Help us fire up the new stove at Orchard Barn

Total raised £3,900

raised so far



A new masonry stove in our C17 barn will enable us to greatly extend our range of environmental education courses and keep warm this winter!

We're still collecting donations

On the 14th October 2019 we'd raised £3,580 with 40 supporters in 42 days. But as every pound matters, we're continuing to collect donations from supporters.

Dreams can come true, but they require patience and work!

In 2007 I re-mortgaged my home to buy a derelict barn/overgrown orchard. 

That was just the beginning of a steep learning curve to build the dream - an off-grid environmentally sound centre to help visitors, volunteers and trainees learn old building and heritage skills that help to reduce climate change. 

Below is a photo of how the barn looks in 2019! It’s involved over 3,500 people from far and wide to achieve this. What’s been learnt here so far has been phenomenal but we want to extend our season of courses into the winter months, so more can be learnt! 

Making a difference

Orchard Barn facilitates the teaching of a range of environmental practices, from greenwood work to lime render. These practices are then used on live grass roots projects at the barn, putting skills into practice. We work using traditional materials sourced from the local landscape which keeps our carbon footprint low. As you can imagine, starting a restoration as a series of training courses has been both amazing and challenging financially.

Learning from the past how to build a greener future

Buckets of ancient skills have been learnt at Orchard Barn by undertaking heritage building practices such as timber framing, wattle and daub and building with coppice materials.

Like woodworkers through the centuries, we source trees from local woodland and then we run courses in how to build with them.  The new roof project (photo above) used oak trees from woods less than 4 miles away. An incredible 20,000 shingles were made by over 70 people over 9 months!

Since 2007, we’ve worked with 3,500 people to provide them with practical experience and skills development in old trades that have helped restore barn and buildings.  But it’s so much more than this - having a shared focus builds community, positive mental health, physical fitness and employability skills in addition to the heritage skills. 

Following the East Anglian tradition of building with earth

 Here's a short video of how we made clay lump blocks for a previous project. 

Keeping warm and continuing to learn in winter!

It gets cold at Orchard Barn. The barn is still a barn, and we are intentionally without mains connections such as electricity, gas and water. Apart from occasional use of a Kelly kettle to boil water for tea we have no heating. We currently use the barn as a workshop and teaching space for more activity based learning. Most of the courses are currently scheduled for the warmer months.

Extending our season with a masonry stove

However, with more people wanting to learn with us, the time has come to expand our range of courses and this has meant that we’ve taken on the challenge to build our own super-efficient masonry stove with clay lump blocks. When its finished it will be a huge thermal heat sink with heated benches that will stay warm for 24 hours on a single firing (making good use of all our wood off-cuts).  

The challenges of when old meets new ...

We've made a start with our home made materials - old and new clay lump block and earth mortar! However the requirements of the modern world are having to be met. This has meant we've had to purchase fire bricks for the inside, new flue, fire doors and most expensive of all (for safety reasons) professionally erected scaffolding. All of these costs have pushed our masonry stove costs way over budget, and that's where we need your help.

How you can help

Volunteers and members of our wider community have made or donated rewards that are both beautifully made or totally exclusive to this campaign. These are available to buy on our Rewards page, alternatively all donations are gratefully received too. If you are really keen to help, you can also create your own fundraising page like Gemma who is shaving her head for Orchard Barn. Please get in touch to ask how. 

On behalf of future visitors, volunteers and trainees, I'd like to thank-you for your help enabling us to fire up our environmentally sounds and beautiful stove and for enabling us to keep warm and continue learning over the coming winters.  

More about the materials we've used to build our stove

These are the clay lump blocks we've made. We dig the clay rich sub soil and tread straw into it. A wood mould is used to shape the block, then they are air dried for 4-6 weeks. 

Suffolk has a long history of using earth in building. Local builders have donated old clay lump blocks that are over 200 years old. 

Earth mortar

We've made our own from clay slip and sand. 

Clay render

We make our own and are delighted when the next generation of builders want to lend a hand. Here are Abigail and Matthew. This was their first go at applying a render. Naturally they've left their mark on the wall!

The benefits of building with earth

  • Dries naturally without external heat source
  • Minimal travel (wheelbarrow)
  • Fun to build with
  • Easy to use
  • Promotes creativity
  • No machinery needed
  • 100% recyclable
  • Creates thermal mass and a 'heat sink'
  • Freely available (helps upcycle clay left over from groundworks on commercial sites)
  • It's FREE

Thank-you for reading this far.

Orchard Barn Volunteers and Supporters have offered amazing rewards. 

To purchase a reward, please click on the relevant reward in column on the right. 

The images below are of some of the rewards.

From left to right. Fire lighting spills £15 (posted), oak bench £150 and elm mallets £30

  A 1-1 (for 2 people) day of pole lathe instruction with Will Wall £300

Vernacular building using natural materials 2nd May 2020 £110

An afternoon of sculpting the human form with Thea on 9th May at Orchard Barn, £25

Become a fundraiser

Want to raise funds for this cause? It's simple to get started.

Start fundraising


This project offered rewards

£110 or more

Vernacular Building day at Orchard Barn 2.5.2020

Can we learn from our ancestors how to build in more environmentally friendly ways? Would you like to learn how to lower your carbon footprint and get building with natural, locally sourced materials? Spend a day with Sarah Partridge (Orchard Barn co-founder) + learn where to source traditional building materials and how to convert them into a mini-building you can take home #extinctionrebellion

£5 or more

Greenwood Plant Labels (pack of 10)

Avoid the use of plastic in your garden. These plant labels are hand made at Orchard Barn from coppiced Ash. Write on using pencil and you can erase time and time again. Includes postage within UK.

£5 or more

Box of apples grown at Orchard Barn

Sample some of the unusual old varieties of apple from our orchard. These boxes could include Ashmead's Kernel, Beauty of Kent or Warner's King. Collection only.

£15 or more

Old style fire lighting spills (bundles of 10)

Light your own fire with these old school fire lighting spills. Made by volunteer Tony Smith from upcycled pitch pine floor boards using a refurbished spill plane . This reward can be posted to UK addresses.

£20 or more

Your initials on our masonry stove

When we put the top coat of earth render on the stove, we'll put your initials on the side of it.

£20 or more

Bramble Root Elementals

Once upon a time Orchard Barn was a vast bramble patch. To create access around the old orchard many gnarled and ancient roots were 'harvested'. Sarah has created sculptures with these mini field folk. Each one has it's own tale to tell - of decades spent mingling merrily with Ivy, Greengage and Apple trees. These bold Elementals are now ready and raring to spend time with you. Rest assured they probably won't take root again. Collection only.

£25 or more

Sculpture Workshop

An introduction to sculpting the human form using clay. At Orchard Barn 2-5pm on Saturday 9th May 2020 with Thea Partridge.

£30 or more

A hand-made Elm mallet

Elm Mallet - great for woodworkers or campers! Orchard Barn used to be part of Nine Elms estate, so we are lucky to still have Elm trees in and around our old orchard. Not so nice when an Elm begins to die. We coppice the tree and give it a second life as a rafter in a building. Mallets are upcycled from the ends of rafters. They are traditionally made by volunteers, and finished with linseed oil. Come and select right weight/size handle for you

£30 or more

Dream Work Consultation

Discover the inner meaning of a significant dream with Kaaren Whitney. The consultation will last 60-90 minutes and is available during November 2019 in Kaaren's Treatment Room near Saxmundham, north Suffolk. This is a very special opportunity to work with Kaaren. She has been helping clients understand their dreams for over 30 years.

£65 or more

1-1 Clutter Clear

Clutter Freedom - When Stuff Goes, Energy Flows - to help you get more of what you want out of life. A 2 hour workshop with Feng Shui consultant Peta Jane King. To be held in her studio in Holbrook, Suffolk before the end of March 2020.

£150 or more

Oak Bench

Crafted by Orchard Barn volunteers from Oak grown in Suffolk. Traditional joints. Ash legs. Collection only.

£250 or more

Heritage Sculpture

An Oak timber from the Orchard Barn Long House building (c 1580) set in a domed sphere made from daub. Heights vary from 2-4'. Suitable as garden feature. Collection only.

£350 or more

Sponsor the Orchard Barn Masonry Stove oven door

Our cast iron oven door has a glass panel and is a beautiful domed shape. We will add your name to our 'Sponsored by ....' plaque and invite you and a friend to come and sample our first baked potatoes cooked in this oven.

£1,000 or more

Sponsor the Orchard Barn Masonry Stove flue

Your help sponsoring the mammoth flue for this stove would be most welcome. Due to the size of the stove and height of the barn we've had to install over 6 metres of flue. We will put your name on the 'Sponsored by ...' plaque and invite you and a friend to partake of the first supper cooked in the oven (produce from our own garden).

£45 or more

Thai foot massage with consultation

Suzi Griffin has kindly donated this Thai foot massage which is a relaxing and invigorating treatment to the feet and lower legs. It promotes general well being and harmony to the receiver as well as many other benefits. The treatment will be given in Bury St Edmunds between 1st October 2019 and 31st March 2020.

£60 or more

Punt on the Cam with cream tea for 2 or 4 People

Stephen Conrad (Former Director of OBee CIC) has offered this reward. It offers a 90 minute punt on the River Cam, from Scudamore's Quayside Punting, Magdalene Bridge Cambridge, CB5 8AB or Stephen's home in City Centre. Available mid October - mid November 2019, or at times when Stephen is available thereafter

£120 or more

Overnight stay in Chekhov-like summerhouse

A night for two in a charming wooden summerhouse in a pretty garden on rural East Suffolk coast.This lovely summerhouse is like something out of a Chekhov play. You will sleep very well in a candle and lamp-lit room with veranda, and have a log fire if desired. It is in an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Available from beginning May - end September 2020

£150 or more

Clutter clearing day

Karyll Browne of has offered 5.5 hours of her time to help you clear your clutter in your own environment. Timing is10 am to 4 pm with half hour lunch break. Location? At bidder's home within approx 50 miles drive of Colchester before end of May (except January and February 2020)

£190 or more

3 nights in a Gypsy Wagon at Alde Garden

Enjoy the magic of staying in this vintage wagon. Available mid week for 2 adults and 2 small children. An enchanting holiday in a wildlife garden in north Suffolk. usual T+Cs apply

£220 or more

Sponsor the Orchard Barn Masonry Stove ash door

Ash removal is an important part of maintaining the super efficiency of this unique stove. We will put your name on the 'Sponsored by ... ' plaque and invite you along to see this stove in action.

£300 or more

Pole Lathe Workshop for 1 person plus a friend

You will learn spindle turning with Will Wall, making simple items for the kitchen and garden out of locally-sourced green wood. Includes lunch/refreshments/tools/tuition/materials.Timing? 9-5 before end October 2020. Location? Bradfield Woods, Near Felsham, Suffolk. IP30 0AQ

£500 or more

Sponsor the Orchard Barn Masonry Stove fire door

Our cast iron fire door has a glass panel and domed shape. We will add your name to our 'Sponsored by ....' plaque. Come and learn how to fire up this unique stove. Enjoy the warming up of the clay lump benches.

Payment and personal details are protected