Todmorden is set to host a major EU natural building event

Todmorden Town Hall
Todmorden Town Hall

As part of the EU Interreg project UpStraw, the Todmorden based School of Natural Building is set to host the tenth biennial European Straw Bale Gathering.

The conference, which this year has a theme of Public Buildings made from straw, will feature a range of topics including building with pre-fabricated modular panels, case studies of large public buildings and more.

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The organisation has been a typical Todmorden-wide community venture, with collaborators from Incredible Edible, with Mary Clear opening the conference, local catering businesses contributing to the food, and other local businesses offering accommodation, with the UCVR (Upper Calder Valley Renaissance) providing a campsite.

Eagle’s Crag Brewery is providing a special Strawb Ale Goddess beer for the occasion, available in limited edition bottles.

The gathering is a four day event, which takes place from Thursday, August 15 to Sunday, August 18, which will take place at various venues across the town including The Hippodrome Theatre, Todmorden College and Todmorden Town Hall.

The first day is taken up with tours of local strawbale buildings, either a whole day tour of five public strawbale buildings, or a shorter Todmorden-based tour. The next three days (Friday to Sunday) will be held at the Hippodrome theatre for speakers and Todmorden College for workshops and demonstrations.

Todmorden Mayor Ken White will be addressing the Conference at 9.30am on Frida, August 16 and local MEP Majid Majid will be speaking at 1.30pm on Friday 16during a lunch at Todmorden Town Hall.

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There will also be a Lego model building competition where participants can use their creative skills to build “something that combats climate change”.

The School of Natural Building (SNaB), a not-for-profit enterprise, was set up by Barbara Jones and Eileen Sutherland of Straw Works in 2014 to train people to a high standard in the use of natural materials.

Speaking of what straw is like as a material, Barbara, the Director of the School of Natural Building, said: “Straw is an excellent material for building and insulating new and existing buildings.

"Straw is CO2 neutral because CO2 is stored in straw during growth, widely available, fully recyclable and has a rapid growth cycle, No other material can combat climate change to the same extent.

“Straw is warm in winter and cool for ever!”

For more information on the event and to buy tickets visit.

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