West Country Blacksmiths: A unique craft
PUBLISHED: 13:58 27 June 2016 | UPDATED: 13:58 27 June 2016
From bottle-openers to bespoke chandeliers, palace railings to helter-skelter rides, West Country Blacksmiths does it all
There’s something rather romantic about blacksmithing – the heating of metal to create stunning pieces from small accessories to bespoke gates and metalwork.
And West Country Blacksmiths adds to the romance with its National Trust-owned forge, sitting in the village of Allerford on the edge of the Exmoor hills near Minehead.
Alongside the traditional blacksmiths services of mending this and fixing that for the local community, they offers a wide range of metalwork services featuring bespoke design from all types of materials including wrought iron, steel, stainless steel, brass, bronze, cast iron and aluminium.
“We are generally seen as architectural, artistic and restoration metalwork specialists,” explains Kieren Roberts – who runs the business alongside brother Kyle.
The forge itself is owned by the National Trust and sat empty before the blacksmiths took it on five years ago. The forge includes a separate building, which acts as a gallery displaying pictures of previous projects and a small selection of metalwork to buy, including their fantastic leaf bottle opener (the perfect Father’s Day gift!). “The main building housing the forge dates back to the 17th century where we continue the unique craft using the traditional coal forge and traditional tools and techniques alongside more modern tools and design equipment,” explains Kieren.
Kieren and Kyle employee a team of local metalworkers and apprentices. Their work has taken them from Scotland to Cornwall but their projects are mostly found in Devon and Somerset – as well as London where they completed their most prestigious project to date at Kensington Palace where they made and installed hundreds of metres of estate railing and gates - and repaired large amounts of the historic listed railing. Unsurprisingly they regularly work on local authority, National Trust and English Heritage projects. But much of their time is spent on smaller projects – from handrails to gates and railings.
You’ll also find their work at Pencarrow House near Bodmin, and Butlin’s in Minehead where specialist coded welders are maintaining and repairing items like funfair rides and stairwells.