Reed all about it... farm visitors get opportunity to raise roof

VISITORS to Heeley City Farm will have the chance to try their hand at thatching this weekend as part of a long-running archaeology project in partnership with Sheffield University.

An introductory thatching workshop will be held on Saturday from 10am until 4pm and will form part of a new programme of workshops based around the farm's reconstructed Iron Age roundhouse.

The workshop, which will be led by Dr Roger Doonan from the university's archaeology department, will focus on the history and archaeology of thatching.

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Heeley City Farm's community heritage officer, Sally Rodgers, said: "This workshop is a fantastic opportunity to learn about something as basic as the roof over your head, while gaining some basic know-how in this ancient craft."

The thatching workshop links into the farm's ongoing project to reconstruct an Iron Age roundhouse.

Building work on the roundhouse began last October as part of a Heritage Lottery-funded project called Digging Our Roots, which is designed to encourage young people to explore farming heritage.

Once the walls and roof are finished, the building will be thatched using locally obtained reeds. It will be used as a classroom and events venue.

Dr Doonan said: "Shelter is really one of the most fundamental desires of the human species and some kind of thatching was probably among one of the earliest ways our ancestors chose to spend a cosy night in.

"The workshop will provide participants with an insight into the many ways that humans have provided shelter for themselves."