Purbeck stone carvers to demonstrate craft at Corfe Castle

Keeping the local tradition alive, Burngate Purbeck Stone Centre based in Langton Matravers is offering visitors to National Trust’s Corfe Castle in Dorset, the chance to have a go at the heritage skill of stone carving.

There will also be demonstrations and talks about Purbeck stone in the castle grounds on Saturday 4th, Sunday 5th and Bank Holiday Monday 6th May 2024, between 10 am and 4.30 pm.

Have a go carving at Corfe Castle

Have a go at stone carving in the shadow of Corfe Castle

Building material used across Purbeck

Purbeck stone not only shapes the geographical contours of the Isle of Purbeck, but has also been a main source of employment and a mainstay of the local economy for centuries.

It is used as a building material across the local landscape but also for some of the most iconic buildings in the UK including Westminster Abbey, St Paul’s, Windsor Castle, Hampton Court and Dover Castle.

However throughout the village of Corfe Castle and of course the ruins of the National Trust owned castle, the use of Purbeck stone is everywhere!

So it’s probably one of the best locations to learn all about Purbeck stone and how to traditionally carve it into decorative items.

Have a go carving at Corfe Castle

Burngate Purbeck Stone Centre will be giving people a chance to learn all about stone carving

Have a go carving at Corfe Castle

Hands-on approach to learning

Teaching stone carving to people of all ages and abilities

The Burngate Purbeck Stone Centre, a small charitable trust based at nearby Langton Matravers, specialises in teaching stone carving to people of all ages and abilities.

The team will be giving visitors to Corfe Castle the chance to get hands-on with carving Purbeck stone while contributing to a larger piece, which will be put on display by the National Trust when it is finished.

Those taking part in the free activity, must be over 8 years old, wear closed toe shoes, with safety equipment, materials and guidance provided.

There will also be demonstrations of mediaeval tile making in a 15th century style timber frame workshop in the grounds of the castle on Monday 6th May 2024 from 10 am to 12.30 pm.

A new family trail at the castle called Rooted in the Ruins, that explores the wildflowers and wildlife at the castle through the ages, runs daily through to Thursday 18th July 2024 from 10 am to 5 pm.

Have a go carving at Corfe Castle

As well as stone carving there will be mediaeval tile making as well on the bank holiday Monday

“It’s very addictive!”

National Trust senior experience officer at Corfe Castle, Eoin McDowell said:

“Stone masons shaped Corfe Castle into the home it once was, and we’re excited to be able to give our visitors a taste of this skill. Just be warned – it’s very addictive!

“For visitors of all ages, we have a new family trail, ‘Rooted in the Ruins’ which will take families to all areas of the castle to earn a coveted conservation coin. We’d love to see you here.”

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