Cuerden Valley Park

​Straw Bale Visitors Centre and Café

Cuerden Valley Park are building a straw bale visitors centre and café in April and are looking for volunteers to assist with all aspects from labourers to anybody with either existing trade skills or those eager to learn. Cuerden Valley Park is looking for volunteers who are committed, reliable and able to spare some time each week to help. The intention is to work on the project 7 days a week, but volunteers who can spare any time on a regular basis are welcome. The project will be built by volunteers overseen by an experienced project manager from Straw Works. The Design concept is driven by the desire not only to minimise the impact of fossil fuel energy reserves during the building phase but also to consume minimal fossil fuel energy during the lifetime of the building.

On site training courses are being organised through Straw Works and financed by the Park for those interested to learn new skills. Places are limited and a commitment to the build needs to be demonstrated before participation. Courses include laying tyre foundations, Rendering (clay and lime), laying roof shingles and carpentry (Basic skills required already).

By way of background, local materials will be used wherever possible and those selected will have low embodied energy. The predominant materials are straw bale, timber, sheep’s wood, lime, sand and clay. The building will have three load bearing straw bale walls with a curved glazed screen to the cafe. The timber floor structure and spine wall carrying the roof will be constructed on a car tyre foundation. The main roof will be clad in shingles and the heating in the building provided by solar gain, a small wood burning stove in the cafe and a ground source heat pump providing under floor heating throughout.

Environmental Education Programme

Cuerden Valley Park are also looking for volunteers to assist their Education Officer in the delivery of their outdoor Environmental Education Programme. This opportunity is ideal for those with an interest in the environment looking to gain experience of teaching foundation, key stage 1 and key stage 2 or working with younger children. The role would suit those who are willing to be outside in all weathers and who have good communication, interpersonal skills and enthusiasm.

The Environmental Education Programme runs Monday and Thursdays, though during the summer they may run sessions any weekday. Volunteers are not required to commit to any particular sessions, but are asked to support on an ad hoc basis. Full training will be provided. A DRB check would also be required which would be undertaken at the expense of the Park.

For further information please contact John Phillips either by email at or by phone on 01772 324436.


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