A 5 day natural building course, teaching you all the fundamentals needed to build your own healthy and sustainable home.

Building homes in a more sustainable and independent way is not just increasingly popular, but also grows more and more vital every year. It’s a growth industry with viable prospects and a widespread culture of positivity.

The skills you will develop here can be applied in a multitude of ways. Maybe you’re looking at building your own house? Maybe a career change? Or maybe just because you’re passionate about the application of heritage methods in a modern context. Maybe you can’t commit to a full-time residential build course and want to dip your toe?

Whatever your motivation, you will gain an industry-leading education to build from. And build upon.

What will I be learning?

This course is a classroom based course with theoretical and practical sessions within it.

Classroom Sessions


Introducing Jeffrey and Joe the Hartwyn tutors and the Hartwyn build philosophies. We’ll look at some previous Hartwyn projects and introduce the group to identify specific educational needs. 

Planning and Building Control

What you need to know about submitting a planning application and the steps involved to obtain building control. 


What function do we need a foundation to perform and different ways we can achieve this.


A tour of commonly used natural materials, what their properties are and how we can utilise them in a high performance, healthy, natural home. 


How we can design and detail our buildings to maximise the environmental benefits and save money. Looking at elements such as: air tightness, thermal mass, thermal envelope, thermal bridging, indoor air quality and passive solar.


What makes up a successful plaster – looking at the individual components of plaster and what effect altering each of them can have. 


Which tools to buy, which to rent and brand advice


What should a budget look like? what should be included? and how to prioritise your specifications.  We also look at the practical financial management of a build.

Builders and subcontractors

Which contractors will you need? How to get the right person for the job and what you need to know to manage them, including a section on contracts and warranties.

Open session

A final session to wrap up all we have covered and a chance to ask any remaining questions. 

Practical Sessions

Site Layouts

An introduction to reading and interpreting plans and transferring them to a building site.


Get hands on with some foundation types, how to create a budget, car tyre foundation and how to set up and lay a brick or stone foundation. 


We’ll cover the basics of dimensioned timber framing specific to natural building, including framing for straw bale insulation, framing internal walls with natural insulation and how to create shuttering for hempcrete or light straw clay. 


A chance to learn the nuances of installing some natural insulations. Including how to resize, notch and compress straw bale insulation. You’ll also experience insulating with wool, woodfibre, foamglas and hempcrete.


Testing your site soil to see if it’s suitable for plaster and working through the stages involved in plastering with clay, from wall prep up to finish plaster.

5 day natural building class schedule

Click here for the schedule.

Who will be teaching me?

Jeffrey Hart and Joe Duirwyn are directors and head trainers of Hartwyn, a company focussed on building natural homes using a turnkey educational model. With numerous control-approved builds now under their belts in this format, the key elements of the craft have been condensed into a week-long intensive course to provide you with a unique head start.

jeffrey hart on the princes foundation

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How much does it cost?

£495 Per Person (Early Discount until Jan 13th)

When is it?

March 16 -20th 2020

Where is it?

InBristol Studio, Unit 19B Barton Hill Trading Estate, Great Western Lane, Bristol, BS5 9BB.

Approximately 20 minutes walk from Bristol Temple Meads, 10 minutes walk from Lawrence HIll Station.

InBristol has tea and coffee facilities. There is a fridge for your lunch and an oven / microwave for heating up meals.
Local lunch options to purchase include: small local shop, carribean, fish and chips, sandwich van. 

Where to stay locally?

With good transport links into Bristol centre there are many cheap hotels available in advance. At the time of writing the Premier Inn In Bristol city centre is £34 per night. 

Do I need any Natural Building experience?

None whatsoever. This course is designed to be accessible and relevant for those with a pre-existing skill set or complete newcomers to the idea. There are no requirements other than enthusiasm

Buy tickets here