• Back To Basics: Cottage Industries

    If you’ve ever fancied having a go at hedge-making, turning out a tailor-made brogue or churning out your very own cheese, read on…


Skill:  Everyday Cooking Essentials
Location: Edinburgh New Town Cookery School, Edinburgh – Scotland
Cost: £435

For some old school, no nonsense, back to basics cookery, enroll on an Edinburgh New Town Cookery School Essentials class. The three-day long course takes you through everything the everyday cook needs to know. Ditch the ready meals and pick up new skills in pastry making, roasting, bread making, fish and vegetable cooking and cake making. There’s also an opportunity to sharpen your knife skills.

Find out more: www.entcs.co.uk/3-day-cookery-essentials

Skill:  Foraging, prepping and cooking wild food
Location: Wild Food School, Lostwithiel – Cornwall
Cost: From £30 per person for a half day course

Our woodlands and countryside are home to a whole host of wild edible food to cook and enjoy eating. So why not get back to nature with the Wild Food School’s foraging and cookery guides? The courses will teach you how to find edible foraged items and prepare and cook them safely. Try an introductory half day or spend 3 – 4 days in Cornwall exploring the beautiful coastline and its tasty treats.

Find out more: wildfoodschool.co.uk

Skill:  Cheese, Butter and Yoghurt Making
Location: Ballymaloe Cookery School, County Cork – Ireland
Cost: €135

Get up early for this half day course in dairy products at the Ballymaloe Cookery School and help milk the Jersey cows who provide the milk used in the recipes later in the day. This short class will leave you with all the knowledge and skills need to make your own cheese, yoghurts and butter. You’ll also be taught how to add flavour and additional ingredients and resurrect one of our oldest cooking crafts.

Find out more: www.ballymaloe.com


Skill:  Shoe making & Boot Making
Location: Green Shoes, Moretonhampstead – Devon
Cost: £275 & £650 respectively

Green Shoes run a series of shoe and boot making weekends and workshops from April – September. These courses have everything you’ll need in order to make your own handmade boots, including leather or vegan materials. The workshops are small (a maximum of 5 people) ensuring you’ll be able to ask for plenty of help and guidance while you make your unique footwear.

Find out more: www.greenshoes.co.uk/shoemaking_workshops

Skill:  Sandal Making
Location: Prescott & Mackay – London, USA & Australia
Cost: Various

Learn to make your own pair of moccasins or sandals with Prescott & Mackay’s unique range of courses. Private tuition is available if you want to tailor your lessons to a specific skill, alongside weekend workshops and evening classes. As well as shoe making, they also offer shoe factory tours and bag and belt making.

Find out more: www.prescottandmackay.co.uk

Skill:  Historical Shoe Making Courses
Location: Dursley, Gloucestershire – England
Cost: £550 (including board and lodging)

Primarily aimed at historical re-enactment enthusiasts, Sarah Juniper’s shoemaking courses offer beginners to chance to make a pair of shoes from start to finish. Using her tools and lasts you can craft a pair of medieval turnshoes and learn the basics of stitching, closing, lasting and inseaming.

Find out more: www.sarahjuniper.co.uk/courses

All images courtesy of Green Shoes


Skill:  Basic Home DIY
Location: Trill Farm, Axminster – Devon
Cost: £70

Learn a variety of DIY basics on this one day course in Devon. Held at Romy Fraser’s (the founder of Neal’s Yard Remedies) organic farm, the course takes you through all those niggling little home improvement tasks that need doing: Curtain hanging, putting up shelves, drilling, hanging pictures, prepping walls for painting and much more.

Find out more: www.thegoodlifecentre.co.uk

Skill:  Rustic Furniture Making
Location: Greenwood Days, Ferrers Centre – Leicestershire
Cost: £190

Design and create your own simple garden chair and learn the traditional craft of greenwood furniture making. Unseasoned willow and hazel, plus a selection of modern day tools and fastenings, are used to the furniture under the guidance of Spencer Jenkins who has been using these methods for 15 years. All the tools you’ll need are provided plus a homemade lunch.

Find out more: www.greenwooddays.co.uk

Skill:  Hedge Laying
Location: Humble By Nature, Upper Meend Farm, Monmouth – Wales
Cost: £95-£105 (TBC)

Learn to create a living natural boundary to your garden (or field) on this day long course in the ancient craft of hedge-laying on a farm owned by TV’s Kate Humble. Resident farmer Tim will take you through the basics of preparing the ground, cutting stakes and bindings and the skill of ‘pleaching’ – using the stem of a living tree to become part of the hedge.

Find out more: www.humblebynature.com

Featured Image – Mark Spurgeon