The Roundhouse Build Course

Our courses are organised around an ethos of fostering resilient communities. During the course we will facilitate and encourage group cohesion and teamwork. Building a roundhouse together is a big undertaking and can be tiring and complicated at times – by facing these challenges together, practising effective communication and having fun, we will not only create a beautiful building, but find strong connections and learn lessons in resilience.

Course Structure

  • Our courses are 9 days long, running over 2 weekends and 1 week 
  • Teaching hours run from 9.30am – 5.30pm each day
  • Our courses are residential – students are encouraged to camp on site during the build
  • Basic amenities will be provided for students during the build
  • Lunch and dinner are included in the cost of the course

What Do I Need?

ShelterCraft provides all tools and safety equipment needed for the build. Students are required to provide their own camping equipment and essentials such as work clothes, shoes and waterproofs. A full kit list will be sent on booking.

“This was hands down one of the best experiences of my life. There was so much to learn besides the actual content of the course, just by the way the course leaders worked together and transformed a group of individuals into a cohesive loving community that will forever belong to each other. I felt so inspired to come away and begin building straight away. Learning with shelter craft you are working with such incredibly capable and knowledgeable instructors. Everything about the process was so empowering for me as an individual. I’m still learning from the experience months later.”

What You Will Learn

You will be guided by experienced tutors in the various stages that are required to complete this low impact building. We expect that you will leave our course with the skills required to have a go at your own project. These are some of the areas we will be covering:

Site Overview – We will discuss any necessary groundworks that need to be done and evaluate the scale of foundations needed. We will also be assessing our environmental impact on the site.

Foundations – We will explore the various low impact foundation options and discuss why many modern foundation methods can be harmful to the ecosystem.

Roundwood Timber Framing – We will be constructing the initial frames that make up the sides of our building. We will be using traditional hand tools for the majority of this, with a discussion surrounding the appropriate use of power tools. 

Straw Bale – Various methods of building walls will be discussed, one of which is straw bale construction.

Reciprocal Roof – This is the most exciting day of the build! We will be constructing and raising the reciprocal roof and all of your hard work will begin to look like a complete building. Have a look at the Gallery for more pictures of reciprocal roofs.

Living Roof – Once the roof has been constructed we will be adding various layers to allow us to place turf on top. We will then plant a seed mix that encourages biodiversity.

Building With Cob – We will cover how to assess the suitability of subsoil for making cob, and how to determine the right ratios for making a strong, long lasting mix. We will then be applying this to the building through various methods.

The amount of experience Jo, Simon, Charles and Bryher have in teaching natural building assured me that I was going to learn a lot of useful skills on the roundhouse building course. Being given the skills and support to be an active part at every stage of a natural building project has made it so much more accessible to me. Seeing, feeling and experiencing the product of our learning and labour becoming a beautiful building was really transformative. At every opportunity the ShelterCraft Team enabled us to grow as a close community of builders and as part of the building. The connection the building has with the environment is as strong as the connections I formed with the group and as deep as our connection to the processes we learnt. Thank you so much to everyone involved!


We are living in a vastly unequal society, and as a business we want to be part of countering inequalities rather than contributing to them. We aim to provide a learning space that welcomes people from all backgrounds, identities and levels of experience.

If you are interested in joining us for a course, and have questions about access and inclusion, you can get in touch with us directly here. As part of our access policy, we are offering concessionary places and instalment payments to those who need them. If you want to know more about concessionary places, you can find further information here.

“When you sign up to Sheltercraft, you are getting so much more than just access to building skills. Forming a community with wonderful people, spending time connecting to land and nature, learning together, spending 10 days in the trees. The course encompasses so many dimensions of nourishment, and I cannot recommend it enough!”

Any Questions?

The ShelterCraft team are always on hand to answer any questions you might have before attending one of our courses. Feel free to get in touch!

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