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10 Heritage Open Days To Explore In Buckinghamshire And Berkshire

Exploring some of the more unique events taking place during Heritage Open Days in Buckinghamshire and Berkshire this month

The Commons Feast

Museum of English Rural Life, 6 Redlands Road, Reading, Berkshire, RG1 5EX

Common Feast

Pull up a chair and tuck into a buffet-style meal of local, seasonal, wild, and foraged fare. The feast event will feature bread made using Levande Arkivet (a collection of over 80 sourdough cultures gifted by bakers around the world), dishes prepared to recipes gathered from the Museum of English Rural Life’s communities, also foods sourced from local producers. Loaves will be presented in specially-made baskets and tables decorated with flowers grown in partnership with garden volunteers.

Booking is essential

Saturday 18 September: midday-4pm

RISC Edible Roof Garden

35-39 London Street, Reading, Berkshire, RG1 4PS

Learn more about sustainability and our dependence on plants during a visit to this small edible roof forest garden. The permaculture forest roof garden has been developed to demonstrate sustainability and our dependence on plants. All plants in the garden have an economic use for food, clothing, medicine and more, and come from all over the world. Expect to see demonstrations of renewable energy, water harvesting and irrigation systems.

No booking required

Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 September: midday-4pm

West Berkshire Museum’s Cloth Hall

West Berkshire Museum, 1 The Wharf, Newbury, Berkshire, RG14 5AS

Cloth Hall

Explore a normally closed off part of West Berkshire Museum, the attic of the Cloth Hall. Only a small number of people will be allowed into the Cloth Hall and attic at any one time: please note, the attic is accessed via a fairly steep and narrow staircase.
There will be some portable interpretation material for you to read before or while exploring the attic. And members of Kennet Valley Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers (KVGSWD) will be on hand on the first floor of the Cloth Hall, demonstrating traditional skills such as spinning and weaving, giving you a flavour of the original purpose of the Cloth Hall.

No booking required

Saturday 11 September: 10am-3pm

Brock Keep

Open Hand Open Space Ltd, 571 Oxford Road, Reading, Berkshire, RG30 1HL

Brock Keep Photo By I M Jensen

Come for a tour around the historic former armoury and gatehouse, which is now home to artist studios and art gallery. Get creative with locally sourced fruit and veg to make your own prints and sculptures.

Brock Keep, completed in 1877, is a fine example of the Victorian keeps, built to aid recruitment and to increase local pride. They provided a ceremonial gatehouse, guardroom, fire engine house, and secure storage for arms, ammunition and soldiers’ kit. They were designed by distinguished architect Major H C Seddon of the Royal Engineers.
Reading’s Keep is one of the surviving few that have not been demolished or converted. It is Grade II Listed and is particularly special because of its setting next door to the Lutyens War Memorial and its original Army Depot that is still occupied by 7th Battalion the Rifles. Its original features are well preserved.
The Keep is now owned by Reading Borough Council and since 1980 has provided artists’ studios for OpenHand OpenSpace and Reading Space Studios, and exhibition space for many artists. In the early 1980s it was used as a shelter for homeless people.

No booking required

Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 September: 11am-6pm, tours on the hour

High Street Sound Walk: A Reading of London Street

London Street, Reading, Berkshire, RG1

Artists Aundre Goddard and Richard Bentley’s sound walk combines music, sound and audio drama to tell the story of London Street’s history and community.

Historic England is working with the National Trust and Sound UK to launch a series of self-guided, immersive sound walks to help people discover the magic of their local high streets for Heritage Open Days. Artists Aundre Goddard and Richard Bentley’s sound walk ‘A Reading of London Street’ tells the story of the community at the heart of London Street. Take a dream-like journey past the Black History Mural and Global Café, and find yourself immersed in the evocative sounds that capture the street’s unique identity, from the historic Huntley and Addington House to the vibrant music of the street’s iconic nightspots. Take a moment to slow down, pause and experience the high street in a new way.

No booking required – this event is accessed online

Friday 10 to Sunday 19 September: available any time

Foraged Foods to Dye For

The Old School, Old Wolverton Road, Old Wolverton, Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, MK12 5NH

Foraged Foods To Dye For

Explore the world of natural dyes at this free session for families at the Old School, Wolverton.

Join in this free, hands-on arts and crafts session, exploring ways of using foraged finds and kitchen scraps to create colourful textiles and prints. Experiment with different techniques from around the world, and discover ancient methods for adding colour and pattern to fabric.
Here they will be exploring simple techniques to create colour with edibles from the countryside and the kitchen cupboard, and looking at how some of our food waste can be used for this purpose.

Booking is essential

Friday 17 September: 10am-4pm

Pann Mill Open Day

Pann Mill, London Road, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, HP11 1BJ

Visit the last working mill on the River Wye and chat to volunteers about its history – the ancient site dates back to Domesday! The last commercial watermill on the site was mostly demolished in 1971, but the remains were rescued and restored to working order. They will be milling locally grown wheat to make wholemeal flour that can be purchased on site. The mill is small enough that a guided tour is not necessary, but there are mill team members available to talk about the mill and explain the processes. This is the last working mill on the River Wye, and the mill is set in an attractive garden where there will be refreshments and stalls from other local organisations. Disabled access is limited.

No booking required

Sunday 12 September: 11am-5pm

Buckingham Old Gaol Museum Open Day

Buckingham Old Gaol Museum, Market Hill, Buckingham, Buckinghamshire, MK18 1JX

Experience 272 years of prison life and explore the cells that housed murderers, counterfeiters, poachers and thieves. The museum is opening for free as part of Heritage Open Days.

No booking required

Saturday 11 September: 10am-3.30pm

Stories under the Stars

The Old School, Old Wolverton Road, Old Wolverton, Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, MK12 5NH

Stories Under Stars

Gather round the fire for an evening of storytelling under the stars. Experience the magic of the twilight hour, sharing tales as the (almost) full harvest moon rises.

Booking is essential

Friday 17 September: 7pm-9.30pm

Vintage Tea (& Buckinghamshire Clanger!) Dance

The Old Bath House, 205 Stratford Road, Wolverton, Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, MK12 5RL

Get your dancing shoes on for an afternoon get-together with vintage music, dancing and a chance to sample that famous local sweet and savoury delicacy, the Buckinghamshire Clanger!

Booking is essential

Wednesday 15 September: 12.30pm-3pm

Visit heritageopendays.org.uk for full listings information

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