Fordhall Farm, near Market Drayton, has issued an urgent DIY SOS plea for help from skilled tradesmen and women before winter weather halts its building plans until next year.

A call-to-arms has gone out to experienced carpenters and plasterers to help the farm complete the first stage of its unique straw bale bunkhouse before winter hits.

Time is ticking for the project at community-owned farm, which will be delayed by months if the roof and external rendering are not completed by the end of October.

“We are in desperate need of extra hands over the coming weeks,” said Charlotte Hollins, manager of the Fordhall Community Land Initiative.

“Carpenters are needed immediately to help complete the roof of the building. This will be critical to getting the building into a position where the walls can be rendered before winter. Plasterers will then be needed at the beginning of October to ensure the rendering is completed in time.”

The traditional lime mortar being used will crack if temperatures drop too low, meaning the whole project will have to be mothballed until the spring if the rendering is not completed before winter.

“We have schools and young people coming to use this building next spring

and we would hate to turn them away,” said Charlotte. “Our workers and volunteers have done such an amazing job so far and deserve to hit their target. A few extra hands would make this happen.”

The bunkhouse is being constructed using environmentally sustainable techniques. It has car tyre foundations, a roundwood timber frame construction, and straw bale walls which will be covered in clay and lime plaster with sheep’s wool insulation.

The unique project has been overseen by experts from Huff and Puff Construction and Traditional Building Skills, who have been on site leading workshops for volunteers, teaching those involved how to build the structure.

Once complete, Fordhall Farm’s bunkhouse will give a safe space all year round for its volunteers, school visits and vulnerable adults from their care farm initiative.

There are also opportunities for unskilled, enthusiastic volunteers wanting to help with the straw bale building between the 17th and 30th September.

For more information on how you can help please call 01630 638696 or email

Fordhall Farm, in Market Drayton, North Shropshire is England’s first community owned farm and has been organic for over 65 years.