Scope of the online library

The OpenFields content has now been migrated to its successor website, Food and Farming Futures

Land-based crafts

  • Bee-keeping
    • Bee-keeping is largely a hobby activity in Britain, with most hobby apiarists managing just a few local bee-hives. A small number of commercial bee farmers do, however, operate hives on a larger scale, typically managing more than several hundred colonies.
  • Woodland crafts
    • Traditional greenwood crafts and skills are still relevant to the modern woodsman or coppice worker, in the management of woodland systems through felling and harvesting, and in the production and utilisation of greenwood products.
    • The skills of greenwood working, of splitting and cleaving, of sustainable usage through coppicing, of charcoal burning, rustic furniture and coracle building, have spanned the centuries.
  • Walling, fencing & footpaths
    • The rural landscape and its local agricultural boundaries is shaped and delineated by the man-made construction of traditional stone walls, retaining walls, dry stone culverts, laid hedges, footpaths and stalking paths.
    • The maintenance and construction of many such rural boundaries and thoroughfares involves use of a range of traditional crafts, for repairs and for new builds.
  • Traditional building crafts - preservation, conservation, restoration and repair of historic buildings, structures or heritage sites demands that craftspeople are practiced in the use of traditional building materials and methods. Such typical traditional building crafts include:
    • blacksmithing
    • bricklaying and craft masonry
    • carpentry and joinery
    • electrical and plumbing
    • dry stone walling
    • earth building
    • fibrous plastering
    • flint working
    • ironwork
    • lime mortaring and lime plastering
    • painting and decorating
    • roofing, oof slating and tiling
    • steeplejacking
    • stone conservation
    • stonemasonry
    • wheelwrighting

In addition there are further specialisms within each craft.

The modern-day challenge is one of keeping the skills alive so that we can continue to conserve and maintain our vast range of historic properties by using the relevant traditional craft skills and working sympathetically with the original materials.

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About this National Initiative

The OpenFields Library is a free online library containing items of interest to practitioners and researchers in the agricultural and landbased industries. It is now a component part of Food and Farming Futures.