Practical Course: Straw Bale Building with Barbara Jones – Albion Croft, Todmorden, West Yorkshire

Mon 22 Jul 2024 8:45 AM - Fri 26 Jul 2024 3:00 PM
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As a not-for-profit, your donations help SNaB to reinvest their time and resources in more community building projects, including supporting the inclusion of a more women and marginalised people in the construction sector.

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Join us for a 5-day practical course, led by Barbara Jones, where you'll be learning all the essential skills of building with straw bales. This course welcomes folks of all building abilities, and our build sites are renowned for attracting wonderful, welcoming people, so you'll feel at home on this course no matter whether you're a beginner or an experienced craftsperson. 


Todmorden, UK


We’ll be constructing a 2 storey straw bale house for a couple in a 'secret garden' that is also being revived as part of the project. Our Straw Bale Building course covers the practical aspects of building with straw, and by the end of the course, participants will have gained both knowledge and hands-on construction experience which includes;

  • How to identify a good construction bale
  • How to dress and customise bales
  • Notching bales
  • Load bearing and infill techniques
  • Creating reveals around windows and doors
  • Making the walls straight
  • Compression of the wall
  • Preparing straw bale walls for plastering
  • and much more!


Learning with us on this project will give you experience building strawbale walls withing a beautiful, load-bearing Douglas Fir timber frame, with a focus on using low-impact, natural and recycled materials. Participants will receive a Straw Bale Build certificate from the School of Natural Building.


Barbara is the founder of SNaB (@schoolofnaturalbuilding), and the UK’s preeminent straw-bale building authority. She has decades of experience with straw bale building, clay and lime plastering, building physics and leading work on building sites across the UK and Europe. Her book, 'Building with Straw Bales; A Practical Manual for Self-Builders and Architects' is considered the essential guide to building with straw, and Barbara brings a wealth of knowledge and practical experience to every course. She will ensure course participants have a wonderful learning experience.


The School of Natural Building is a not-for-profit BenCom, set up to benefit communities, and doesn't receive external funding. However, we believe in driving representation within the construction and building industry, and price our courses as fairly as we can to ensure that they remain accessible. Our prices include tuition, all materials, tools and equipment, and daily refreshments (bring your own packed lunch). 

Price: £200/person total for full week


Practical courses take place on construction sites, which often means participants will be walking on rough terrain or through spaces which pose accessibility issues. Those with reduced mobility or in wheelchairs should reach out to us for more information regarding the accessibility of the specific course site you'd like to join, and we can assess the options together.


The School of Natural Building believes in the urgency of the climate challenge, and our work is fundamentally about supporting a low-carbon future where people live in ways which bring us closer to the earth, back into community with our ecosystem and back to ourselves. For this reason, we urge participants to travel to our course locations via public or shared transport where possible. We'll connect course participants via email in advance of the course, to facilitate ride-sharing.  


It is up to participants to organise their own accommodation and there are no camping facilities on-site. Here are some accommodation options gathered by the host: Old Chamber Camping (Camping); Aarons Campsite (Camping and camper vans); Todmorden Cricket Club (Camper vans); Daisy Bank Camp (‘Glamping’); Cross Farm Retreat (‘Glamping’); Hebden Bridge Hostel. For BnB and hotel suggestions you could also look on: Where to Stay | Welcome to Todmorden and Accommodation in and around Hebden Bridge. Other places you could look for accommodation are in the nearby towns and villages of Hebden Bridge, Mytholmroyd or anywhere in the Calder Valley.


There are limited places on this course, and booking is essential. Please use the button below to pay and secure your place. Please note that for insurance reasons, all participants must be 16 or over. We look forward to meeting you on site, but if you have any questions ahead of attending, please email