Course Start Dates
Course dates are flexible; please get in touch for the next available date.
Join our friendly Blacksmithing Team for a full day's tuition in basic forging!
Award winning, master blacksmith, Nigel Barnett will guide you through the basic skills of forging. You will have a go at making your own items to take home. The course is very hands-on and attendees will learn the skills required to create a variety of traditional ironmongery. Working at your own speed, tuition is on demonstration followed by one to one guidance basis. You can expect to do 6-7 hours of forging in the day.
There are no pre-arranged course dates. Courses are run as required on Fridays and Saturdays to suit attendees - just ask for the date you would like and we will check the diary.
Students can expect to make a variety of pieces or if you have specific aspirations just ask.
If required, overnight accommodation is available in one of the Forge's shepherd huts situated in the adjacent wooded sculpture trail. The huts are self catering and basic cooking facilities and gas or wood BBQs are available or there is always the local pub or take-aways a short drive. The huts have electricity and a wood-burner so don't worry about cool evenings, there is also a shared shower cabin and cook cabin. The huts costs £35 per night - you are welcome to bring your partner to stay by arrangement too. There is also plenty of room for camping if you prefer, just bring your tent!
Feel free to phone if you have any questions.
What's included in the price?
All tools, materials and safety equipment is provided. Attendees are asked to wear working clothes and stout footwear.
Tea and coffee is provided - please bring a packed lunch. If staying overnight in the shepherd hut - bedlinen is provided but bring towels and food. If you wish to camp then bring your tent!
I bought a 1 day Blacksmith workshop for my fathers b'day present and decided to try my hand at it too. We had never done anything like this before so did not really know what to expect with regards to our ability. With Nigel's expert tuition we were able to produce 6 great pieces each - a poker, small shovel (we prefer to call a "Burger Flipper" as we intend to use it on the BBQ), a decorative jam pot spoon, a pot, key ring and a beautiful poppy. We thoroughly enjoyed our day, loved Nigel's stories of work he had done and the people he had met along his journey.
Many friends have seen our creations and been surprised at how great they are considering we are total beginners.
If you are considering doing this workshop - my advice would be to give it a go. I'm sure you will surprise yourself and you will have a day to remember. Happy Forging .
This was my second time at the forge, this time with my 15 year old son. We both had a fantastic time, my son made several things that he is very proud of, the only problem is I now regularly have to share my modest home forge with him as he's so enthused after a day with Nigel!
With Nigel's help and guidance I was able to complete a sculpture that turned out very well and will take pride of place in our garden. Also Nigel very generously changed the set-up of one of his large presses to dome a very thick piece of steel I had brought with me that I could do a particular project at home that would otherwise have been impossible for me to do.
This trip to the forge (staying in the shepherd's huts) was intended as the high spot of our holiday and it certainly was, once again I'm hoping to return again in the not too distant future.
A fantastic day !
Bought a one day course for my son's 13th birthday - his choice - and he had the most amazing day. Nigel is clearly a superb craftsman but he also has a passion for passing his knowledge on. My son received just the right balance of tuition combined with plenty of hands-on time with an emphasis on creating his own work. He left having created more than he ever expected and everyone he has shown his creations to (pretty much everyone he sees !!) has hardly believed he made them. He had lots of time working on his own with input from Nigel when he was unsure or he got to trickier parts. Lots of explaining from Nigel, especially when they undertook really tricky parts together.
My son has learnt a lot about the ways in which metal behaves and the vast possibilities of what can be made. He has already planned his next visit.
Perfectly OK for Dad to have a go too - which left me very happy !!
excellent few days, Nigel was is an excellent tutor and an expert in his field. a real and true craftsman in every sense of the word. i was given free reign to produce whatever i could conceive, (within reason) with nigels help i was able to produce 2 damascus steel knifes. ten out of ten across the board.
Just back from an amazing course at Fransham Forge. Nigel is an excellent teacher and a fabulous blacksmith. We all had a brilliant time and came away with an immense amount of knowledge, our metal creations and broad smiles. I would highly recommend this course for anyone with a slight interest in metal working. Thanks again Nigel. 5*****
Nigel is an excellent instructor and a very talented gentleman! The Forge was great and the tooling that was on hand was nothing short of Amazing. There were obviously the basic tools of the trade (Anvils, Tongs, Hammer, Forges) however Nigel had Some heavy duty tooling that you just have to see to believe! The course was setup to lead you through the basic forging techniques and to show you how to progress as you become more comfortable. I am a machinist and welder by trade and have very briefly touched on blacksmithing throughout my career, however nothing that has sparked my interest like this course! I was only available to attend one day of the course, however if I could have spent a week at the forge I would happily have done so! Again, if you are even remotely interested (and by reading this review, I suspect that you are) Don't wait any longer! Get signed up and get into the ancient, magical, and mystical world of blacksmithing! You wont regret it!
I spent two days working with Nigel, who is as supportive and compassionate as he is skilled. I had never attempted any metal work before, but with his guidance and knowledge -- I made some wonderful gifts for my parents. The area surrounding the forge is astonishingly beautiful and is decorated with a whole manner of unique and inspiring sculptures and shepherd huts (as well as a tipi).
Overall an unmissable and unforgettable experience.
Really enjoyed my one day course - a great introduction to the ancient craft of blacksmithing. Nigel Barnett is an engaging, patient and skilled teacher as well as a Master of his art. The surrounding wood is a fascinating place bedecked with metal creations and the forge is equipped with multiple forges, anvils, endless tools and some seriously big power hammers.
I was completely exhausted but went away very happy at the end of this most enjoyable day. Thank you Nigel.
My wife bought me a voucher for Christmas to spend the day in Fransham Forge and it turned out to be one of the best Christmas presents I ever had! I have never tried any metal work before but from the moment I arrived, I was put at ease and made very welcome. Nigel Barnett is a very approachable, very patient and very skilled as a master blacksmith.
My wife and I stayed for two nights in the shepherds hut (gypsy caravans) on site which was idyllic. The huts are in a quiet forest clearing with all the facilities on site including a kitchen area, showering room and flushing loo etc. To get to these (which are close by) you cross an iron bridged stream, which is very quaint. For those who want to wild camp there is a composting toilet available. The grassed forest clearing gives you space to play outdoor games if you wish and to cook on the various BBQs, fire pits etc provided. Its a great place for families too as there are peacocks and chickens roaming and large sculptures among the woodland.
The forge is a working forge with many projects ongoing from small hinges to port cullis iron gates for castles. Working at the forge starts at 8am and finishes around 6pm and during this time instruction and tuition is given to you in basic or advanced levels depending on your previous experience. I came away with 4 items, all included in the cost. My wife was so impressed with my items that at first she didn't believe I'd made them (with a little help from Nigel). These are all yours to take home as a souvenir of your day.
I highly recommend it, in fact I taking my friends and going back. Nigel has a show room/shop where you can purchase many items all beautifully made on site.
Would definitely recommend this course to anyone wanting to experience the amazing work of a blacksmith - even if you're an absolute beginner like myself!
I took a two-day course (Friday to Saturday) and I was lucky enough to be able to stay and sleep in the teepee Nigel had built (which was awesome by the way and surprisingly bug-free if you keep a nice fire going!).
Nigel's teaching was absolutely superb, I was nervous but incredibly excited on Day 1 and Nigel's funny stories and down-to-earth sense of character helped take the edge off the nerves and enabled me to focus on metalworking and to enjoy every moment spent at the Fransham Forge.
At the end of Day 1, I was fortunate enough to finish with three pieces - a fire poker (which had both a twist and alternating twist design along with scroll work) a spade (which also had scroll work) and a pendant in the shape of a leaf. I had never chanced my arm at any form of blacksmithing before, so I was very proud to have these pieces finished at the end of Day 1!
Nigel's form of teaching really encourages you to enjoy working the forges with a bit of freedom and not feel pressured by time or skill; Nigel was very supportive and any questions you had he could answer in detail.
On day 2, Nigel encouraged us to begin creating projects of our own - which I thought was an amazing opportunity to explore what you can do with support from an amazing teacher. I really want to become a Swordsmith one day, so I thought I'd start small and create a Viking Utility Knife; which would have been used for slicing, carving or cutting.
Nigel's form of teaching enabled me to have some freedom whilst working the forge, but he always checked on me to see how I was doing and gave me tips here and there whilst I was working the high carbon steel he had cut for me to use.
By the end of Day 2, I had managed to successfully hand-forge not one, but two Viking Utility Knives. As I said earlier, I had never chanced my arm at any form of blacksmithing before - so I am incredibly proud of what I achieved with support from Nigel and I am incredibly grateful; as Nigel has made me more determined to pursue a career in blacksmithing and hopefully one day successfully become a Swordsmith.
Even though the electricity had been cut in order to trim trees (which had been growing around the power lines) and poor Nigel was left with the workshop door three quarters open and with no power for a little while during the beginning of Day 1, we stil managed to get forging. I also took the opportunity to explore Nigel's gallery and admire all the metalwork he had done - which by the way is abosolutely breathtaking. Nigel's perception of life in metal is truly inspirational and captivating, all the twisting and turning, patterns and the forgework all done by hand coagulate and form beautiful essences of life that we sometimes take for granted every day.
A big thank you to Nigel for teaching me and encouraging me to pursue my dream of hopefully becoming a blacksmith and a sworsdsmith one day. Another big thank you as well to Nigel's friend who I have forgotten the name of but helped keep the blacksmiths hydrated with coffee and tea!
A really wonderful course and an incredible teacher - I hope whoever reads this is captivated by what Fransham Forge has to offer and chances their arm at blacksmithing for a couple of days - it was so much fun and I'm so happy I had the opportunity to go and do something constructive and creative!
Just returned from a fantastic family weekend break at Fransham Forge. Did a one day course as a whole family treat (kids aged 16 and 14 yrs), and had a great time. Nigel was endlessly patient, and made sure that we all came away feeling that we'd achieved impressive results. Staying in the Shepherds' huts was perfect - such a tranquil and secluded setting in the woods. Just a shame we didn't bring any musical instruments to have a sing along around the camp fire.
In order to review it is very hard to come up with words that haven’t already been used by other reviewers!
My course was a birthday present from my partner who has given me many very lovely and thoughtful gifts........this was simply the best ever! As soon as we met Nigel the night before (we stayed in a Shepherd’s hut on site) it was clear this was going to be a fun and informative experience. He had stayed on after hours to wait for our arrival and took us on a tour of the forge and grounds which are an excellent showcase for some of his work. Nigel is a man with great talent, boundless energy and a very generous nature, clearly putting back a lot into society.
After a great night’s sleep in the shepherds hut the day began with safety information (but presented in a non boring way) followed by a little chat on history, some advice on anvil height, choice of hammer and how to hold it. Nigel then demonstrated some technique then we were immediately able to try it out on our own anvils. If anyone had any fear of “failure” that would have been immediately dispelled by Nigel making comments such as “there are no mistakes, only design changes”. If the work didn’t go as planned Nigel was always on hand to help correct it.
Once we had experienced hand forging we were introduced to the use of the power hammer (of which there are many in the forge)........I had been worried that my arm would be aching by the end of the day but a combination of being taught the right technique and use of the power hammers meant that my arm was fine.......but I went home with aching ribs as a result of laughing more in a day than I normally do in a month! Nigel has a seemingly endless fund of stories and anecdotes from his rich and varied life, they just keep coming during the course of the day.
I came home with several items I am proud of and it won’t be long before I book for another course.
If you are still reading this, don’t spend too much time thinking about booking yourself on a course, just do it, right now!
Did one day course with Nigel yesterday and loved it,one of the funniest blokes I've ever met!! Will be going again for sure because I'm now in love with power hammers!! Get it booked people you won't regret it!!!!
Went to a beginner blacksmith's 1 day course today and had a excellent time. Nigel is a fantastic teacher and a master of his craft. Would definitely recommend to anyone who is interested in learning. Thank you.
Incredible weekend - I did the one day course and stopped the night before in one of the cosy Shepherds huts. Nigel is a top bloke and excellent teacher who was able to get us making interesting pieces straight away with varying techniques. The forge and its surroundings are really special and I hope to go back soon. Even with no prior metal work experience I recommend this course.
An absolutely fantastic day, Nigel is truly inspirational his enthusiasm is infectious.I had a brilliant day making my poker,shovel acorn key ring and a bowl , Nigel guided us without interfering with patience and energy .He has so many funny stories from his life he shared throughout the day.Ican not recommend this course enough I haven't ever done anything like this before but Nigel makes it excessible for everyone. Thankyou Nigel.
I would like to start by breaking this honest review into three parts. That will be the course, the venue and finally the tuition. To start with the course Nigel got us to make a poker and coal shovel to try out basic techniques. I should add we were both total novices. After this we made a small pot, an acorn key ring and a very delicate leaf necklace. These were the pre-planned so to speak but we had the option at any point if we had something in mind we wanted to build. He taught us not just how to work the metal but also some history as to why.
Now the venue. This place has it all, and I mean all. It has a workshop that has every tool you need for whatever task you need whether it is small work like we did or big forges and power hammers. Not only is the forge well equipped but at lunch there's a small forest to walk around where he keeps some of his art, shepherds huts and some lovely old engines and not to mention a little bit of wildlife to boot. It is only short ride off a main road so easy to get to.
Finally we get on to the tuition. All I can really say is this is a top class bloke. Once your working he is not over bearing but will not let you struggle and if you do cock up he repairs it in no time. The lessons were informative but more important fun and when everyone was doing ok he rocked out with some pipe instrument. I'm 30 and was in there with an old boy so this course is for all ages and I am already trying to think of what I can make next time. So to finish this off I would say fantastic price for a day where you learn, have fun and even take home some items you made.
Thank you Nigel.
My sister in law and brother in law got the one day introduction course for my son for a Christmas present.
I'm glad to say that Both myself and my brother in law went along and had a fantastic day so much so we are in the process of booking a two day session and all three of us cannot wait.
Thank you Nigel
Booked this hoping to make 3 curtain poles for my shepherds hut. Came away with the poles, hold backs, a poker and a shovel. Thoroughly enjoyed myself, and really feel like I've learned something. Nigel 's a great teacher, just the right mix of demonstration, tuition, and letting you get on with it to learn for yourself. Wouldn't hesitate to recommend this course
Nigel flawlessly managed to teach three of us at once, the smoothness of his teaching allowed for all three of us to learn the basics then make four very different things (each) in one day.
Personally, Nigel was very welcoming, a super interesting guy with a myriad of amazing and quirky stories that he wove seamlessly in with teaching us.
The grounds of the forge were beautiful too, peacocks watched me from the trees as I went exploring over the stream and through the woods, looking out for all the weird and wonderful creations Nigel has made over the years.
I will definitely be coming back, either to learn more skills or just to stay in one of the beautiful Shepherd's Huts.
Either one alone is more than worth it!
I've now done two one day courses with Nigel, the second of which I brought my brother to. Both have been fantastic. Nigel is a brilliant teacher and you'll get the opportunity to make several items which demonstrate the basics of Blacksmithing.
Well worth the time and money and I expect Ill find myself back here again.
Had the pleasure of spending a cold Saturday in February with Nigel Barnett at the 'Fransham Forge'.
It was a real insight to a skill (I had never tried before)blacksmith. Nigel, with a large dollop of humour and patience actually got us making our own fire irons.
Nigel also demonstrated other techniques, making nails etc, and gave us the full tour of his latest product, Shepherd Hut construction, there are some shepherd huts on site you can stay in when on the course, but I'm saving that for a future visit in warmer climes.
Highly recommend the day, course and spending some time with Nigel at Fransham Forge
Just got back from a BRILLIANT day forging with Nigel. If you enjoy getting stuck in, being creative & getting filthy, you'll love this course! Nigel is a great tutor who will treat you to many stories from the forging world & inspire you with his beautiful sculptures, some of which are nestled within a woodland. There was just my partner & I on the course which was amazing. We received Nigel's attention all day and because there was only 2 of us we got the chance to make lots of stuff! I was chuffed thinking we'd get to make 1 thing. We in fact made 3 things each and got to bring it all home! Super, super day! Recommended 100%!
I bought a day's course for my husband for his birthday after he'd been dropping not too subtle hints! Well, it was money well spent and as he declared 'one of his best birthday presents ever'. He was full of praise for Nigel the minute he stepped in the door brandishing a poker, shovel, key rings and a small pot! He has been heartily recommending the course to family and friends and is keen to go back for more!
This was my second course with Nigel, obviously I thoroughly enjoyed the first course or I wouldn't have been so keen to do another. On my first course Nigel taught the basics of metal working, explaining the history of blacksmithing and how technology developed through the ages. We rapidly progressed from heating and shaping our first piece of 10mm rod to turning out pokers, shovels, keyrings and small pots. Nigel's knowledge, skill and passion for the art are infectious, his humor and patience carry you through the day of intense learning. You really do get out of the day, what you put into it. My second session was an extension of the first, although 3 months had passed, Nigel remembered me and was able to effortlessly guide me further in my learning while simultaneously starting two first timers off. The way Nigel made the second session mesh with two other lads first session was excellent, we all worked along as a group, with complete support and attention to us all, I was able to move forward and progress, with the freedom to make what I wanted, while the others where guided through from the beginning.
Beyond the course Nigel has been very helpful and supportive in helping me to set up a small furnace of my own and I will certainly return for another course and will be bringing a friend who I know will love it!
My son and I had an amazing two day course with Nigel. A master blacksmith, excellent practical teacher, amusing and erudite raconteur and we feel we have tasted briefly the versatility of metal and gained huge respect for the skill and artistry that goes into forging. Thank you so much, and I look forward to using my fire screen.
Just had a day long course with Nigel.
Just awe inspiring. His enthusiasm and skills are infectious! I came home with Christmas presents I forged that I am proud of. Will definitely be booking another course.
I cannot recommend this highly enough. If I had done this course 15 years ago, I would be seriously looking at changing careers - it is that inspiring!
What a great day! Nigel was an excellent teacher and host, could he tell a tale or too.
Came away amazed as to what can be done with metal.
Will definitely be booking another day or two .
Thanks very much Nigel.
Just spent another fantastic day with Nigel at the forge, learnt many more blacksmithing skills. Will be booking up to return soon. Nigel is a true inspiration and true craftsman and fantastic teacher. Thank you.
My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed our 2 day Blacksmithing Course and stay in one of the Shepherd's Huts. Nigel is very skilled, talented and a great teacher with many interesting stories. The workshop was very well equipped with lots of interesting projects to see. The Gallery and sculpture trail are great and show off some of Nigel's work. We also enjoyed looking around at his other projects and can't wait to go back for another visit at a later date. The Shepherd's hut was very comfortable and well crafted. We were pleased with what we made and couldn't wait to show our family and friends. Thank you for making a birthday wish come true. Richard and Kay
Just completed a two day course with Nigel and had a fantastic time. His dedication and enthusiasm is second to none, and leaves you wanting to learn more. He makes the art of forging and blacksmithing seem effortless and shows how to make each piece by example, but with a bit of patience and practice I was able to produce respectable (by my standard anyway) items that I was allowed to take home. Never a dull moment listening to his many tales and stories of the work he's done and people he's met along the way. Wish I'd found out about this course years ago, but now my eyes have been opened - who knows!
This course was bought for me for my birthday. And it was fantastic, the blacksmith is a great teacher taking time to show me what I needed to know but also leaving me to it. Nigel's knowledge is very vast. I have thoroughly enjoyed my day, I was tired but all worth it! Everything I made that day I could take home with me. His shop is also a masterpiece!
We also stay in one of the gypsy carts with my wife, it just added to the whole experience! Definitely recommend this forge!!!
Just enjoyed 2 days blacksmithing with Nigel for Bill's birthday which exceeded all expectations! We stayed in a cosy shepherd's hut in the idyllic woodland adjoining Fransham Forge. Nigel's infectious enthusiasm guided us through a wide range of techniques & he made sure that we both successfully created several useful tools, supporting our differing levels of ability & guiding us through successive processes. We enjoyed working with Jane & Keith on the second day. Nigel is an inspiring and entertaining teacher & we highly recommend his courses - hope to come again & learn more!
I've had a keen interest in blacksmithing since university and after plenty of research I found this course in Norfolk. I signed up for the two day course and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Nigel's skills, knowledge and enthusiasm for engineering and blacksmithing was amazing! During the two day course I gained much inspiration around the workshop and sculpture garden. All aspects of production were explained including the safe and controlled use of tools and machinery in the forge. I learnt a great deal of knowledge that will be valuable in the future and will definitely attend another course to develop my skills further. I highly recommend this course!
A big thank to Nigel for the excellent day spent with him, Mary, Bill and Keith. I had a brilliant time and am over the moon with the items I made. It was an experience I shall never forget. Nigel is a very good teacher, I learnt a lot. He makes everything seem so easy to achieve and as he says - there are no mistakes! The workshop day is something I would recommend for anyone who wants to have fun and learn a new skill. Thank you once again Nigel.
Great Fun. Booked on the recommendation of my brother in law. Was not disappointed. Had a great day with fellow trainee blacksmiths!!!!!. Thoroughly recommend Nigel and the course. Hope to repeat the experience in the future.
Had a 2 day course and it was fantastic learnt so much in short space of time. Nigel is an amazing teacher with a wealth of knowledge and plenty of enthusiasm for what he does which he is brilliant at. I will definitely be looking to go back again to learn more.
Just had the best day with Nigel, really nice guy,so knowledgeable, such a craftsman, enthusiastic teacher. Could not believe how much I learnt and done in a day . will definitely be going back to learn more.
I wish I'd booked it earlier - it took me 18 months from being given the course for Christmas to actually doing it as I was worried about my bad wrist. I need not have worried as it was much less physical than I expected and Nigel was very helpful. It was a wonderful day away from the norm hearing Nigel's stories and making items which I'm proud of. I've already been busy recommending it to others :)
My wife gave me this as a present for my 75th birthday - Nigel is a great character and an excellent teacher - a few safety tips, a demonstration then off you go to get on with it - under his guidance the things I made will be treasured. I would recommend this to anyone with or without any previous practical experience. A memorable day spent with a man who certainly has a flair for artistry in metal.
I signed up for the one day course with Nigel. I had never done any smithing before and I was curious about how it would feel to bend, shape and form metal, it is an amazing thing to be able to create a complex shape from a simple rod. Nigel was excellent, obviously a talented artist/ craftsman but also a good teacher and great fun to hear his many stories.
The workshop is an engineers' paradise. You'll get to visit his gallery too which is full of interesting artefacts and there are arty sculptures scattered around the gardens.
I am planning to spend another 1-2 days working on my own design of a fire pit.
Would I recommend this course/ Nigel ? Yes, without any hesitation and I look forward to visiting Fransham Forge again soon.
Thank you for an excellent day Nigel.
I had a great day blacksmithing with Nigel on the one day course. I received the course as a present from my girlfriend as I've always wanted to have a go and maybe start it as a hobby.
I managed to make a fire set (poker, tong and shovel) in the day which was a nice thing to take away from the course. Nigel is always on hand to help you through each stage. He makes it look very easy.
We stayed at the forge in one of Nigel's shepherds hut. It was very comfortable, perfect accommodation for the course, with everything you need. Plus, it was nice to be able to cook our meals on open fire.
I would definitely go back for another day if I start blacksmithing as a hobby, for more tuition.
Spent an amazing day learning from Nigel, he's an excellent teacher but he makes it look far too easy. He'll show you how to do it and then leave you to try it for yourself, if you fail no problem just put it back into the fire and try again. You'll be given access to most of Nigel's Knights of the Round table, various types of weights of power hammers that will help you draw out the metal once you've learnt how to do it by hand.
I may have caught the blacksmithing bug, I wish I'd been taught this stuff in school.
I think I'm going to be retelling Nigel's stories to anyone who'll listen for a long time.
My son and I had a wonderful day with Nigel at the Forge, including two nights in the shepherds huts on what proved to be a snowy spring weekend. As a girl raised in the sexist days of the 50's and 60's I had no experience at all of metalwork and was a little nervous of what to expect. Nigel was interesting and knowledgable, willing to stand back or step in as needed. Having expected that we would observe much and participate a little we were thrilled to discover that once Nigel had demonstrated a technique we were able to practise skills with a considerable level of independence and to produce objects of our own. We came away very aware of the level of skill Nigel has in producing beautiful ironwork and with our own less than perfect, but proudly produced, pokers, shovels, metal leaves and a small dish. Nigel's flute playing was relaxing and fun and he made four children very welcome to watch and listen for part of the day. This day was a Christmas gift that was greatly appreciated - an all-round good experience.
Had a superb day! Wish I had known about the forge earlier as it is very close to home and I definately intend to return. A very relaxed and fun day of Smithying followed by a night in one of the shepherds Huts. Really cosy place to relax and get away from it all. Recommend taking some food to cook (or something you have pre made) as the kitchen hut is really well equipped and the local area hasn't got a huge amount to offer in the way of restaurants. Highly recommend this as a gift or just as a day out... Already have plans to come back when my other half has another girls weekend away!
Stop reading now and sign up for the course.
I can not recommend any higher, very enjoyable day!
My only regret was I only did one day, not two days.
I was able to complete 3 projects with no prior experience. Nigel not only keeps your attention with stories of his travels around the world, all made possible with his unique Blacksmithing knowledge, but has a way of explaining how to do everything clearly and simply. Very relaxed atmosphere. No pressure to perform. You are shown the task then allowed to get on, with the comfort of assistance at anytime. I will definitely visit the forge again.
I attended a one day course as a 40th Birthday present from my Wife. What a fantastic experience. Nigel is certainly a skilled Blacksmith with a great sense of humour. The work shop itself has a variety of historic equipment that we simply don't make to the same quality these days. The course would suit all ages and sizes. A father and son and a more mature gentleman went on the course with me and all of us produced pieces we are proud of. Nigel broke down the process in to steps that were easy to follow and he adapted the course to suit the group. Starting slowly and gradually building up as we gained confidence. We certainly got a full day and got value for money. I do have one regret, that I didn't do a two day course!
I was given a day course with Nigel for my Christmas present this year. I've never done it before, but it was very good fun and I learned a lot in what was a solid day. Nigel certainly has some stories to tell and some very impressive creations to show. I thoroughly recommend course for anyone interested in making things themselves, it was really great fun.
What can I say, one of the best days of my life.
My wife bought me the one day course for my 50th birthday as my young blacksmithing hobby was dwindling, due to lack of inspiration.
I was a little apprehensive and didn't know what to expect from the start.
But Nigel is one of those people that immediately puts you at ease and he is one hell of a character with a great sense of humour.
I just hope I can remember at least half of what he taught me.
I went back to my wife at the hotel at the end of the eight and half hour day, absolutely buzzing, with my hands full of things I'd made.
My forge and hobby have now been rekindled.
I echo all the comments below, and the 5 star reviews. I loathed metalwork at school – six weeks of filing the same key ring! – but would happily spend all my free time here.
You’ll have a great day and surprise yourself with what you can make, it’s very satisfying. The whole atmosphere of the forge/workshop is like a feast for the eyes, packed with hundreds of bits of intriguing equipment, floor to ceiling, and more huge power hammers than are surely really necessary (they all are!) plus a giant press (think that’s right) that barely clears the roof and is topped by three spinning discs the size of dining tables. Make sure you have a look around the wagons and sculptures outside too which are beautiful.
Between four, we shared two furnaces and had an anvil each so no frustrating turn-taking, plus guided use of power hammers, and a rotary wire brush for polishing. Nigel himself is extremely good value as an engaging teacher with a bottomless well of stories. I re-told the one about keeping composure in front of the W.I. to my little boy, and he went from Monday morning school misery to uncontrollable giggles, for which I’m very grateful!
If you’re going to take the course (and why wouldn’t you?), bear in mind in cold weather it can be very cold inside, despite the fires, so take extra layers as it’s a long day. There is a kettle and microwave available for tea breaks /warming up lunch if you wanted to (I don’t think this is mentioned in the details.) Note to the sisterhood: I have the arm muscles of a marshmallow – didn’t make a difference. Turns out it’s more about close observation and control than brute force!
Three of us spent a day together with Nigel. I cant imagine a more passionate artist with all the interesting knowledge of all aspects of his trade. His hands on instructions left you in no doubt what to do, we all made four items that we were very proud of. The Shepherds Huts that he manufactures are second to none and obviously will last a lifetime. Worth a visit to see the showroom.
A fabulous experience which I highly recommend. Nigel worked really hard, cycling between the three students taking courses on the day I visited and entering wholeheartedly into their projects. He is enthusiastic, very helpful and totally committed to his students. His own work is very beautiful and inspiring.
The shepherd's hut accommodation is very clean and comfortable and in a beautiful woodland location.
Be aware, though, that a forge is not as warm a place as you might think!
Did the one day course. Nigel shows you what to do then you make stuff. Awesome. Really enjoyed it. Interesting course good company. A real eye opener to the work that goes into making things with metal. Recommend it.
I spent a total of 3 days at the forge which I spread over 2 weekends and absolutely loved every minute. Fransham is a genuine real working Forge which contains some amazing tools and machinery and Nigel is dedicated to looking after you throughout your stay and will tailor the experience to suit your ability ensuring you get the most out of your day.
Nigel demonstrates a technique and within minutes you’re off having a go yourself, it might take you a bit longer than him but he makes sure you get there in the end building up your confidence as the day progresses. I feel I have had a real insight into the life and history of the blacksmith and I can’t recommend it enough to those who want to experience the craft and have a go at making something unique for themselves.
I was given two days with Nigel for my Christmas present this year, and have just ( yesterday) come back. I have had a truly amazing time. I have done a few craft type courses ( glassmaking, Neon making etc) but always wanted to have a go at 'metal bashing'.
I can honestly say, my wife could not have found a better place for me to go. No long winded lectures, no standing around just watching. After a brief but imformative safety chat, you are thrown straight in.
If you really like a hands on course then this is for you. Nigel demonstrates and you then go off to your own forge and replicate what he has shown you. Don't panic, you are not abandoned, help and advice is ALWAYS there if you need it, all you need do is ask. You learn so many techniques, tips, history, it's just so brilliant.
It's a very informal atmosphere, Nigel will wander round, regaling you with stories of his experience, funny tales and loads of info about blacksmithing. You really do have a laugh as well as learn so much.
You will not be run to a strict time table, the day may run over a little, Nigel is really good and wants to make sure you come home with as many pieces as possible.
I did 2 days and came home with 8 pieces of work, and I was so pleased.
If you are reading this, STOP, what are you doing. Get you day with Nigel booked rather than sitting reading this, you will love it!!
I WILL be going back as soon as I can.
IT IS AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I bought a course for my boyfriend's birthday present - he told me it's the best present he's ever been given! He told me he really enjoyed spending the day with Nigel, messing about with hot metal, learning, chatting, and coming home with treasures to show for his labours. He told me about your awesome shepherd's huts, and we'd like to come and stay sometime soon. Thanks a lot :-)
The course was a birthday present and it was a fantastic gift. Had a great day working with Nigel and 2 other students. We worked at our own pace and Nigel was great offering help and guidance. And best of all got to bring several piece I made home with me to impress family and friends. I would recommend it to anyone. I will be back.
What an amazing day I had on this course. Nigel is so friendly and welcoming, and so knowledgeable. I immediately felt relaxed and like an old friend. Made a number of items and got to experiment with a number of techniques. Could not have wished for a better day or a better teacher. Nigel really is a master craftsman who's passion for his work is infectious. I will definitely be booking again and coming back to learn more. I stayed over in one of the shepherd's hut in the grounds and would also recommend this to anyone. Waking in the very cosy and comfortable hut, nestled amongst the sculptures and surrounded by nature is the icing on the cake of a brilliant weekend.
I booked the one day blacksmithing course for my husband and 15 year old son. They had a great day and enjoyed working with Nigel - an experienced blacksmith and a great tutor. We also stayed over in the Shepherd's Huts which were lovely - a great way to relax and unwind after a busy day in the forge!
The course was booked for my 40th birthday. I stayed the night before in a beautiful shepherds hut in the forge gallery installation in the woods. This is a magical way to start the course, waking up to deer and pheasants by your front door as you walk through the woods to the bbq your breakfast!
The course itself was amazing, from Nigel's background in how he got to be a blacksmith to the expert and friendly tuition. He is an inspiring chap! We made a number of useful items (all now in use at home next to my woodburner).
I would highly recommend this course to anyone of (almost) any age. I will be going back to learn more!
My second time at the forge was just as enjoyable as the last. This time I did two days and Nigel helped me forge some magnificent pieces. He was friendly and helpful as usual, and by the end of the weekend I had forged lots more pieces than I thought I would be able to. I learnt a lot and had a very restful nights sleep in the shepherds hut. Money well spent for a great time. Thanks.
The two day course was purchased for me as a 60th birthday gift. I had a really good time learning new skills and updating some old ones. Nigel is a very good teacher and allowed me the scope to try things on my own but was always on hand to guide and advise me. I would recommend this course to anyone.
I stayed with my wife at the site in "Woodman's Rest" a warm and cosy shepherds hut. This allowed me to roll out of bed and go straight to the course. What more could you wish for!
Local eating hostelries were also good.
I hope to go back in the near future.
I attended the single day course and had a great time. It was great to be in a working blacksmiths rather than in a classroom like environment, so I was able to see other work going on around us. I made 5 things in the single day.
During lunch I was able to wander around the wood and look at the art work.
A great day!
I spent three days on the course at Fransham Forge and I cannot praise it enough. Nigel was an excellent teacher ensuring that safety was paramount he made me feel very welcome and I learnt a great deal. I made several useful objects learning several different skills as I did so.
I was then able to manufacture something's of my own choosing and by the end I felt like I had lots of new knowledge and skills.
I also enjoyed staying in the shepherds hug on site, it was well kitted out and cosy.
Recently completed a two day course which was purchased as a birthday present.
Had a fantastic time, made all the better by Nigel 's friendliness and his knowledge of how to work the metal and tutoring style. After having made a poker and bottle opener I then managed to make a bird bath.
Thoroughly enjoyed the two days and would recommend it to anyone.
Absolutely FANTASTIC 2 days! Nigel is a brilliant teacher with really clear demonstration of techniques and leaves plenty of scope for you to put your own twist on things. Really looking forward to going back!
The course was a birthday present and I really enjoyed my day at the forge. Nigel is a very good teacher with lots of interesting tales to tell. I came home with a set of four fire irons, including hooks to hang them, for our new wood burner. I would recommend the course to anyone who is practical.
If your looking for a different way to spend a day and come away with something other than just a memory , get yourself and your friends along to see Nigel. I've never seen my wife have so much fun with a hammer and red hot metal. Nigel is not just a great teacher, story teller but really really good chap. Take time to enjoy the art exhibition in the woods our favourite piece was the unzipped railway sleeper, followed closely my the giant flute!
I have recently spent two remarkable days with Nigel at Fransham Forge. Nigel certainly has a special gift for Blacksmithing and his courses are packed with no nonsense instruction & extremely helpful advice. All my questions were answered in depth, addressing issues I had not even considered. It was a wonderful opportunity to watch him at work & then benefit from his encouragement & patience as I attempted to create my own piece of artwork.
With his knowledge & guidance he will take you as far as you can go & even a little further than you imagined possible. Unbelievably I did manage to produce a copy of an "Ammonite set in rock", that my wife had spotted ( & always coveted ) after a visit to the Forge's shop. I cannot thank Nigel enough for letting me have a go at such a difficult project. It has earned me lots of "Brownie Points"
Honestly, I had an amazing two days & worth every penny of the course fee.
Nigel thankyou .a great day Its nice to know that people are still willing to give time to others. we both had a great day.Made a poker and shovel which was good .Made a small acorn key ring . inthe afternoon he asked any ideas of what we would like to make. after some thought made a lantern stand. in learning some skills in the morning we started .in the forge we heated some square bar and done some twisted on one end we curved a arc of 7 inches and heated up end and flattened and made a leaf. Then some round bar same leaf on one end.we then run the bar though a air hammer along to give texture then we wrapped them shorter bars around the main square upright. the base is made from a round cultivator disc which underneath we welded three round balls on for feet.with some squashed tube and a big washer which we hammered impression into .then welded the uprights and wrapped the other leaves around the main square . looks great and a big Thankyou See you soon . Ryan my son has been so inspired he is seriously pursuing a career as an Blacksmith artist Thank you
Just been on a two day course with Nigel which was fantastic. On the second day we made a big dandelion garden sculpture which I'm really pleased with. Nigel is very enthusiastic and passionate about the blacksmithing craft and I would highly recommend his course.
My husband and I have recently returned from doing a one day course with Nigel. We enjoyed making the poker and shovel. Would have been great if we were able to discuss and make a simple item of our choice later in the day. Shepherds hut very comfortable for a nights stay.
Absolutely fantastic course, nigel is exactly what I was looking for in a tutor. I can't wait to go back and visit the forge again, all blacksmithing aside nigel is a very genuine and interesting guy. I'm also glad to have met him as I know he'll be there to help me with any questions I may have in the future.
I have just done a two-day course with Nigel. A very busy first day learning the skills to produce introductory pieces, then an even busier second day learning more skills to produce a garden sculpture. The finished results were better than I would have dreamed possible thanks to the tuition from Nigel and his team.
My wife and I stayed in one of the shepherd's huts which was very cosy. (She went bird watching and we met up in the evenings.) We rounded off an extremely enjoyable weekend with a barbeque on the Saturday evening.
It was an excellent course and I would recommend it to anyone. We would love to go back.
Absolutely brilliant day!! I attended the course today and I can tell you I will be going again. Nigel has a wealth of knowledge and both him and his colleagues were a pleasure to work with. Best £150 I've ever spent!!!
I have just attended a 2-day course with Nigel and it was excellent. Not only is Nigel a great tutor he is passionate about his craft and has a wealth of knowledge and experience to impart. He provides an insightful history of blacksmithing/forging, and has some great stories/experiences to share.
First day made some set pieces, poker, toasting fork, two desktop paperweights and a keying. The second day was more freeform being able to create your own design or replicating one of the many items in his gallery. He is patient and guides you at a level/pace based on your capabilities. Very well equipped workshop with a huge range of equipment and machines, and even got a go on the power hammer.
Great to get away from the stress of the day to day job and relax doing some very enjoyable rewarding work, (beating some hot metal with a hammer is a great stress release) and very pleased with the items that I made.
I would definitely recommend Nigel to anyone thinking of having a go at blacksmithing.
Thank you Nigel.
I did a 1 day course in blacksmithing with Nigel at Fransham Forge in March 2015. I was able to craft a firepoker, firespade, bottle opener and a key ring. Nigel clearly explained the process to follow and was always avalible for assistance. I am extremely pleased with the end results, being a finer quality then I was expecting. If you already have an idea of what you would like to make during your time, Nigel is very accommodating. I would definitely recommend this course as it is a unique and fun experience.
I recently spent a most enjoyable day with Nigel and one other would be blacksmith. It is something I have wanted to do for a long time. I was not disappointed in any way
Nigel is an excellent teacher, calm and patient. His knowledge and enthusiasm for his craft is inspiring.
I was delighted to return home with several pieces of work which, with a bit of help, I was able to complete. It was great to have a fellow student to compare progress and skill.
Many thanks Nigel I will call in again and say hello when I am in the area.
My partner purchased a 1 day course as my Christmas gift and she has her work cutout to top it: it was, in a word, outstanding. Nigel is an incredibly knowledgeable and accommodating man whose impresive skills at working metal into works of art are equalled by his teaching abilities and story telling. You will not be disappointed and I would whole-heartedly recommend a day at Fransham Forge (you may even get to meet George and Peter who are quite a laugh too!). I will definitely be back.
I have just attended a 2-day course with Nigel and it was absolutely fantastic. I have a reasonably stressful job and I was able to completely switch off and think of nothing but what I was doing.
Nigel is a top chap and I loved hearing his stories. I was very lucky as the first day was 1 on 1 with Nigel and then on the second day a couple joined. However, this did not detract from the attention Nigel gave me, he just moved around a bit faster! We made some great pieces and Nigel was very patient in explaining what to do.
I stayed overnight in one of the shepherd huts in the grounds which was lovely and warm and cosy. When I left I was so relaxed and recharged ready to face the daily grind of work again. I thoroughly enjoy myself and will definitely be back. Thank you Nigel.
The 1 day blacksmithing course I did with Nigel was brilliant and he is an absolute character! His stories were hilarious and he was so welcoming. Me and my girlfriend stayed the night of the 7th November in one of Nigel's shepherds huts, despite the cold weather it was perfectly warm and cosy! The next morning we started, this being my first try at blacksmithing I was eager to learn but also a little worried about what I'd be able to achieve in 1 day.
Nigel has a fantastic knowledge and I felt completely comfortable even as a beginner! He let me know it was totally up to me what I wanted to make and although I hadn't come along with any ideas his shop is full of plenty!!
Spent a lot of time actually at the forge as it was 1 on 1, a lot more than I thought I would which was definitely a bonus, another bonus was using the power hammers!
I enjoyed the day so much I'm going back to college to learn it as a profession.
I spent the weekend at Fransham Forge with a couple of mates on the one day course which needless to say was our only regret, we should've booked the two day course! Nigel's knowledge of the art and his patience as a tutor were excellent made the whole experience unforgettable. Whilst working in the forge we had a great laugh, made some really good stuff that we could take back home and use and definitely appreciated Nigel's awareness of safety on site. The accomodation is set in a quiet and picturesque woodland surrounded by a miriad of sculptures and everything that we needed was provided. I will definitely be coming back.
Had a brilliant time blacksmithing with some mates. The forge is a lovely location, with lots of great sculptures dotted around. We camped at the forge which was very nice. The course itself is great, Nigel is a top bloke. Very patient and good at explaining the various techniques. Had a great time and would like to go back for two days next time!
I did this course because I have a fascination with craftsmanship and the history of metal work. It was absolutely fantastic and I very much hope to go back. Nigel was brilliant and wonderful to work with. A real pleasure.
Our children bought a two day course for my husband's 70 birthday - and I was allowed to go along too! Nigel was so welcoming and regaled us with tales his life; it was all so informative. Nigel is a very good teacher; he is relaxed, encouraging and forgiving of beginners' mistakes. We made items in mild steel, pure iron, bronze and stainless steel - with a lot of guidance. It was a great two days and we learned a lot. Nigel is a true artist and a gentleman.
I booked this course for a birthday gift for my husband and we weren't disappointed. Nigel was a perfect tutor; informative and patient. He was keen to pass on his knowledge and inspired us by talking us through his own sculptural creations. We had a wonderful day learning new processes and techniques and I'd thoroughly recommend this to any one/couple who enjoy learning practical skills. Thank you Nigel, the sculpture of the Bullrushes looks amazing and nobody can quite believe Steve made it!
Bought for me as a birthday gift and was an excellent day. Nigel was very informative and had the balance of instruction perfectly balanced with the amount of practical,he was always at hand to give instruction when needed.
From the start to the end an excellent time was had. Thank you
We had an amazing time! I would strongly recommend going here and trying this out. Nigel and Lee were both very friendly and accommodating.
We started out with a basic project that Nigel showed us how to complete. After this, we could work at our own pace and make anything we thought of. Any mistakes made were quickly ironed out by the professionals!
I'm definitely thinking of going back in the future.
Bought this day for my Dads 60th Birthday. Nigel provided an enjoyable, relaxed and informative day which my Dad thoroughly loved. An over night stop in the Shepherds Hut is a must and Nigel's hospitality and friendliness was much appreciated. Would definitely recommend and value for money too. Big thankyou Nigel.
An amazing day. Nigel is inspirational and the level of tuition is first class. The day was tailored to my own learning curve, and friendly tuition helped me quickly gain confidence in a new skill which I look forward to developing further. It was a very productive day having made several lovely items, which have been greatly admired by everyone.
The forge is set in beautiful countryside surroundings, and there is also a chance to see some of Nigels own work set out in the surrounding woodland.
I cannot rate this course highly enough - an absolute must for anyone with an interest in this trade. An experience day would also make an ideal present.
What a fantastic day I had, with lots to do, advise and help all the way, nice friendly guys with great skills to help you with your project, would definitely do this one again. Fantastic day thanks guys.
Was awesome meeting two very lovely people, Nigel and Lee, they looked after us so much and were so friendly and sweet. Fascinating to watch the amazing talent and such a treat to have a go, Jay, (12) didn't want to leave for home he enjoyed the day so much and is looking forward to staying next time in the Shepard hut surrounded by the beautiful wood full of treasures. :-) Fantastic place to go for all. Thanks guys, and see you again soon. Jodie, Jay and Tina. xx
My son, Will (14), had the most wonderful experience working with Nigel over the last 2 days. He has learnt so much and is very pleased with what he has made (I will send photos).
Will is already making designs for things he would like to start at school and this experience has inspired him and absolutely captured his imagination!
Thank you very much indeed Nigel for your patience... I don't think William will ever forget his time with you (he also loved staying in the beautiful shepherds hut).
Me and the lads had areally enjoyable weekend, your sheppard huts are great Nigel. We`ve told our mates all about your brill machinery, such a lot to take in, your patience with us was much appreciated. My fiance loved the flower you helped me make for her, she`s insisting I have to come back and make some more, in fact she loved them so much she wants some as centre pieces at our wedding next year. I think i need your help with that if she wants them done in time. Ha, Ha, please send me any future events going on, I will be back in a few months for some more instructions from the master. Thanks Nigel . You were great.
What a brill weekend, Nigel your a great teacher, so patient, i got some smashing pics of the beautiful things we made, my friends are all quite envious and they have all been given your phone.
I would highly recommend anyone, male or female, who would like to work with a PROPER ARTIST and learn something completely differant, for fun or as a gift to someone you love. Go on you`ll have a brilliant time and next time I want to stop in the sheppard hut, they are really beautiful. Your skills are great Nigel, thanks to you and your staff. See you all soon. Thankyou again. Debs.
My friends and I had such a fantastic weekend with Nigel assisting us all the way to help create some wonderful things, what a fantastic blacksmith you are. We would highly recomend the great hospitality we were given, the 6 of us had a memorable Birthday weekend doing something completely differant. WOW..........Nigel you are a great artist and an even GREATER teacher. We are all coming back for round 2 in a couple of months time. THANKYOU.........
I attended one of Nigel's courses and was given a large amount of time actually forging coming away with useful ironwork and a thirst to do more. The accommodation is good with basic facilities to cook and a number of close hostelry's. I understand that new accommodation in showman vans are being constructed to support the new courses to help people assemble Shepherd Huts--cant wait!!
I attended a 1 day course in Blacksmithing with Nigel at Fransham Forge in September 2013. I would rate the training as first class; the tuition was adapted to my interest and level of skill with most of the instruction being hands on. I came away with some nice pieces which have been much admired by my friends and family!
Nigel has a wealth of experience in all aspects of metal-working and the forge itself is equipped with amazing tools and equipment.I definitely look forward to going back for more tuition.