Learn to turn in Snowdonia - taster course

Les at his studio workshop at Pren


A very extensive Covid-19 risk assessment has been completed and a whole raft of control measures are in place. This course re-commenced on 1st August and is certified under the "We're Good to Go" scheme, and we also have an NHS Track and Trace QR-code poster available at the workshop. If you wish to see a full copy of our risk assessment and control measures, before booking, please ask.

Les Symonds is a qualified teacher with an honours degree in adult education and is a member of the Register of Professional Turners. His work has won numerous awards and accolades and has been exhibited at several galleries throughout North and Mid Wales. He is based in Bala, where he has a well equipped workshop which is ideally suited to one-to-one teaching. A second student can be accommodated, but only when the two students book together.

Woodturning tuition courses are structured to the needs of the individual, their skill level and their future aspirations. All courses commence with a Health and Safety briefing and a range of PPE is available for use.

Dates are flexible, so please state what date you'd like (we don't teach on Wednesdays or Sundays) and if your chosen date is available, it will be reserved for you. If it isn't available, you'll be given a range of other dates to choose from.

This taster session is aimed at the absolute beginner who wants to experience woodturning for the first time, or, if they are already turning, to get help with a specific aspect of the craft which they may be experiencing some difficulty with. For those who simply want to experience the fun of woodturning, without any plan to develop it as a hobby or career, the session will have an emphasis on basic practical skills, whereas those who do wish to continue to turn after tuition can opt for a greater emphasis on tool technique. At the end of each session, every student will come away with a finished piece of work.

Cancellation and a full refund can be obtained up to 2 weeks before the course starts. Start dates may be amended on request.

What's included in the price?

The cost of each course includes all materials and finishes required, along with all PPE. Tea, coffee etc will be available within the price of the course.

Students are required to wear clothing which is either close-fitting, or can be fastened. Those with long hair will be required to wear a suitable hat/cap, or to wear their hair tied back. Prior to the session, Les will contact each student to exchange ideas and information so that your course can be structured to your needs and wishes.


Les Symonds at Pren


2 Cae Bach
LL23 7TF

Suitable for

  • Adults
  • Hearing impaired
  • Intermediate level
  • Parking provided
  • Public transport
  • Seniors
  • Suitable for beginners
  • Wheelchair users


3 hours (9:30am to 12:30pm)

Gold Badge
What does this mean?

This craft course provider has been awarded Gold status for receiving 10 or more 5 star ratings from previous students.

The Students' Choice award ensures that course providers get recognised for their efforts in the teaching and practice of UK craft.

They also allow tutors to gain valuable feedback on their courses and for new students to find the course that's right for them.

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In-person course
Mervyn Daniel - - #19269

My introduction to wood turning allowed me to create a very attractive bowl from a simple block of oak. Les explained the pros and cons of different woods, the basics of the various equipment we used and the choices available to finish the bowl. He guided me through the various production stages while allowing me plenty of hands on experience. Les was a great teacher and we had some fun. I can thoroughly recommend the experience which, now that I am retired, has left me seriously considering buying a starter kit (and returning to Bala to have some more coaching).

In-person course
Tom Birley - - #12993

i took my girlfriend lizzi to go and do an introduction into woodturning as it is something i have got interest in. Les was kind, encouraging and a great teacher. He demonstrated his vast knowledge of the tools and how to use them correctly as well as his knowledge of wood. He gave us lots of opportunities to use the tools and if we were struggling he would come and give us extra support when doing more challenging techniques. i got to experiment with beading techniques on my sycomore wooden bowl whilst Lizzi made a fruit bowl out of walnut wood with some scorched lines. We were both incredibly proud of the product we made. Overall, we have thoroughly enjoyed our experience, would recommend it to anyone looking to learn a new skill. We are definitely going back to seeing Les again. Thank you Les you were brilliant

In-person course
Caroline - - #12972

I took my son to a Wood Turning Taster Session with Les and he had an absolutely fantastic time. He made a bowl out of oak, scorched it and lime waxed it. He loved being able to use the machines and coming home with something to show for his efforts.

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