Edwards and Eve Cob Building Workshop at Ewe House –

Kate Edwards, International Cob Tutor and Course Leader.


Dates: 2019 October Friday 18th-Sunday 20th – 3 day workshop

Shortlisted for Channel 4’s Shed of The Year – https://www.channel4.com/programmes/amazing-spaces-shed-of-the-year/on-demand/62942-002

Learn how to build with cob: creating beautiful and sustainable structures with raw materials from the earth, in harmony with the natural environment. In this 3 days we will learn the fundamental principles and techniques used to build cob structures, working as an inclusive team. Kate is a fun-loving and empowering teacher, with a wealth of knowledge to draw on for your future projects, including self-build housing. She has twice built her own cob home. In this 3 days we will together be creating a wood fired cob oven, heated cob seat and a cob wall. No experience is needed, just a willingness to get muddy, work co-operatively with others of differing abilities and enjoy the process!

£360 for 3 days, includes all materials, lunch and free camping if required

Local B & Bs or house stays are available to book seperately.

Further information from Ewe House community contact: EweMatter@yahoo.com

There will be a limited number of reduced fee places available to participants travelling from non-first world countries for this course, assessed by written application.

Kate says “We have created the most comprehensive, intensive, useful and inspiring cob building courses possible. Designed for everybody, what ever your previous experience, what ever your cob building dreams or plans are, we will empower you to build with cob with theory, hands-on practice”.

For those who want to self-build a cob home there is the option to book further support and/or a fourth learning day with Kate to learn about the latest research and regulations, so you know everything you need to make your cob building dream a reality.


What is cob?

Cob is a mixture of sandy-sub soil, clay and straw. It is mixed by crushing the particles together by either dancing on it or using the head of a digger. Historically cob might have been mixed by farm animals who would walk up and down on the sand, clay and straw.

Cob is 75% sandy sub-soil – we’ll show you on our courses how to identify the right type of soil

How long does cob last?

The oldest cob house still standing is 10,000 years old. Cob is strong, durable and cob houses should stand forever as long as their roof is maintained and the property is looked after properly. In the UK we ensure our cob houses last for hundreds of years by incorporating a few basic design features that make them suitable for our climate.

Cob can be mixed by foot – we’ll show you on our cob building workshops how to do the ‘cob dance’.

Why is cob a great eco-material to build with?

Cob is the most sustainable form of building there is. The materials for your cob walls are usually excavated from your foundation trench and on-site. This means there is no manufacture or transportation of materials. Many so called ‘eco homes’ claim to be green because they are cheap to run once built but the materials used to create them, usually have a massive carbon footprint. In contrast cob is  genuinely as ‘eco’ as you can get as it has almost zero embodied energy. Since cob is made of the earth it is also entirely recyclable and non-polluting.

Cob is affordable – your cob walls cost you nothing! As long as you have some land to build on, anyone can afford to build cob walls. Our cob expert Kate Edwards was originally taught by Ianto Evans who built his own cob house in the USA for only a few hundred dollars. Kate and her partner built their last cob-bale home for about a tenth of the cost of a conventional home, and are about to embark on building another.

Cob houses are breathable and healthy to live in. There is no damp in a cob house.

Cob houses require almost no heating. On our courses we teach you how to design your cob house on passive solar principles. Kate can show you how to use cob on the south facing walls to make the most of its excellent thermal mass, and straw bales on the north walls to provide excellent insulation. Kate’s previous cob-bale home in Norfolk was heated by a single cob fireplace as she used these passive solar principles in the build.

The cob Romford fireplace in Kate’s previous cob-bale house in Norfolk

Cob houses are beautiful. When you create a cob house you literally sculpt it. Cob allows you to easily create curves, and carve shelves and features into your walls. Of course cob houses don’t have to be curvy though, they can be made with straight walls and right angles for that modern look.

How easy is it to build with cob?

On Kate’s earth building workshops she encourages anyone to join – you definitely do not need any previous building experience to build with cob. Cob is so easy to work with – it is a lot more forgiving and less precise than working with bricks. Of course you have to learn to keep your walls exactly vertical but if you find your wall is slightly out you simply shave off some cob with an old saw or add a bit more cob. Fitting windows and doors is so easy too – you can add more cob around the frame if your gap is too big, or chip bits away from the cob if you hole is too small!

Can families attend the workshop?

This three day workshop is for adults only: adults and children have very different learning styles.

How does cob compare to other earth building techniques?

Kate prefers to work with cob as it is highly accessible to all who would like to create their own eco-homes and structures. It is also the perfect sculptural medium to work with. However there are other earth building techniques which are made of a similar mix of sand, clay and straw and these include clay-lump (mud bricks), wattle and daub (used for internal walls usually), rammed earth (you need to be good a carpentry to make your wooden shuttering first), adobe (another form of mud bricks).

For further information about this workshop, including details of camping options, how to find local B & Bs, travel information and to make an application for a reduced fee place please get in touch with Ewe House community:


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