baskets course – 2 days

This baskets course is aimed at beginners and improvers.  If you have made a few baskets before, please also see our Improvers Basketry Course.

The willow (“wicker”) we use during our courses has either been organically grown by us on site here at Bore Place, or has been brought up from the withybeds in Somerset and Devon. None of it has been imported from abroad.  You will need simple tools to make baskets – bodkin, knife, rapping iron, some secateurs.  These will all be provided during the course. We also recommend a basketry book – Willow Work by Mary Butcher.  You will have the opportunity to buy a book at the end of the course.  In addition, you will also have the option to purchase extra willow to take home for further basketry projects.

As well as learning about basketry, you will also be able to talk to John about willow husbandry.  This includes how to grow, maintain and harvest a crop for use at home.  You may also be interested in our courses on Willow Garden Structures (essentially “wigwams” or “pyramids” for growing and supporting climbing plants such as sweet peas), and our information on Living Willow Structures for gardens and schools.

Basketmaking is one of the oldest crafts known to man.  The Basketmakers’ Association quotes the oldest fragments of basket making tools dating back to 9250BC.  Furthermore, it is not possible to make a basket with a machine (yet!) – they are all made by hand.

We have made some changes to our Course Program – please see our Course Update page for more information.

date:8-9 Feb 2025
overview:Transform sweet smelling willow into a beautiful and useful basket; no experience needed. Using tried and tested techniques and a variety of willow basketry weaves, you’ll go home with a round-base basket and the techniques to be able to make more.
start time:day 1: 9.30am tea/ introductions for 10am start
day 2: 10am start
lunch :approx 1pm – 2pm
please bring a packed lunch. Hot drinks will be provided.
finish time:approx 4.30pm each day
cost:£230 per person
tutor:John Waller
cancellations:we will provide a full refund if you cancel your place more than 14 days in advance of the course start date. Please note that we will be unable to refund your course fee or transfer you to another course if you cancel your place less than 14 days before the start of the course.
what to wear:You will be inside for the entire course.
course size:maximum of 6 participants
what to bring:Please bring some sharp secateurs and a sharp pocket knife if you have any. If not, there are some available to borrow. All other tools and materials will be provided, but please feel free to bring along any interesting tools!
how to book: Booking Form
location: Courses and volunteer days are held at Bore Place, between Edenbridge and Sevenoaks, Kent. Bore Place is an environmental and educational charity on a 500 acre organic dairy farm, set in beautiful low weald countryside. Converted farm buildings and a Jacobean Manor House offer accommodation if required, with walks and local pubs to enjoy when you’re not wooding! Directions will be sent to you once you’ve booked on a course and can also be accessed from the Workshop Directions Page.
accommodation:Depending on availability, there are cottages to rent on site for £185 per night (minimum of 2 nights). It is essential that you contact Bore Place in advance to book accommodation. Please call 01732 463255 or email
There are also two beautiful yurts and two cosy shepherds huts on site - see Free Range Glamping for more information.
The Basketmakers' Association
Submit your review

Create your own review

John Waller, Underwoodsman
Average rating:  
 12 reviews
 by Ally

I had such a lovely weekend learning skills for basket making, I hope I can retain some of them but also hope to attend another class as thoroughly enjoyed it!

 by Rebecca Day
Highly recommended

A thoroughly enjoyable two days making a basket from scratch. John paced the course perfectly so that we all finished, whilst providing the opportunity to try a number of techniques so we created quite different baskets to one another. A fun course with a hugely knowledgeable and patient tutor! Highly recommended.

Thank you, Rebecca - it's good to hear!

 by Martin Jones
Basket weaving

An excellent course and good foundation for basking weaving, I shall certainly be attempting to make more baskets to master the craft. Thankyou!

 by Simon
Thank you!

Not the easiest place to find but well worth it!! John has the perfect blend of knowledge, humour and patience. The course is well run with enough time for everyone to create their own basket from scratch. I was just left wanting more, which is annoying as there isn’t a class available for another year!! However I actually had to leave a bit early and was allowed to take some raw materials with me and together with what I’d learned and a recommended book I finished the basket at home! Very pleased, I’d thoroughly recommend this course to anyone interested

 by Celia & William

A thoroughly enjoyable course. As complete novices we really needed the patient and detailed tuition we got from John. We definitely had a sense of achievement as we left with our finished baskets. We would recommend these courses to anyone, and happily do more ourselves.

 by Sue
Thoroughly enjoyable

Thank you for an enjoyable and instructive course. Lots of clear, useful and interesting information balanced with plenty of practice time. Highly recommended.

 by Kevin

A thoroughly enjoyable couple of days with fun company, excellent tuition and finished basket to take home. Comprehensive introduction to the techniques necessary on which to build and progress further .

 by Martin

Great fun – even though the finished product was a bit lop-sided! Thoroughly enjoyed the sessions and learnt something – friendly crowd and instruction very helpful, even though I was the slowest and worst in the class!

 by Kate

Just a quick note to say “Thank you” to John for the basket course this weekend! Thoroughly enjoyed it I will see if I can remember what I was taught, when I come to try on my own!!  We will see what the little  fragments grey  matter absorbed.
Thankyou once again for a fantastic weekend.

 by David
Excellent Course

I cannot think of anything that might improve the whole experience. I was particularly impressed with the fact that we all achieved the point where we had a finished or almost finished article to take home. For me the most important thing was that I learnt what it was like to weave with willow. Through doing the basket-making exercise I am now able to see what the limitations of the material are and what its possibilities are, and I can now appreciate the skill that has gone into making those willow baskets I have at home produced by others. Because it’s basically a simple activity I now see how I can improve my own technique in order to come up with something that is visually attractive as well as useful. And the really exciting thing is that there is no limit to the range of willow-fabricated structures, containers, etc which could be produced with this simple technique.
So I’m bowled over by the activity itself. In addition I have to take my hat off to someone who is an excellent teacher. As a teacher myself I reckon I know when I see someone who has a natural instinct to teach, and you proved that over the two days. The work was well paced – achieveable stages well described (even though I was deaf), pauses to make sure everyone was there, examples of finished work for us to check against, an atmosphere of acceptance of those of us who couldn’t quite get it to look like it should and help us when necessary: no one felt left out or felt unable to ask for help. I cannot believe you ever get a negative comment on this feedback form

Thank you David for such glowing praise!

Page 1 of 2: