When Sam and Felicity Ursell bought Windout Farm in 2009 and turned the farm organic, a part of the plan was to host school trips on the farm. This meant they needed a classroom for students. The building they choose was an old cattle byre next to the house with stone walls and a Victorian scissor truss roof. The farm house is a grade II* listed Devon Longhouse, complete with two ‘plank and muntin’ screens, a jointed cruck roof and interesting original features too numerous to mention. The Barns fall within the curtilage of the house which meant any changes to the building needed not only planning permission but also listed building consent.
The trusses were made of local Scots Pine, and the timbers had been rough hewn and pit sawn in half. They were also in a terrible state. They had been in an open barn since construction and for at least the last thirty years been covered by a leaking tin roof. Being softwood they were riddled with worm to the core, turning the timber to a sponge. At least three of the six principle rafters had snapped and were held together with similarly rotten timber plates nailed to the side. Any sign of the original purlins had been removed and the tin was held on by newer 3×4 purlins. The rotten state of the trusses meant getting back to good wood to facilitate any repairs was next to impossible so it was agreed that the trusses would be replaced like for like. The timber was hand hewn and sawn out of a local softwood (Douglas Fir) and the trusses built as to the same specifications as the original. We then also made a set of fully glazed double doors, and two windows.