DIY Courses at Valley View HQ

Do you, your family or friends have building work or a garden project?  Why not enjoy picking up a new skill?

It can be creative, rewarding and economical.

We aim to remove the mystique surrounding ‘Get someone in’ jobs, and encourage a ‘Can do’ attitude.  Not only ‘Can do’, but ‘Can do in a correct and professional way’ with a huge amount of satisfaction.

Our property restoration, hard landscaping, wildlife gardening and bush-craft courses can be tailored to meet individual requirements.

They are available to guests staying in Leys and Valley View Farm Annexe, and we also welcome non-residents.

Please complete the enquiry form for further details.

Learn How To Make Cider

Using apples and pears gathered from the orchard at Valley View Farm, this course takes you through the basics of cider making: selection of fruit, crushing/pressing, fermentation, use of hydrometer, measurement of alcohol, types of cider, storage and tasting.

Courses take place between August and October, depending upon harvest.

£20pp per 2-hour session, 2-6 people,

or £40 per 2 hour 1-1 session (includes a bottle of cider)

Please scroll down the page for the booking form.

Guided Fossil-Hunting Walks

Our fossil-hunting guide, Mike Sale, is available to assist you in finding your own fossils. He will outline the geology, fossil formation and other local features during your walk, and also be on hand to help identify your discoveries.

Examples of fossils you may hope to find are on display in Leys and Valley View Farm Annexe, together with a selection of helpful and inspiring literature.

The 2-hour walks take place on Charmouth or Lyme Regis or Monmouth beaches (depending on conditions), and timing is subject to tides. NB Tides times can be seen on the clock located in the Snug (Leys) and in the Kitchen (VVFA).

Price: £12.50 pp for groups of 2-8 people by prior arrangement.

Please scroll down the page for the booking form.

valley view hq guided fossil hunting walks

Learn to build a Devon Stone Wall

Under cover in the Old Stables or outside (weather permitting) at Valley View we will demonstrate the basic principles of building a section of random stone wall from the selection of local stone (churt flints, limestone, blue lias, etc), mortar mixing and laying technique to the final pointing.

Instruction and demonstration will be delivered by Mike Sale, who has 20 years wide-ranging experience in the building industry, working on listed buildings and renovating/restoring properties to a very high standard, and holds a Diploma in Project Management awarded by the University College of Estate Management.  He is currently engaged in the renovation and refurbishment of the Listed Buildings here at Valley View Farm.

This course is for beginners and no past experience is required.

Price: £60pp for groups of 2-6 people by prior arrangement.  Sessions are 3 hours and take place in mornings or afternoons to suit.

Make your own bird boxes

A course for all the family.  Learn how to make a bird box to take away and site in your own garden, ready for the nesting season.  We can also make owl, bat and hedgehog boxes to suit your requirements.

Courses also include helpful joinery tips.

Observing the cycle of nest building, feeding and fledging is both rewarding and educational.  It also helps re-bird your garden and increase the range of different species.

£39 per person (includes £15 bird box).  Minimum: 2 persons.

Build and Cook in a Pizza Oven

Learn how to build and cook in a wood-fired pizza oven on this short course.

Anyone can build a pizza oven – you don’t need any previous building experience to take part in this course. Participate in this hands-on course just for fun or to gain the confidence to build your own!

The course will cover all the essentials you need to know.

  • Consideration of the many different designs and materials you can use to build a wood-fired oven and how to source them.
  • A  safety assessment and discussion about where to site your oven.
  • The best wood to use for cooking
  • Recipes and the cooking process.

Wood fired ovens have been in existence for thousands of years all over the world. Whether you’re making pizza or bread nothing can beat that authentic wood-fired taste.


For swift results our course is centred on a proprietary Clay firebrick outdoor wood fired pizza oven sized for minimum assembly in the smaller space. Most ideal in domestic use, for when you have limited outdoor garden space or a smaller family/household. The structure and finishing layers are to suit Valley View, but can be adapted according to preference.

Price: £60pp for groups of 2-6 people by prior arrangement.  Sessions are 3 hours and take place in mornings or afternoons to suit.

Instructor: Mike Sale.  Further details from Jill or complete the enquiry form below.

Hand-Made Herbal Remedies

Join medical herbalist Sophia to practice the simple, satisfying art of crafting herbal remedies from scratch.

We’ll collect a few medicinal herbs growing locally in the wild or the garden, and get to work to make home remedies such as balms, creams, tinctures, teas, syrups and vinegars, depending on your interests, the season, and of course the weather!

Price: £60.00 pp per 3-hour session for groups of 2-8 people. 

Please contact Jill Swainson on 07802 539752  or to arrange a convenient time


Courses take place in the Nature Reserve and woodland around Valley View Farm. Jonas, an experienced outdoor education instructor, will teach you skills such as fire-lighting, shelter building, wood carving and even sauerkraut making.  

Carving could involve making a wooden spatula, or other basic items.

Suitable for adults and children.  Jonas is happy to tailor the course to your particular interests.

£60pp per 3-hr session, 2-8 people

Please contact Jill Swainson on 07802 539752  or to arrange a convenient time

Garden Building

This course, tutored by Mike Sale, can be tailored to meet your specific requirements for your own garden-design projects. Path and terrace building, raised beds, erecting fencing, concreting posts, installing gates, laying steps, creating attractive compost-heap enclosures, follies and other features will all be simply explained with practical demonstration. 

You will learn how to prepare sites and have the opportunity to join in and develop your hard-landscaping skills. Building your own garden can be very rewarding, and we hope this course will inspire and encourage you to tackle exciting projects and make the most of your outdoor space.

£60pp per 3-hr session, 2-8 people 

Please contact Jill Swainson on 07802 539752  or to arrange a convenient time

Foraging Edible and Medicinal Plants

You can eat that?

Learn to identify and harvest some of the most delicious, nutritious and commonplace edible and medicinal plants in the beautiful Devon hills with forager and medical herbalist Sophia. We’ll roam the paths surrounding Valley View Farm, baskets in hand, and build the knowledge and confidence you need to begin to use wild plants in your daily life.

If you’d like to take the extra step, learn to lactoferment your wild finds, or preserve them in oils, vinegars and pestos.

Price: £60.00 pp per 3-hour session for groups of 2-8 people 

Please contact Jill Swainson on 07802 539752  or to arrange a convenient time

Booking Enquiry - DIY Courses at VVHQ

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