The Bonsall Field Barn Project is a voluntary group dedicated to saving and restoring the 115 little limestone field barns within the parish of Bonsall.
Over the past few years there has been a steady decline in the number of field barns. Many are neglected, some are deteriorating ruins, and others are at the mercy of thieves who strip the roofs and steal stonemasonry to sell to the building industry.
Times are changing however, and things are looking a little better for field barns. The barn project has so far restored 15 barns within the past two years, thanks to funding from Derbyshire County Council and DEFRA.( through the Aggregates Levy Scheme) We aim to restore the barns and bring them back into valued working agricultural buildings.
Most are early Georgian, some much older.
Their rugged beauty inspires artists, writers, poets, photographers, filmakers and walkers.
The quality of the unique landscape features in Bonsall keeps the village economy thriving through light tourism.
Barns are environmentally friendly. They not only house cattle from hot or cold weather, but hay is stored in the loft space and valuable water is collected from the roof. This saves many unnecessary tractor journeys.
Wildlife live within the peacefulness of barns especially barn and little owls. These important birds are declining in numbers. The Barn Project installs barn owl holes and ledges and owl boxes in trees near by.
Farmers are also encouraged to leave long grass for the owls in which to hunt food.
Swallows too nest under the eaves of the barn roofs.
Field mice, stoats and birds live within the limestone walls in or around the barns. We do our utmost to leave them in peace.
The project has been successful because of the passionate belief in the barns' preservation by the volunteers and organisers. The funds that are raised goes to the project's builders, roofers and joiners most of which are from the village itself. All the administration, organisation, meetings, office/ internet costs are voluntarily run.
The Field Barn Project won the first prize for the Built Environment at the 2006 GreenWatch awards. We spent the £1000 prize money on new roadside farm gates and posts for Bonsall and Salters Lane. The road into Bonsall now has restored field barns, repaired drystone walls, gates and gateposts. It is a breathtaking drive especially near sunset.- ( in fact in all weathers, seasons, times of day!!)
Bonsall is a walkers dream and the barn project plans to bring out a book with 20 circular walks that feature most of the 115 field barns.
We are now at the end of our funding and have a long way to go to restore and care for the landscape features and it's wildlife. We plan to repair and re roof a further 100 barns with the help of donations and grants.
Donations are always welcome and you can keep informed on what it is being spent by visiting the website www.bonsallfieldbarnproject.org. If you want to make a donation, contact us by email, and we will send you the details.
Barns are relatively cheap to restore. Once roofed and repaired they will last for many, many decades due to better building technology and materials. We need to act now though, as many barns without roofs will deteriorate rapidly over this winter season. Don't let 300 years of history, a beautiful landscape feature and a home for a family of barn owls be lost forever.
07/12/2007Exhibition of Conservation work at the Queen's Head Cafe, Bonsall
23/11/2007Work begins on the restoration of Limekiln and Field Barn at Tarmac Quarry in Wirksworth, Derbyshire
12/12/2007Completion of new Field Barn design and build at Eyam, Derbyshire
15/05/2007Completion of third phase of Barn restoration. (5 barns)
12/12/2006ITV broadcasts programme on Barn Project
04/12/2006Architect George Jaramillo presents paper at COST A27 - Understanding pre-industrial structures in rural and mining landscapes on his work with the Barn Project
03/12/2006We win a first place Greenwatch Award from Derbyshire County Council!
03/27/2005Second phase of restoration commences
03/27/2005Second phase funding approved and secured for £50,000
01/12/2004Work started on restoration of 3 barns in Bonsall.
01/10/2004Bonsall Field Barn Project awarded £11,464 by the Derbyshire Aggregates Levy Grant Scheme (DALGS) fund.
"Saving Bonsall's Field Barns" Headline article in Peak Advertiser distributed to 29,000 households.
Bonsall Barn Project Brochure distributed to every house in Bonsall in "Mutterings", the village newspaper.
Bonsall Barn Project to feature in May edition of Peak District Magazine.