cob in the community

Cob in the Community

building communities naturally 


Sculpted oven, Stratford, London


Mud glorious mud

All our cob events are 'live builds', that means roll up your sleeves and get stuck in. All take place in London, use recycled London clay and most work with and for community.

Sometimes our events, workshops and courses are open to the general public, like festivals, demos and oven builds. Add your name to our list - as courses get subscribed, fast and before they appear here.

Our project builds have a lasting effect on communities - so we are told, so if you want to visit anything we have built, let us know. 


By popular demand we are offering limited free builds for those that want a taster and fee paying / cost contribution courses.

 London clay + sand + straw = cob and lots of fun. Come join us and meet inspiring people along the way.

Cob oven building - make your own earth ovens - our most popular event

Our cob oven courses take places over two days. We don't rush our courses, because we don't want to rush you. We believe that learning any new skill - one that you can use once the course is over, takes time. There are plenty of things to rush about in life. Cob doesn't need to be rushed.

What else can you make with clay?  Loads! Ask us about our 'clay to play', 'clay to pay' schemes. 

Scroll down and look at our photos for ideas of some of the things we have made with the local community groups around London - from ovens, to heated benches and much more. Working with you, London clay and community. See 'what's coming up' for the next season's building projects and ideas.

Follow cobincommunity on twitter  @cobincommunity 

Be part of the London Mud Movement Tweet #LondonMudMovement or the 





Cob ovens - some of them

The cob ovens make a great addition to the community spaces, gardens and schools - a great way to raise funds! 

The Climbing Centre, Green Lanes, London. More Climbing Centre images  


St Josephs Primary School, Archway - pizza oven 

Meadow Orchard Crouch End can now look forward to a home baked pizza and bread. 

Forty Hall Farm Organic Orchard, Enfield

Oasis Children's Play Centre, Stockwell      and Pooles Park School, Finsbury Park 


Want to build an oven 

Tweet @cobincommunity  or call 0208 3741033 email


Sculpted benches

Details of birds from the story telling bench, Archway, London

African Hut  Primary School, Archway.  See 'past projects' for more photos. 

Rain Temple - reciprocal roof, cob circular sculpted bench on rammed earth tires, Vauxhall City Farm, Vauxhall, London


Rocket stoves and heated benches


Above ReLeaf and Gaia Gallery worked on the woodland clearance and helped making cob to build our a rocket stove demo in the woods. 

Left to right - arrangement of bricks to create the rocket stove. Temperature tests of the wood chamber and of the oil drum covering the flu

Left to right - SOAS Radical Architects and interested 'Permies' lend a hand with the temp tests - using wood chip, vermiculite and cob as different insulants around brick, feed chamber, flue and oil drum. There was little temp difference between using wood chip (free) and vermiculite (bought). The greatest differential was from use of earth (free) around the structure - of course! 

Mini rocket stove cooking up lunch in the woods. Flat breads and cumin. Toasty on a winters day and very yummy. 


Cob talks and demonstrations

Cob talks and demonstrations - for community groups from Transition Towns,  Grand Designs, London Permaculture Festival Eco Build and below a sculpture festival at  HackneyWicked

To find out about our sculpture festival 'come play with clay', working with clay from Tottenham Court Road and the graffiti art on the sides of The Gaia Gallery canal boat, fast fwd to about 7 mins


From 'winner of the best nails' after cob juggling workshop held at one of our family days. See 'past projects' for more photos


Bringing communities together at all times of year

Santas making cob in Crouch End,  London.  Cool things to do in winter months! 


Volunteers from The Challenge

The shot above is from a group of youth volunteers who came and made cob, tossed it across the meadow (as pictured) and then used this to build the wall for our earth training centre. We are both making our own materials using the clay on the site and building with it. Does it get any more low impact?  


To those that have come and come back again and again, our season's best wishes and thanks -  we loved having you. To those yet to have tried this ancient building craft - this is a unique experience to try working with London clay and stray, in London and in a beautiful meadow, please get in touch.   

We hope to get the structure as close to ready before spring; walls build and clay and lime rendered, and a reciprocal roof in place. We have been SO lucky with the weather and just the right number of people coming to support our community build. Come spring we will be working on eathern floors, renders and the cob oven. 

For details of volunteer and course days drop us an email 


cob and the community

All ages and all abilities


Consensus design day - phase 2 budding earth build designers braved the cold  to take part in our kick off design day at the Meadow Orchard. Aided by cups of tea and fine views, the session, lead by What is Architecture / Cob in the Community was a huge success. We have many more ideas to draw from, clarity and understanding as we embark on the next phases of our build. 


 'Eco Warriors' - 8-11 years build a cob oven, Peckham, London 

St Josephs open cob day


Meadow Orchard Community Build and youth volunteer day - building foundations for a community centre

This is an early shot of a foundation stage being prepared at the live build at the Meadow Orchard Project Community Building Project.


A Family, music and mud building day. 

Cob in the Community is an environmental consultancy that brings community together using natural building techniques. Our work is exclusively London based.

Cob in the Community works to realize organizational values and aspirations through a range of creative and artistic endeavours.

Cob in the Community  is made up of a network of earth specialists and volunteers. We work with all sorts of community based groups and   funders. We are a community interest company.

Traditional Recipe

To make cob take a mixture of soil, water, sand and straw and add loads of people.  Stomp away to your heart’s content to get the right consistency  and then sculpt - benches, walls, stoves, earth kitchens, animals and trees to entire  buildings.  

No machinery, no noise, easy to learn and a lot of fun. 


Making Cob   Modern architecture - cob and straw bale house

Rustic style - more building with Cob  The History of Cob - a great UK building heritage! 


 Earth Building - proud members of the earth building community

Promoting the use of earth for conservation and new build projects, providing a network for earth builders and a lobbying voice for the use of earth in construction.


Eco build training


Training in natural building 

Volunteer days, free and paid courses on a wide range of skills - foundations, rammed earth tires, walls, renders  



Rammed earth tire foundation


The Cober's Thumb being used - this helps sew the straw in the mix, increases surface area (great for keying in more cob) and increases the drying time. The Cober's Thumb is a made by stripping the bark off a good sturdy, straight stick and saves using your hands - well your thumb. 


Post the London riots


The air was filled with mischief in London, the week that kicked off the riots (sept 2011) and the Eco Build at the Meadow orchard did not escape. Our soakaway was used as a giant bonfire. All the wood, pallets and straw on site was thrown into our great pit and set alight. The flames must have reached the tops of the tallest oak branches above, judging by the scorched leaves. Nothing more was damaged, we were just a bit miffed that they burnt our stuff.

(A soak away is where water is carried away from the building via the French drainage system - a gravel filled drench - into this especially dug pit). The walls after the fire were terracota red. The clay is London clay and has a slow percolation rate - i.e it takes a wee while to drain away. The firing of the walls as a result of a night's bonfire seems to have slowed the rate that the soakaway soaks away the water. 


A 'cob chain' at The Hollies  - a great - no awesome place to learn about natural building in Ireland! 


Cob antics 

European photo competition 2014 – Clay Museum Gnevsdorf / Mecklenburg

“Cob Building – a European Heritage”

The Clay museum is looking for photos showing traditional and new examples of cob building.
Photos can show cob buildings and/or cob building activities, repairing cob walls or construction of new cob buildings.

About 20-30 of the best photos will be selected to be disposed in our exhibition “Cob building – A European heritage.” The exhibition will be shown from July 18th till September 30th 2014 in the Clay Museum Gnevsdorf. The Clay Museum Gnevsdorf is situated in the small village Gnevsdorf in Mecklenburg/Germany and is the only Museum across Europe dedicated to clay as a precious natural resource of mankind.

Your are welcome to participate in the competition, please e-mail your photos in high solution to, format (jpg, tif, png).
Please include, date of photo, place and title. Describe each photo with 1-2 sentences. Deadline for submitting the photos is June 15th 2014.


Cob in the Community and Permablitz London*

The ultimate green make-over* team is helping the The Gaia Gallery - the floating community art project crack on with building a cracking off grid, closed loop system - on a narrow boat - complete with heated cob benches. A few maritime snags over with, and we are back on schedule. Saturday 7 June 2014 - Sunday 8 June 2014  10:00am - 5:30 pm both days @Bow River Farm,  Hackney Wick E3 2TB

Sign up sign up 

Cob in the Community and The Castle Climbing Centre

Cob Oven In a Day Saturday 28th June 10-6pm Places 15 Cost: £40

Cob Fire Bread-Bake Saturday 12th July 10-6pm Places 15 Cost: £40 

Sign up sign up

So roll up and dont forget to bring your boots.

For direct enquiries, details of other events, course etc 


Mobile  07971881229

Twitter #cobincommunity or visit us on our face book page.

Cob in the Community and Groundworks 

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