Robert Somerville grew up in rural Kent during the 1960s. A childhood spent in the woods and hills of the North Downs and the orchards and marshes of the Little Stour valley inspired his deep love for the natural world. After studying engineering and architecture at the University of Cambridge, Somerville went on to run a design and building business in Devon, utilizing local wood, stone and earth. Upon moving to Hertfordshire with his wife, Lydia, Somerville began working with local woodland owners and foresters to source local elm timber and then build and raise timber frames by hand, with the help of volunteers known as the Barn Club – a group formed to teach, practice and celebrate skilled rural craftsmanship. Somerville lives with Lydia and the youngest of his three children in their self-built eco-house in an idyllic smallholding.
By Robert Somerville, Resilience.org
A craft that is rooted in its materials inevitably places you within the natural world rather than being simply an observer of nature. You develop a personal relationship with the landscape and the lives of animals, insects, birds and plants within it.