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Experience shepherding at the Weald & Downland Open Air Museum

PUBLISHED: 11:14 12 March 2015 | UPDATED: 11:24 12 March 2015

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Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 April - A wonderful weekend exhibition focused on the skills, traditions and culture of downland shepherds. See the tools and crafts of the shepherding trade, explore shepherds’ huts old and new, and meet local Southdown sheep and their lambs.

This is a two-day display of shepherds’ huts – once a familiar sight in the countryside, with their corrugated iron roofs and iron wheels – which were used as the shepherd’s home during lambing when their cast iron stove provided essential warmth to newborn lambs.

It will include the Museum’s collection of traditional agricultural wheeled huts, plus newly converted examples and inspirational new builds. Shepherds’ huts have enjoyed a recent revival as modern moveable space – ideal for home offices, playrooms or holiday accommodation.

Meet the Museum’s Southdown sheep and their lambs, and see sheep-related activities including the blacksmithing of crooks, spinning, gate hurdle making, mutton cookery, plus fascinating free talks. The renowned Copper family will be singing Sussex folk and shepherding songs during the afternoon of the Sunday 12 April. In addition, David Morris will be signing copies of his book Shepherds’ Huts & Living Vans over the weekend.

Richard Pailthorpe, Director of the Weald & Downland Open Air Museum, said: “The Museum is proud to be located in the South Downs where shepherding was an integral activity, playing an important role in the development of the landscape for centuries. The traditional shepherds’ huts were largely abandoned by the end of the 1900s but their unique design has enjoyed a recent revival – huts have made a fashionable comeback for largely domestic purposes. This promises to be a fascinating weekend for all the family to learn about shepherding and sheep-related crafts.”

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