Coleshill Conservation Skills Programme

Across the UK traditional building skills and rural crafts are in decline. The increasing skills shortage within the conservation sector means that knowledge is being lost, putting our heritage structures at risk. Our Conservation Skills Programme based at the Model Farm is a hub for education and knowledge-sharing. With more than 1000 historic structures across 9000 acres, including in-hand forestry and river lands, we have a rich, diverse and beautiful training ground for historic building and rural skills development.

What is the Coleshill Conservation Skills Programme all about?

The National Trust is committed to protecting our heritage. A skilled workforce is necessary to support conservation into the future and at Coleshill we are keen to help safeguard those traditional skills.


We are developing a Conservations Skills Programme, working with potential academic partners, sponsors and those who would like to run courses. We are also engaging with local traditional building and craft specialists and well as architects, education facilities and National Trust staff.

One of our joiners repairing an old gate

Our vision is that by 2021…

A range of people are engaged in conservation skills

Coleshill Model Farm is an engaging, creative and ‘hands-on’ hub for learning and for sharing knowledge. Professionals; academics; interested parties and ‘have-a-go hobbyists’ come together, gain new experiences and learn new skills.

We are taking the Conservation Skills Programme out to those that cannot get to us. Proactive outreach activities and partnership working is integral to the programme and this expands our reach.

We are supporting wellbeing by bringing people together, enabling physical and mental activity in a supportive setting and in green spaces.

Our work supports the heritage and conservation sectors

We are retaining and developing conservation skills knowledge and expertise for the future. Through knowledge sharing we are helping others to protect and conserve their heritage assets and the natural environment around them.

Our programme supports ongoing maintenance and project work by ensuring traditional skills survive and that trained, high quality craftspeople are available to the market.

We enable and encourage further research into the impact of a changing environment. We explore the use of modern materials in heritage structures to improve energy efficiency and reduce environmental impact.

Coleshill Model Farm has a sustainable future; the buildings are in use and are bustling with activity 

Flexible spaces have been created which host workshops, lectures and are used to bring together community groups.

Small workshop spaces are let to professional crafts men and women working alongside other each other in a supportive community.

The café is busy, the courses and tenants sell items in our shop and Home Farm is again at the heart of the village. The future of this beautiful place is secure.

One of our joiners repairing an old gate

What were the Model Farm buildings used for originally?

The Model Farm at Coleshill was at the cutting edge of agricultural practices and technology when built in 1854. The complex was carefully designed for the Earl of Radnor by his land agent, Mr Edward Wells Moore, to improve productivity and included tramways between the buildings to distribute feed and take away manure. The scale of the Model Farm goes some way to show the prosperity and innovation at Coleshill in the 19th century and would have been a backdrop for the Earl to impress local landowners and family friends.

Looking towards the Cart Horse stables where the skills centre will be based