"This was an absolutely amazing course. It covered everything from the basics of measuring and marking up to loads of practical experience of cutting and assembling joints, and even details like making pegs and identifying the correct assembly methods. We built part of a structure that will form one of the course attendees' own house which added interest and excitement to the process as we were able to see a real house come together. Alan and his sons were all extremely knowledgeable and skilled, and always on hand to answer questions or rectify small errors. I've got the confidence to start my own small project in anticipation of moving on to bigger and better ones in the future.
Beyond the teaching and hands-on part, the overall experience was a joy. The setting was idyllic, the food was astonishingly good, and being able to end the day with a dip in the beautiful but cold river, then beers and interesting conversation and music around a roaring fire made it feel like the best kind of working holiday. I wouldn't hesitate for a second to recommend this course."
"Probably the best course I have ever taken!
Alan, Mary, Connor and Sid made everyone very welcome. Their holistic approach meant that our week together was so much more than learning to timber frame. It was also a week camping with new friends, fine dining al fresco, campfire whittling, great conversation and playing music with like minded folk.
I learned a huge amount about timber framing each day, with lots of hands on work. The course project was to construct a small frame for Tom, who was also taking the course to reinforce his knowledge. It was a great feeling to be contributing to a structure for his family and generations to come.
Hopefully I will be able to return to take the advanced course in the future. I'm certainly feeling inspired and confident now to begin the journey with my own projects. Would recommend this course to anyone, whether you are looking to learn new skills for your professional career, or like me simply seeking to enjoy making things and lifelong learning."
"Awesome week in the woods with Alan, Mary, Connor & Sid. Very knowledgeable on the art of green oak timber framing, learnt a lot during the week. Great for lads in the trade looking to advance their skills, or for people looking to learn something new. The food was superb. Will definitely be booking up on next years course!"
"This course exceeded my expectations. It was well run, challenging and run by a lovely bunch of people. Would highly recommend this course to anyone who wants to work with large timbers, green oak or has a personal project."
"I rarely leave reviews on anything online but the quality of my experience during two weeks at Hewnwood prompts me to do so, if only to add yet another excellent rating.
Imagine: you are located at the edge of a small but ancient forest, on a big field of tall grass with undulating green mountains and woodland all around. Everywhere you can sense the presence of sheep and offroad vehicles. Just inside the forest amidst a soundscape of bird songs lies the secret Hewnwood base camp, a magical place of that will imprint itself into your memory forever.
During your stay here you will become part of a pleasant rhythm that characterises the philosophy of the Hewnwood crew. You rise when you feel fit and stop when you feel content with your creation. You learn at your own speed and contribute according to your interest. You eat in abundance some of the most glorious dishes you have ever tasted, enjoy consistent world class hospitality and get to laugh every single day, guaranteed.
There is also some timber framing on the side, to justify these gatherings of strangers in a beautiful, healing environment. The humans that invite you here and teach you to build beautiful wooden structures that last centuries will take care of you as part of their tribe. They built this place for you to prosper, whatever the reason or duration of your stay.
If you read this, treat yourself by signing up for this experience. Not enough cash? Ask, and maybe you can work something out... ✌️"
"An interesting, thought provoking course run by enthusiastic experts. There is a great deal to learn about timber framing and I came away having learnt the basics but with much still to learn, I plan to go again. The good company and outstanding food that went with the course made for a very enjoyable week."
"A splendid way to find out more about the craft of oak framing. Alan and the team bring a highly skilled and enthusiastic approach to teaching the techniques surrounding the tradition. Coupled with unbelievably great food, pleasant woodland surroundings and all-round good companionship I cannot recommend this course highly enough to anyone with the slightest interest in wood and woodworking."
"I had such a lovely week at the course.
I was pretty nervous about going but that feeling vanished as soon as I arrived in the beautiful setting. Alan, Mary, Connor and Sid made everyone feel completely at home with their kind and giving nature and great humour.
Mary’s food was absolutely amazing. Alan and Connor and Sid were so patient, brilliant craftsman and great teachers. I didn’t have any prior knowledge of oak timber frame building and the course has given me a theoretical and most of all practical insight into the processes involved in the construction. I worked on a gable end with two others, it felt like a real achievement to see it all slot together on the last day.
The evenings were so much fun, we walked up a local hill with beautiful views on evening. Other evenings we were around the fire and were filled with music, singing, chatting, axe throwing and spoon carving.
I couldn’t recommend the course enough."
"We had a really great week at the Hewnwood course. Alan and his family could not have been more generous with their time, knowledge and hospitality. The course was really well run with Alan, Connor and Sid at pains for us to gain competence and to understand each step of the process. Mary’s food was wonderful, the campfire and music afterwards very special... I’m truly grateful and looking forward to the advanced course."
"Although feeling a bit apprehensive about this course at first I realised when I got there I couldn't have been more wrong. Alan and his family really make you feel as though you are family yourself and teach you their amazing craft in an awesome environment. The combination of knowledge, life lessons, food and friends made the 2 weeks probably the best 2 week holiday I have ever had, especially when Alan taught me to waltz! Don't be put off and just book it, you won't regret it!"
"Two weeks of incredible learning and fun and Hewnwood has left me with so many new inspirations and a whole new woodland family. Such skills and passions that Alan and his family have shared are truly humbling and they have really made their woodland feel like a second home. Plus fantastic food, music and campfire fun! Any other course I go on from now has a whole lot to live up to!"
"The course was most enjoyable with very competent teachers who were friendly, patient and helpful and pushed for excellence. Alan, Connor and Sid clearly love their pure craft and take every effort to pass on this passion. The food was great and the outdoor woodland setting and evenings around the camp fire very relaxing. I even came back with a sun tan in May."
"Coming on to this course I only had a little timber framing experience. This course was absolutely amazing and reached all of my expectations. I flew in from Canada for 2 weeks of the course and learned many important things about how to properly build a timber frame. Alan and the family were delightful to be with and made me feel right at home. I can't wait to go back to Canada and build some timber frames of my own using the skills I have gained on this course!
Cheers, Brett Sharpe"
"Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant!
Just about the best way you could possibly wish to spend a week doing anything. This is the second course that I have been on with Alan, Connor and Sid; their generosity of spirit, patience and understanding makes them master teachers as well as master craftsmen. There is something about their "way" that creates a great team atmosphere where everyone is "in it together" with a clear collective aim. Great location. Oh, too much Cider, cheese, beer and lovely food: Si richly deserves his enviable oak frame!"
"A truly excellent experience. Learned so much in a week. Alan, Mary and his team made us all feel so welcome. Alan is a rare combination of expert craftsman, story-teller, musician, and a true gentleman. Mary's cooking was unsurpassable. As a person with good intolerances, Mary made sure that I never once failed to thoroughly enjoy every meal!"
"Thanks to everyone at Hewnwood for an amazing week! The course was extremely informative and well organised. The setting is perfect, and I came away feeling all round inspired!
Alan and Connor are both extremely knowledgeable and fantastic teachers, and Mary's cooking was incredible!
I will definitely be returning and would recommend to anyone. Thanks guys"
"Awesome course, the woods setting is fantastic and the course is perfectly informative withput being rushed.
Alan and his family are very accommodating; if you like food you should go for Mary's cooking alone!
Cheers for a great week."
"Really enjoyed the course. It was so inspiring to be in the woods building with a group of folk all keen to get to grips with the skills needed to timber frame with green oak. The techniques around using datum lines, references, scribing, measuring and attention to detail were fascinating. Really enjoyed the passion that John and Conor brought to the teaching and having Al playing the flute in the background made for a magical time in the woods. But the glue that binds the whole course together is Mary's catering which was superb! Thank you"
"This course was really great!
I learned so much in this one week about the framing of green oak! Most stuff is impossible to learn from books, and is explained clearly, patiently (and repeatedly if needed :) ) by the excellent teachers of this course: Alan, Connor and John. Their skills in using all the tools is most sophisticated.
Most suprising part for me was the detail given to correct scribing and marking out the joints, since this proves to be as important as chopping away the green oak. Again, the tricks and tips for correct scribing to curvy, wobbly green oak cannot be found in any timber framing book.
As for the complete experience: the cooking of Mary is simply fantastic! Also the camping in the woods and the nightly campfires adds to the real woodland experience."
"I so enjoyed this! To those out there considering an experience in green oak timber framing, I thoroughly recommend spending a week (or more) with Alan, Mary, Connor, John and Sid - not to mention, great candidate company. Regardless of skill level, you’ll come away with a stronger understanding of this beautiful and ancient craft. Alan ‘et al’ know their stuff and, just as important, clearly enjoy sharing their seemingly limitless knowledge through hands-on, patient, attentive, and practical instruction that, by week’s end, will culminate in a beautiful oak frame.
Mary’s cuisine was, well, simply scrumdiddlyumptious – so much so that whenever I look at timber joints now, I’m instantly hungry...
Thank you all for a wonderful week!"
"Another excellent week in the woods: great learning experience, excellent tuition, good people and fantastic food.
This was my third course having completed basic and advanced in July. We continued framing the same project; a large "glamping cabin" which provided a challenging and fulfilling learning environment.
Allen spent time designing my project for a barn conversion in Normandy which we are planning to use as a course late summer 2018.
A big thanks to Mary, Allen, Connor, John and Sid for another great week."
"I struggle to find a fault in this course. Superb environment. Glorious meals from Mary. Wise guidance and instruction from Alan, Connor, John and Anthony. The content and delivery was inspiring and clear which is exactly what I had hoped for. Meeting so many lovely folk was an added bonus. I can see why people come back! Many thanks again to the Hewnwood team."
"After visiting Hewnwood for my third course, I'm happy to say it's still the same great learning environment as it was on my first visit.
There is something new to learn every time I go!
There's a good chance I'll be back next year and enjoy more of Mary's cooking!"
"Before I went on the course initially I thought I should offer to cook in my email to Alan & Mary that way at least I would get two good meals during the 14 days I was to be there. When I got a non commital reply I thought oh well never mind it will be good to lose a bit of weight, cupasoup and pot noodles aren't so bad. What a pleasant surprise when Mary's cooking turned out to be excellent. Both the beginner and advanced courses were extremely good, Alan is super talented and what you get is a rare beautiful skill set. Most people would throw away into the fire twisted lumps of wood but he takes delight and pleasure in their natural shape and I found I began to see that too. The whole family's work ethic and how his kids are was unusual."
"After attending the first course back in May I couldn't wait to get back to the woods for the advanced course. This part of the course concentrates on the trickier roof elements of the frame, and we were let loose on the trusses of what will become a pretty special glamping cabin for a local farmer, one wall frame of which had been created by the students on another introductory course the previous week.
Alan had designed this cabin with a variety of features to cover different aspects of framing and scribing techniques, from a cruck truss lofted from a string template set out on the ground below, to the middle interrupted tie beam - scissor brace truss, finished off with a king post truss at the other end. Talk about being dropped in at the deep end - but with Alan and Connor's tuition and guidance by the end of the week we had created some truly stunning trusses!
Alan clearly has a passion for his work, and for passing on his extensive knowledge in a friendly and simple way. For anyone interested in traditional timber buildings I cannot recommend this course highly enough - a thoroughly enjoyable and informative week, topped off with Mary's delicious (and copious) food!
Thanks again to all at Hewnwood - I will be back!"