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Trees for Health workshop area

A while ago I helped build a green wood working area for Liz Turner who runs Trees for Health. It is at Combe Royal, on a beautiful piece of land called The Meadow Project which is run by Devon County Council to help train people with learning disabilities, to help them find employment locally. The Meadow is 10 acres of woodland and wetland around a large pond. People are taught conservation techniques and gain hands-on practical experience of gardening and horticulture. After deciding what Liz wanted I drew up some plans, which then went to a structural engineer to check as Liz wanted a turf roof. I am careful to get things checked out professionally if it is not an area of my own expertise, and especially when they are used by groups of people. A cutting list was drawn up and a new local sawmill provided the wood which was larch and Douglas fir.

As you can see from the photos the workshop area had to be dug into a slope and it had rained a lot during the past few weeks; the mud did make life slow going. Liz had organized a group of volunteers to help, which speeded up the work no end. We had to dig 12 holes and put a 300mm cube block of concrete at the bottom of the hole as a foundation. I thought this was a bit OTT but it was specified by the structural engineer.

The construction was simple, rebating in the 10 x2 inch planks into the top of the posts and bolting everything together. The rafters are nailed onto them, on top six sheets of plywood, covered in a pond liner.

I never saw the turf going onto the roof as I was contracted for 3 days work, and the heaving mud and turf up a ladder was done by willing volunteers.

I was also asked to run a workshop to make pole lathes and shaving horses. This took place over two days and the group made two different styles of lathe and horse.

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