking of giving this a go to get on z course and do it.... Already planning on going back for more! Thanks

- - #15855

Response from Anvil Forge:

Hi Sam
I am really pleased the guys looked after you today and that you had a great time. I would have loved to stayed for the day but had family commitments so couldn't be there but knew you would be in good hands.
You are welcome back anytime.
best wishes

What a great way to spend a day!

The experts (John, Steve & Spencer) were enthusiastic, very knowledgeable and the ratio of one expert per two novices meant everyone benefitted from lots of hands-on tuition.

The only (minor) negative was the lack of signage inside the farm complex.

- - #15516

Response from Anvil Forge:

Hi Neil
thanks for the review, re signage a solution is in hand!

hopefully see you again ( and checkout our new sign)

This was a birthday present from my husband and it was a fantastic experience. First of all I made a poker, which is used most days, and then a garden sculpture of long bars which were twisted into various organic shapes. John and his colleague were very supportive and patient. We all gradually improved throughout the day and left with some great pieces of artwork.
This is an addictive hobby and I’m booked onto another course!

- - #13196

I cannot recommend this day enough!! My fiancée bought this for me as a present and from the moment I stepped in the door, John and the guys made us all feel at home and ‘part of the team’. The course was professionally run and their wealth of experience and expert guidance ensured not only an impressive project completed in a little over an afternoon, but an informative and fun working environment.

- - #12616

A present to me from my daughters.
My wife and two daughters had an excellent day with the team. Started by making a poker each then learning lots of new skills. I made a flower container out of old horse shoes, I believe a first for them. We took lots of goodies home after a very enjoyable day.
Thanks to you all.

- - #12564

My husband and I received this day course as a wedding present. What a wedding present! John and his team made us feel welcome and ensured we knew how to keep safe in the forge. From there we instantly learned some skills and warmed up by the fires. A poker is an ideal starting point and we have proudly displayed ours. After learning the basics, we were able to design our piece. (A door knocker for us). Lunch at a local pub was a brilliant day break before setting off on our project. With 3 staff on hand we always had 1 person to help instruct us in manipulating the heated metal or using machines during fabrication. They welded for us and we finished and filed. The end result was brilliant but the journey making it was worth the extra money because now our new knocker has happy memories. I'd recommend this course to anyone who wants to learn a skill and spend a day of quality time together. Thank you Anvil Forge.

- - #12376

I had a great day working with John and Olly at the workshop. I wish I'd had an idea of what I wanted to make before arriving but I still made a fantastic knife and even though it was work I thoroughly enjoyed my day, I will definitely be bookmarking this course and looking forward to another go.
One point is the place isn't easy to find, look out for Unit 2 (right and right).

- - #12356

Response from Anvil Forge:

Hi Geoff
i totally agree, i am going to improve signage this coming week
thanks for coming along and nice to hear your coming back

A really enjoyable course run by caring and responsible masters of their art. Supervision was close but not intrusive, whenever you needed help there was always someone there for you. Above all safety was strictly observed - I felt safe.

One negative comment though, it was very difficult to find the Anvil Forge itself as there is no direction on the farm board nor on the attendance letter. John, please add "Unit 2" to the joining details - please!

- - #12170

Great day - great people.
I've read the previous comments - and I can't add more.
Just book a course and treat yourself!

- - #12162

What a fantastic day out this was! A chance to learn some real metal working skills while making something to take home. John (the boss) and his team were always on hand to help when needed, but also left you to it much of the time. Such a great day out. Pub food was great too! Thanks. 5* from me.

- - #12111

My Dad and I had an absolutely fantastic blacksmith experience day and we couldn't be prouder of what was accomplished with the help of John and his team. My dad made a beautiful mushroom and dragonfly ornament with my mum in mind and I managed to make a dragon clawed door knocker!

Thank you so much for your patience and the opportunity to learn a little of your craft, we'll definitely be back for more courses in the future :)

- - #12002

From the moment we arrived John made us feel very welcomed. I had some reservations as to whether I'd be physically or creatively capable, however, it soon became very apparent that these were ill-founded. John and the team were very organised, friendly and always ready to assist when required. I arranged this day as a surprise birthday present for my Son and it was lovely to see him so engrossed with the practicalities of blacksmithing and forgetting to check for incoming emails etc! We both learnt a lot and we were really chuffed with our individual projects which we will always have as a reminder of the day. FabUlous.

- - #11722

I bought this experience as a gift for my other half for his birthday. He had an amazing day and he loved every second of it. It was fun and interesting. John and the others running the course were friendly, helpful, super skilled and all round incredible craftsmen. We're going back in December for another crack!

Thanks for an amazing day - totally recommend it to anyone as something fun, interesting, rewarding and different to do!

- - #11649

I attended the blacksmiths day at Anvil Forge today and loved it. 5 people in the group with 3 experts on hand every step of the way. Every one did very different projects and the gents from the forge were superb in helping make our dreams a reality.
It's great value too as I made fireside tools that I am chuffed to bits with. I would definitely do this again!

- - #11585

An absolutely fantastic day. Despite being a complete novice, with John and team’s help, I managed to create a functional and decorative piece (beer holder!). The fact you get down quickly to bashing and moving metal and can experiment to your heart’s content means this is a thoroughly enjoyable experience. Will definitely do this again.

- - #11584

What a fantastic day , John and Spencer are very welcoming and soooo full of knowledge and skill. The Viking knives all looked really different and all awesome and some made garden ornaments ( dragon flies ) which looked superb , seriously considering going back with my wife to do something like this as they turned out so well .
Really can not recommend this enough , even if you've never worked with metal before ( I haven't since school about 30 yrs ago) the team a great at guiding you through everything .
Plenty of tea & coffee and the lunch at the pub was delicious .
Just a superb day out in every respect .

- - #11444

Fantastic day, really great experience. John and his team were attentive, enthusiastic and encouraged throughout the day imparting their wealth of experience. I would definitely recommend and look forward to going back. Thank you.

- - #11352

My partner and I went on this course as a birthday treat and would highly recommend it. We picked this blacksmithing experience because you could choose to work on your own projects in the afternoon. We made a number plate for our house which worked out perfectly with the team's support. They encouraged us to be more ambitious and helped us to also make a garden sculpture. I found the team really supportive across the whole day. It was also great fun meeting the others on the course and seeing what they worked on.

- - #11297

We had an excellent day with John and the team. Their expertise and enthusiasm drove the day and our varied projects forward. We all finished the day tired, with aching arms, dirty faces and big smiles. We will definitely be making a return visit.

- - #9954

Cracking course - great, helpful staff, excellent equipment well worth it. If you're considering buying some handmade, why not save some money and get the satisfaction of doing it yourself on this course?

- - #9673

My wife and I attended a Saturday "Blacksmith experience day" which she paid for as a gift for my 65th birthday. The course was great fun and very creative, we both made a poker to start with and then collaborated on a garden sculpture which was finished by five p.m. and we took it home finished due to all the help from John and his team of Spencer and Olly. It was a hot day but refreshments were provided and lunchtime meant a visit to a local pub for a drink and a meal (all included). The premises are a genuine working environment that works all week on commercial projects and gives courses when appropriate. If you are interested I cannot recommend this highly enough.

- - #9429

Had a fantastic day getting back in contact with my metal working side. John and his team were great tutors and to some extent evil geniuses. My longbow stand turned into a long-sword much to the jealousy of my son. Well, <<could>> stand two bows against it if you wanted – bonus ! A whit filled day where you become a real black-smith (shower for about 45 mins to just be a smith!).

Excellent fun – plan to come back with son in tow. Thanks for a great day !

- - #9320

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- - #8745

I was not sure what to expect as I parked outside Anvil Forge on Saturday morning . Within 20 minutes, after a safety talk and demonstration, we were straight into heating , hammering and bending metal to construct a poker.
John and his team challenged our project ideas for the afternoon session, encouraging us to try new skills and equipment, while at the same time developing the skills experienced earlier that morning. We were given the opportunity to work by ourselves, yet help and advice were close at hand when required.
Have a look at the photos of projects completed by people who have attended this fantastic course so that you can have an idea as to what you want to achieve by the end of the day. Think big- John and his team will help you achieve it.

- - #8453

Very enjoyable day creating with expert guidance by John and Spencer. I love my pig and he has pride of place on the fireplace.

If you're looking for something different to do then give this a go. You won't be disappointed!

- - #8421

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- - #8399

As a retired Chartered Engineer I found this course very interesting and informative. The course leader, John, was extremely competent in teaching the techniques, helpful with ideas for projects and his enthusiasm was infectious. At the end of the day all course members felt they had achieved something worthwhile having had a very interesting and productive introduction to this ancient craft,
I have recommended this course to many friends.

- - #8397

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- - #7653

My husband and I had a great day at Anvil Forge and were spoilt by our 1:1 tuition from John and Spencer. We were given clear instruction and guidance yet afforded the opportunity to fully construct our pieces ourselves. In addition to the satisfaction provided by hammering hot metal, we also tried our hand at welding too.
Despite my comments at the start of the day that I am not very creative, I was thrilled with my bullrushes garden ornament. I foresee another visit to Anvil Forge in the future.

- - #7420

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- - #6587

I attended a course at the Anvil Forge with my son and two my colleagues. We had a fabulous day. John and his partner were fabulous. They have an engaging style and the skills of true craftsmen. We learned a lot, had a fabulous experience and laughed a lot. We had a great pub lunch and came away really proud of the practical things we had made. We were so impressed by what John and his colleagues can do that my wife commissioned him to make her a Christmas Sleigh and my son had him complete a companion set for his new home. We definitely plan to go back again.

- - #6534

Having no previous experience of metalworking, I was looking forward to John's course but uncertain what to expect. I needn't have worried - we were well looked after by John and his team, given access to all manner of tools and techniques through the day, and thoroughly enjoyed whole thing! There's something fundamentally satisfying about hammering the hell out of glowing steel on an anvil, and transforming an intangible idea into something solid. Try it !

- - #6532

if you're looking for a fun day with a difference, then a day learning some of the ancient skills of blacksmithing at the Anvil Forge is a must. What a fantastic day; we left with a real sense of achievement, a great understanding of the art and science of smithing and a finished project to be proud of. John runs the day with a very relaxed, informal style - he has a wealth and depth of knowledge that he readily shares and he's great with all ages. My teenage daughters loved the day, thought that John was a superb teacher and want to go back for more!

I'd recommend the day to anyone who's looking for a very creative, unusual and satisfying activity; be prepared for some hard work, a 5lot of smiles and a great sense of satisfaction at the end of the day.

- - #6523

My daughter and I had a fantastic day and we came home really feeling we had achieved something. The atmosphere was very friendly and relaxed, which helped me feel less worried about my lack of creative talent, so that, with the expertise and excellent support of all the team, I managed to come home with some garden ornaments which have surprised and impressed everyone I have shown them to. I would recommend this course to anyone, but with one word of warning - you may, like me, get the bug and want to do more!

- - #6484

I organised this course as a surprise birthday present for my Brother. John and team were utterly brilliant, and it was not only great fun, but we both learnt a lot and met some interesting people. The day is well run with lots of practical work, and we had really close tuition and advice, with one of John’s team between two of us. I loved the flexibility, with everyone working on different and personal projects, and it was great not only to have learnt a new skill, but to have something at the end to take home. Would strongly recommend signing up!

- - #6459

A great day - I still proudly display the poker in our lounge and have the sculpture I made in our garden. I was delighted and surprised by what I achieved in a single day and thanks go to John and his team for making the day so memorable and productive!
I am not hands on and making things has not been a great success for me in the past - all that has changed!
Great value for money and a wonderful new experience - go!!
I normally flag by late afternoon - but not here on this day!

- - #6452

I thoroughly enjoyed my day being a blacksmith and learning some basic techniques. It was tiring as its quite physical but very rewarding. I came away with 2 large pieces which I am very proud of. John and his team are great teachers and incredibly helpful. I would recommend it to anyone interested in doing something a bit different.

- - #6451

The course was well paced. Starting in the morning with a simple task (poker) that got all the attendees warmed up and on a similar level. Mid morning we started on the more complex project piece. Assisted by John and the team throughout. At a suitable point we broke for lunch and a chance to discuss the project piece and question john on his smithing experience. Back to the forge we continued to work on our individual pieces. The course completed late afternoon, everyone had finished their project. With Johns assistance and finesse we each had a piece of work to be pleased with. Great day with enjoyable company.

- - #6449

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  • Accessible by public transport
  • Children
  • Daytime (weekdays)
  • Events & groups
  • Intermediate level
  • Parking provided
  • Romantic
  • Stag and hen dos
  • Suitable for all abilities
  • Suitable for beginners
  • Teenagers
  • Weekends

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