How you can gain natural building skills for your own build for free, and help put up affordable, natural, community buildings

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Posted Feb 20 2018 by Adrian Leaman of Wholewoods

Some great ideas from Adrian at Wholewoods. Below are several ways that you can get your hands dirty and gain natural building skills for free, whilst helping to erect beautiful, affordable, natural buildings for schools, charities or educational organisations. He’d like to see natural building apprenticeships and even a revival of ‘journeymen’ builders, and we’d like to help him. Over to Adrian.


We can help you if you’re interested in building your own natural home (see ‘guided self-build’, below). In the meantime, we can also help you gain essential natural building skills for free, for example:

Build Camp
A Roundhouse Frame Build
Level – Good level of fitness and strength
Cost – Free
Date – June 12th – 22nd 2018
Duration – 2 weeks
Venue – The Woodyard, Duchy Home Farm, Gloucestershire

Build Camp is a volunteers’ working holiday and training camp. It’s open to anyone regardless of ability or income. Help us build a reciprocal roundhouse timber frame to be used as an outdoor classroom, at a charitable organisation or school. We’ll be working as a team and spend some time developing your tools technique and greenwood building knowledge. Together we’ll continue refining the ultimate roundhouse design, our team-work, and outdoor living skills.

Many educational organisations are short of funds to develop outdoor classrooms for forest school or nature based learning and don’t have the space to host our Free-Build camp. Your volunteering means we can help these schools too by cutting an entire frame and doing a first assembly at the Woodyard. We’ll deliver and install it later in the year.

Catered evening meals will cost £90 / 2wks and this is also the deposit. Camping is included.

If you would like to be involved please email me including RELEVANT EXPERIENCE, AGE and a BIT ABOUT YOURSELF as we like to have a mixture of ability, gender and age.

On site at a natural building camp involving cordwood construction


Free Build
A Community Building Camp
Level – Skilled
Date – TBC
Duration – 2-4 wks TBC
Project – A full build – TBC
Price – Free
Client – Charity or school, TBC

An opportunity to make the most mind bogglingly beautiful natural buildings affordable for schools, charities, community groups, trusts and pubic organisations who put other people and the environment first. This is a REAL, FULL BUILD on-site, so we need everyone to be physically fit, strong and competent with tools.

Free build is not a course but we have all come to learn as well as give. Your participation assists the charity, community group or school accomplish the building of their dreams. The main currency is your physical work and every participant pays only for food which is £40 per week to cover the costs of Katherine cooking our evening meals. This is also your deposit to book a place.

We ask a minimum commitment of two weeks and we’ll all be camping together on-site for the duration. We are now taking expressions of interest for the next camp for 2018. BUT do not have a project booked yet!

If you would like to be involved please email me including RELEVANT EXPERIENCE, AGE and a BIT ABOUT YOURSELF as we like to have a mixture of ability, gender and age. If you are keen to get going and there’s no Free Build in the pipeline book on the Build Camp anyway.


Build Leaders
Service – Mentoring
Subject – Personal  Development
Duration – Ongoing
Level – Experienced
Cost – Free

Shape the future of Community Building, host builds in your own community or develop your own social project.

We may well end up charging for the Build Leader Program but at the moment this is simply an on-going, informal mentoring relationship. The purpose is to continue developing your practical, project-management and people skills for community benefit. There’s no formal curriculum, no time scale and no need to apply. You will have already been on our Roundwood Timber Framing Course and taken on responsibility during Free Build.


Guided Self-Build
Service – Professional Guidance
Project – Your Self-Build Project
Cost – Quote on request
Location – At your site

If you’re ready to start self-building we can help with design, source timber, or just be there to raise the frame. As much or as little help as you need. We have 2 fixed-rate programs, but can also help you on a day rate.

Contact us now if you want to start planning your build ⇒ Click Here.