Straw Bale Tour Day: Thursday 15 August 2019

There was a choice between the Mini Tour or the Long Tour. 

Mini Tour:half a day to visit three straw bale buildings in Todmorden and surrounding area. £15.00. This tour will run twice: 9am – 12 noon & again 1.30pm – 4.30pm. Find out about the Short Tour buildings here.

Long Tour:whole day, with lunch included, visiting straw bale buildings in Preston, Halifax and Bradford. £25.00 This tour leaves Todmorden at 8.30am & returns at 6pm. Find out more about the buildings on the Long Tour here.


DAY ONE Friday 16 August: Straw Goes Public 

8.30 Arrival, registration & refreshments at the Hippodrome Theatre, Halifax Road, Todmorden, OL14 5BB. Click here for Google Map.

9.30 Welcome & introduction – Barbara Jones & Eileen Sutherland 

9.45 ‘Incredible Edible Todmorden’ – Mary Clear 

10.00 ‘Why natural materials are essential for healthy indoor air quality, and how they work with natural ventilation.’ – Professor Sandy Halliday, Gaia Group

10.30 ‘How straw buildings combat climate change (recording)’ – Chris Magwood, Endeavour Centre, Canada

11.00 Coffee & Tea

11.45 ‘Passivhaus Design with prefabricated straw bale panels’  – Bjorn Kierulf, Ecococon 

12.15 ‘Public procurement of straw bale buildings: a step up or the straw that breaks the camel’s back!’ – Murray Davidson, Hastings Borough Council

12.45 ‘How Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council are revolutionising procurement for smaller businesses.’ – Deborah Gaunt, Corporate Procurement Officer, Calderdale MBC

1.00 – 2.30 Lunch & networking: Lunch will be held in the magnificent Todmorden Town Hall (the jewel of Calderdale)

Hippodrome programme

2.30 ‘Building schools with straw & natural materials in Rosny-sous-bois‘ – Yannig Robert

3.00 ‘Cement-free Tyre Foundations for Public Buildings’ – Jakub Zucha-WihanStraw Works

3.30 ‘Living Buildings – an introduction to the Living Building Challenge (LBC)’ – Martin Brown, Fairsnape 

4.00 ‘The Health & Well-Being Benefits of Wood Fibre Insulation’ – Martin Twamley, Steico 

4.30 Tea

5.15 Yes, We Wood: France’s largest straw bale boarding school’ – Cecile Varache, Gauthier Claramunt & Arnaud Charles

5.45 Panel Questions: Most speakers will be available to answer questions on any subjects raised during the day.

Todmorden College Workshops 2.30 – 3.30/4.30

There is a choice of 4 workshops. Numbers are limited, booking must be done in advance in the Hippodrome foyer. 

All day in Workshop 1

  • Exhibition of natural building materials and techniques
  • The ESBG Lego Challenge: Make a Lego model. Imagine each brick is a bale of straw and build something that would combat climate change. Be prepared to explain your model. Register on the list in the foyer of the Hippodrome (places are limited) and we’ll provide you with your pack of Lego bricks- we have 12,000! Judging will take place on Sunday 18th August.

The conference day ends and you will have free time in the evening when there will be time to eat at one of the many restaurants in Todmorden followed by a film at the Hippodrome Theatre in Todmorden, a glass of wine or a meander around the fascinating streets and surrounding area. 

Film Night at the Hippodrome 8.00 to 10.00 pm

  1. Short film of North Kesteven (UK) loadbearing straw council houses
  2. Selected highlights of Houses of straw – 10 years on – a film by Heidi Snell (Germany)


DAY TWO Saturday 17 August: Straw in Communities 

At the Hippodrome Theatre

8.30 Arrival & tea and coffee 

9.30 ‘High School in Binche, feedback on the first public school using straw in Wallonia, Belgium‘ – Hugues Delcourt, Eco-Construction Cluster, Belgium

10.00 ‘Community regeneration using straw’ – Glynis Kirkwood-Warren

10.30 ‘Building as an Amateur’Richard Dormandy, Tulse Hill Neighbourhood Hub, London

11.00 Tea & coffee

11.45 ‘The STEP programme’ – Herbert Gruber, Austrian Straw Bale Network 

12.15 ‘Proving natural building enhances Health and Well Being’ – Mark McKenna, Down to Earth, Wales

12.45 ‘Case study of a straw insulated 30 guestroom accommodation building together with a kindergarten for a thriving monastery in Plankstetten, Bavaria’ (recording) – Elke Kirst, Architect, Germany

1.00 – 2.30 Lunch

Todmorden College Workshops 2.30 – 3.30/4.30

There will be a choice of workshops during this time: 

  • Community Land Trusts & self build – Kala Wild, Trustee Calder Valley CLT
  • Clay Plastering – Rae Parkinson, Straw Works
  • Two storey load bearing straw bale residential building in Paris – Volker Ehrlich
  • Fine finishes with clay – Martin Hutt
  • STEP – Herbert Gruber, Austrian Straw Bale Network

Hippodrome programme

3.30 Refreshments

4.15 ‘How to work with community groups to deliver co-housing’ – Fredi Fuchs, STROH Unlimited, Germany

4.45 ‘Natural Building meets UK Building Regulations’ – Barbara Jones, Straw Works

5.15 ‘Revitalisation of a sports hall in the Netherlands’ – Servie Boetzkes

5.30 ‘Rooted in Clay’ (recording) – Athena Steen, Canelo Project

5.45 Panel Questions: Most speakers will be available to answer questions on any subjects raised during the day.

The conference day ends but the fun doesn’t! In the evening, a buffet supper will be provided, followed by a ceilidh.

7.00 Buffet supper and bar at Todmorden Community College featuring our very own Strawb Ale Goddess local pale ale

Ceilidh with Head over Reels at Todmorden Community College. If you haven’t taken part in a ceilidh you’ve got a treat in store – so remember to bring your dancing shoes. To get you in the mood, take a look at the ESBG ceilidh band Head Over Reels here.


DAY THREE Sunday 18th August  Straw Sharing 

At the Hippodrome Theatre

8.30 Arrival & tea & coffee

Today there is a unique chance to hear what’s happening in the wonderful world of straw bale building right across Europe! This is a day for sharing techniques, providing examples of new strawbale buildings, updating and promoting the developments in straw bale building in Europe. It’s also an opportunity for networking. There will be a notice board available throughout the conference: anyone can put up a postcard or business card about their project/work.

From 9.30 onwards

  • Portugal: Catarina Pinto
  • Belgium: Jean-Luc de Wilde
  • Estonia: Mikk Luht
  • France: Yannig Robert
  • Spain: Rikki Nitzkin
  • UK: Cypren Edmunds
  • Italy: Carlo Micheletti
  • Austria: Herbert Gruber
  • Poland: Maciej Jagielak
  • ESBA: Maciej Jagielak, ESBA Secretary
  • Denmark: Lars Keller
  • Slovakia: Zuzana Kierulfová
  • Germany: Heinz-Michael Fischer (BiWeNa)

1.00 – 2.30 Lunch

2.30 – 3.30 Pop Up Talks & Demonstrations

Hippodrome Programme (10 minute talks)

‘Snapshot of disaster & community resilience with local, natural materials: Nepal & Pakistan update’ –  Bee Rowan, Strawbuild

‘Performance of a structural Straw Bale wall’ – Huixiang Peng, Bath University

‘Building with straw bales’ – Casper van der Veen, Giesen Architecturra Partners

‘Paille-Tech 10 years: what’s next? “Is there a business model to grow straw building companies?” – Jean-Luc de Wilde, Paille-Tech

Todmorden College Programme (Demonstrations)

Clay workshop ‘Elementerre’: Clay as a construction material – The unbelievable loadbearing properties of this natural building material’ – Simone Ruschmeier, Architect and natural builder, SNaB graduate

Finishing off Lego models: competition

3.30 The day will end with tea, scones, cream and jam – a traditional English treat!

Judging of Lego models.

4.30 ESBG 2019 ended.