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Building Skills

Building Skills

Lead Partner

New Forest National Park Authority

What is it about?

Over time the special character of the historic buildings within the New Forest is being irretrievably lost by the use of inappropriate materials and methods of repair. The project aims to conserve and enhance the wealth of individual characteristics that contribute to the local distinctiveness of the settlements within the New Forest, raising awareness and encouraging the sensitive management of features.

The New Forest National Park Authority will deliver a training programme for agents, builders and landowners about the importance of traditional buildings to the area’s character, and equip them with skills in specialist repair techniques through both practical and technical training events.

The training will be delivered by a local traditional buildings expert and held at the Shipwright School in Bucklers Hard. The project will also ensure that people have direct and easy access to specialists operating locally; this will be achieved by an annual building skills fair.

The project will:

  • Create an increase in the specialist skills needed to work with built heritage, including 54 courses and workshops with 90 builders/agents/architects
  • Increase the understanding of people who own or work on traditional buildings, resulting in heritage that is better managed and in better condition
  • Provide 36 courses and workshops to include 450 home owners/guardians
  • Promote the availability of skills through a variety of media, including annual building skills fair over three years attracting 600 people
  • Preserve the character of conservation areas and repair buildings more sympathetically in the future with appropriate materials.

A programme of practical training events has been developed as follows:

  • Home owner courses – day courses aimed at the owners and guardians of historic homes situated in the Forest, covering houses ranging in date from Medieval to Edwardian
  • Builders and agents courses – a series of in-depth courses aimed at builders and professional agents who are involved in the care and repair of historic buildings situated in the Forest.

The individuals, builders and agents who take part in the programme of events will continue to use their newly learnt skills when maintaining, conserving and repairing New Forest character buildings. The annual building skills fair launched during the project will continue as an opportunity to raise the profile of the Forest’s historic built environment, share best practice, encourage access to the required skillsets and be a platform for identifying future funding options to offer additional training and skill development.

Visit the training page for information on specific courses within the Our Past, Our Future landscape partnership scheme.


It is hoped that the fair will continue post-scheme and be self-sustaining in the longer term with minimal administrative support, thanks to exhibitors covering the cost of the venue.

Contact details

Pauline Megson – Building Design and Conservation Officer, New Forest National Park Authority

Tel: 01590 646658 email:

Land Advice Service Manager


'We help commoners to continue their ancient way by providing grants, training and advice.'

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