Shipwright school to teach traditional boatbuilding


Published Monday 24 February 2014

This year will see the building of a replica timber frame 18th century shipwrights’ workshop at the historic shipbuilding village of Buckler’s Hard, on the banks of the Beaulieu River.

The first stage of this exciting venture is to construct the workshop using locally sourced timber, with the whole building process run as a community training project to teach and demonstrate traditional building skills.

This project is being part-funded by the New Forest National Park Authority’s Sustainable Development Fund. The Sustainable Development Fund is a grant scheme to encourage sustainable ways of enjoying and living in the New Forest National Park.

During the building process courses will be run for the public, apprentices and students in a variety of specialist traditional timber framing skill areas including hand hewing, pit sawing and timber framing. The first course will be hand hewing and pit and trestle sawing of the timber and will run from 24 to 28 March.

In early August, the public will be able to watch and enjoy the traditional hand raising of the timber framed shipwrights’ workshop as the building is lifted into position using a traditional system of a gin pole and blocks and tackle. The operation will be carried out under the supervision of Henry Russell, one of the UK’s leading timber frame carpenters with 20 years experience.

Upon completion of the school Buckler’s Hard will become a centre for the teaching and study of traditional shipbuilding, with courses scheduled to start in 2015. The Shipwright School will be run in partnership with the International Boatbuilding Training College in Portsmouth and will help with the restoration of historic ships to support the traditional boatbuilding industry.

Visitors to Buckler’s Hard will be encouraged to visit the workshop to see a demonstration of shipbuilding methods, and it is hoped that everyone will gain a better understanding of the industry which gave the village a place in British naval history.

For further information on upcoming courses visit:

For more information on the Sustainable Development Fund please visit

Notes to Photo Editor:

Craftsmen undertake traditional shipbuilding at Buckler's Hard.

Notes to Editor:

About the New Forest National Park Authority

Protect - Enjoy - Prosper

The New Forest National Park Authority’s statutory purposes are to:

  • Conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the Park - Protect
  • Promote opportunities for understanding and enjoyment of its special qualities – Enjoy.

We also have a duty to:

  • Seek to foster the social and economic well-being of local communities within the Park – Prosper.

The New Forest National Park was designated in March 2005. Its unique landscape has been shaped over the centuries by grazing ponies, cattle and pigs which roam free. Majestic woodlands, rare heathland and a spectacular coastline provide fabulous opportunities for quiet recreation, enjoyment and discovery.

Visit to find out more.

Media Contact:

Matt Stroud, Communications Assistant, New Forest National Park Authority
Tel: 01590 646650

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