We straw are having good time at school!

A CLASSROOM made of straw is being built at Ashbeach School, Ramsey St Mary s. And the children will have a hand in building it. Work began on Monday on the Hobbit House, the idea of headteacher Hazel Lambert. She was looking for an eco-friendly buildi

A CLASSROOM made of straw is being built at Ashbeach School, Ramsey St Mary's.

And the children will have a hand in building it.

Work began on Monday on the "Hobbit House," the idea of headteacher Hazel Lambert. She was looking for an eco-friendly building to replace their garden shed, an "outdoor classroom" which has its own wind turbine for generating energy.

Ms Lambert said: "We are lucky enough to have an area of grassland and woodland attached to the school.


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"We have an outdoor story area there and vegetable plots, looked after by each class. They sell their produce to buy the seeds for next year's crops."

With recycling in mind, the school has been given a supply of old rubber tyres by Ramsey Totalsmart garage owner Colin Moody. The children are filling these with a sand and hardcore mix (hoggin), donated by Lefarge of Somersham, to provide a base for the straw bales.

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The tyres will act as an effective damp-proof membrane. The straw bale walls will be rendered with lime to make them weatherproof. The bales have been provided by Whittlesey farmer David Green.

The project is expected to take two weeks. It will be overseen by Chug (real name Chris Tugby) from Strawbale Buildings, based in Hereford. The unusual roof, which will give the structure its "hobbit-like" appearance, has been designed by the school's artist in residence, David Swinton.

Parents and friends of the school have helped with labour and other materials.

Ms Lambert said: "Local people have been fantastic.

"They have really rallied round and we are thrilled. The children are out there getting involved and they are loving it."

The first turf to be cut for the project, on Saturday, was by Ms Lambert, helped by nine-year-old pupil David Leonard on his dad Charlie's mini-digger.

A spokesman for the school said straw bales were as fireproof as other materials because the straw was packed so tightly.

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