Croyde Bay Camping, North Devon

Croyde Bay Camping, North Devon

Croyde Bay Camping, North Devon



This was actually a birthday gift but my brother and I both attended the course in October 2017 run within Westonbirt Arboretum in Gloucestershire.
What started out as a personal experience finished in something for Freshwell and you can find the chairs in The Getaway.


Now in its 20th year and having taught some two thousand people to make chairs this six day course allows participants to learn
all the skills required to make a graceful and strong windsor chair using hand tools and green woodworking techniques.
The chairs that are made revive some of the oldest traditions of English Chair making.

DAY 1-2

Introductions. Lots of cups of tea. Make 3 stretchers and 4 legs: First cleft from logs then using draw knives and pole lathes to turn and shape. Understand the tennon join diameters. Add to kiln.


Kick the day off with tea, and jokes. Make Side Stretchers & Spindles. Again cleft from logs but shaped more with the draw knives for speed and finish. Start shaping combe-back and bow-back sections.


Stream of tea continues. Consider shape and design of chair. Understand the mathematics and position of the legs. Steam Bow and Combs. Start carving seat.

DAY 5-6

Friendships made. Tea flows. Complete chair seat. Mark up the position of legs and spindles for drilling, assembling, re-assembling and glueing.


We had a really great time learning an incredible craft from these guys over 6 days whilst sharing plenty of jokes and inspired conversation.

Paul Hayden

Course Leader & Master Craftsman
Paul Hayden runs the course and besides an immense amount of woodwork and craft knowledge has some incredible life-stories to share and a sense of humour that makes the course really fun! He’s been making Windsor Chairs for more than twenty five years and has taught more than 2000 people(!!) Paul has designed and developed tools which are used by chair makers across the world.

Pete Murray

Tutor & Master Craftsman
Pete and Paul met in 2007 when he attended a ‘week in the woods’ at Westonbirt as part of a selection process for the Coppice Skills Apprenticeship. Recognising a kindred spirit, Paul invited him to attend a chair making course and eventually to help out full time. One of Petes lesser known enhancements to the course was the addition of cheese to the lunchtime meal and dicing the salad.


Master Craftsdog
Harry is one of coolest dogs out there lucky enough to live in one of the most stunning places in the country. He is perfectly camouflaged with the saw dust and can often be seen making a bed out of it or generally hiding in it. We were fortunate enough to be able to give him some treats after hanging out with him for a week.
Interested in trying the course?


Westonbirt, The National Arboretum, is located in Gloucestershire and is literally beautiful at any time of year. The historic, Victorian landscape and internationally important tree and shrub collection is managed by the Forestry Commission. The 15,000 labelled trees (around 2,500 different types of tree) come from Britain, China, North America, Japan, Chile and other temperate climates. Westonbirt has 17 miles of accessible paths and five national collections that are a sight to behold and every time you visit you see something different or new.