Moray events aim to dispel ‘house of straw’ myths

Barbara Jones - in Moray to show the merits of building from straw bales.
Barbara Jones – in Moray to show the merits of building from straw bales.

BUSINESSES OR INDIVIDUALS considering taking a more traditional route to house creation are being encouraged to attend two events next month.

A specialist in creating homes using traditional methods is teaming up with a national charity to show people in Moray how they can self-build a new home using “simple, natural and affordable” solutions.

Barbara Jones is a straw-bale specialist and award winning businesswoman who created ‘Straw Works’, a company specialising in the art of building homes using straw bales. The company offers help, advice and training in the skills and materials required to build from straw.

The first home built from straw in the UK to receive planning permission was created in 1996 by self-builder Brian Stinchcombe with help and advice from Barbara – the walls and roof plate of the house, which cost just £10,000 to build, were created in just five days. Since then many more have followed – and many of the popular myths over building from straw have been dispelled.

It is believed the world’s first straw house was built over 140 years ago – and in the United States there are straw homes that have stood for over 100 years.

Anyone in Moray interested in learning more can do so over two days when Barbara holds the first ever theoretical workshops, sharing the basics of getting started in self-build straw bale homes.

Kim Sui is a founder of the Scottish charity Get Rugged: “We were approached to support this opportunity in Moray as well as undertake the training with Barbara with a view to Straw Works offering future training opportunities in Moray and throughout Scotland.

“We were delighted to do that, there is a very real interest in this method of building in Moray and these one-day courses will offer up a great deal of information on the possibilities.”

The courses are being held at the Elgin Youth Café’s ‘Inkwell’ on Francis Place in Elgin on November 27 and 28. Designed for both self-builder and architects, the courses take those attending through preparation required to build with bales to the actual build itself.

Bookings and enquiries can be made by contacting Clair at Straw Works by email to