Two-day woodcarving for beginners

Example of William's work (ornamental hop wreath)


This comprehensive two-day course is an excellent way to learn the ancient art of woodcarving, enabling you to undertake your own creations. This course is a fun and relaxed way to learn with award-winning local woodcarver William Barsley. It’s incredible what you can learn and achieve over two days!

This course is aimed at the complete beginner - you really don’t need to have any experience of woodcarving at all. It’s also suitable if you’ve dabbled in carving before - we can focus on building on your existing skills. The course is carefully structured to build your confidence throughout the day and you will leave feeling that you can undertake your own carvings at home.

The first day is all about introducing you to the craft and getting familiar with carving techniques. We look at methods of shallow relief carving as a quick and effective way of decoration. On the second day we take this further and explore high relief carving with the extra time allowing you to practice and hone your abilities under the guidance of the course tutor.

*Group size is limited to 5 participants to ensure you feel fully supported throughout the day. You can either book as a private group of 5 or join an existing group as an individual. Minimum class size of 3.


- How to sharpen and use carving chisels most effectively
- How to draw and transfer your design onto wood
- Which type of wood to carve when and why
- Carving techniques to bring your work to life, with the focus on shallow and high relief carving, which enables you to decorate any surface
- Tips to reduce mistakes
- Different ways to protect and seal your carvings


Course tutor William Barsley has extensive woodcarving experience including working on the Houses of Parliament restoration. William was classically trained in Historic Woodcarving and Gilding at the prestigious City and Guilds of London Art School. Passionate about teaching, William enjoys nothing more than helping others to learn the beautiful art of carving. His friendly and open approach allows students to ask questions, develop their abilities and - most importantly - to enjoy the process.

The course is run at William’s workshop in the heart of Dartington in Devon, with the famous Dartington Hall Estate and Cider Press just a 10-minute walk away and the beautiful town of Totnes only a 5-minute drive.

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?

All timber and tools required on the day. A limewood blank to take home and a series of design ideas to help your practice. Cakes, tea and coffee to keep you fuelled throughout the day.

Besides an open mind and plenty of enthusiasm, the only thing you need to bring is a packed lunch which, if weather permits, can be enjoyed on the green just a stone’s throw from the workshop.


William Barsley


Unit 4
Webbers Yard Industrial Estate, Dartington

Suitable for

  • Adults
  • Christmas
  • Corporate days out & team building
  • Easter
  • Engagement, birthdays & anniversaries
  • Fathers Day
  • Hen dos
  • Intermediate level
  • Mothers Day
  • Public transport
  • Romantic
  • School holiday workshops & activities
  • Seniors
  • Stag dos
  • Suitable for beginners
  • Teenagers
  • UK Holiday


2 days (10:00am to 4:30pm)

Silver Badge
What does this mean?

This craft course provider has been awarded Silver status for receiving 5 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
Terry Emberson - - #34840

Being a total novice and not very creative, I was surprised at how easy Will made it for me to actually use the carving tool successfully!
Will is a brilliant teacher - patient, understandable and vastly talented.

In-person course
Adam - - #34809

Having no previous woodcarving experience, i didn't know what to expect and was a little nervous about the course. I shouldn't have been though. Will is an excellent teacher and very patient.
We started by learning the basics such as the tools and how to sharpen the chisels (I'd never even sharpened a knife before!) before trying out some woodcarving techniques. Before long, I'd gained enough confidence to start on my own piece and am delighted with the final result. Considering I had zero experience, it's not that bad at all 😊
Thank you Will for a great, fun experience.

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