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The Rural Crafts Centre

The National School of Blacksmithing, Farriery, Metalwork and Welding Courses

Offering Blacksmithing courses, Farriery courses and courses in Metalwork and Welding, the Centre for Rural Crafts was officially opened in May 2000. This £1.5 million development provides a state of the art building for the traditional craft training of Blacksmithing and Farriery.

Herefordshire and Ludlow College has a long-standing reputation for its Blacksmithing and Farriery work. Trainees are recruited on a national basis and close relationships have been developed with national organisations of the crafts, these include the Worshipful Company of Blacksmiths, British Artists Blacksmiths Association, and the Worshipful Company of Farriers.

These training specialisms have enhanced the reputation of the City and County of Hereford for the last 50 years. The substantial number of students recruited each year has also contributed to the local economy. Currently over 300 Farriery and Blacksmithing trainees attend each year making the Centre for Rural Crafts the largest training centre in the country for this area of work. Retention and achievement are both high with the majority of students eventually achieving their ambition of running their own business.

Training undertaken by all of these students is very rigorous and covers all aspects of the individual crafts. Blacksmiths are involved with the commissioning, designing and making of objects in metal, eg. gates, railings, furniture. The Blacksmithing and Metal work courses are based on full time attendance with the opportunity to progress from the EdExcel/BTEC First Diploma to Degree level.

Farriers are concerned with horse shoeing which involves in-depth knowledge of anatomy and horse locomotion, as well as having the necessary forging skills to make and fit shoes. Farriery students undertake a four-year apprenticeship under an Approved Training Farrier, balancing blocks of training at the Centre with work-based experience.

The Centre for Rural Crafts boasts the following facilities:

  • The largest training based forge in Europe 
  • Over 1900 square metres of work area
  • Teaching block with classrooms, display and conference areas, library and IT centre
  • Well-equipped Fabrication and Welding workshop for MIG, TIG, GAS and ARC welding
  • New forges in the Blacksmithing and Farriery workshops
  • Demonstration forge

See the Rural Crafts Centre Gallery (Flickr) for more photos

You can find blacksmiths in the UK with The National Directory of Blacksmiths

For more details about the Centre call Holme Lacy Reception on 01432 870316 who will direct you to the right person.

Craft Publications

We have a number of publications that are available as downloads in PDF format:-

The Blacksmiths Craft

The Blacksmiths Manual - Illustrated

Wrought Ironwork: A Manual of Instruction for Craftsmen

Wrought Ironwork Gates

Decorative Ironwork

Metals for Engineering Craftsmen

The Thatchers Craft

Making a Saddle

Making a Wheel: How to Make a Traditional Light English Pattern Wheel

Furniture Design