About Allerford Forge

Allerford Forge Quaint Workshop

The blacksmith’s workshop, as it has been for hundreds of years.

A beautiful stone-built property, Allerford Forge is owned by the National Trust and kept as a traditional blacksmith’s forge.

The forge is situated in the heart of the beautiful village of Allerford in Somerset, which makes up part of the National Trust’s Holnicote Estate, on the edge of the stunning Exmoor National Park.

Dating back to the 17th century, the forge has been an important part of life for many people living in West Somerset for hundreds of years.

Allerford Forge coal forge

Blacksmith’s tongs hanging in front of the coal forge at Allerford Forge, the home of West Country Blacksmiths.

Allerford Forge consists of two stone buildings. The larger building, set just back from the road and backing on to the stream, was originally the village farrier’s workshop, while the second building was the local cobbler’s shop. At that time the village blacksmith occupied a building a stone’s throw away, which is now a private house.

Today the large building serves as a traditional blacksmith’s workshop. The original coal forge remains the hub of workshop activity, as the new generation of blacksmiths use the skills passed down to them by their predecessors who worked the forge in days gone by. The smaller building houses the blacksmith’s gallery, as well as the office and drawing-room. Both buildings retain their rustic charm, with the majority of the original features still intact, such as the rings on the wall to which horses would have been tied while being shod.

Joe Davis working at Allerford Forge 1940

Joe Davis working at Allerford Forge, 1940.

This recently found picture from 1940 shows a young Joe Davis, aged only 16, shoeing a horse as part of his apprenticeship while working at Allerford Forge under E. Kent & Son.

Sadly, at the start of the 21st century the forge sat empty for over five years, with locals worrying that another local trade had gone and a small piece of traditional rural life had been lost. But today the forge has a new lease of life and is working once more, under the custodianship and guidance of local brothers Kyle and Kieren Roberts. Their team at Allerford Forge features some of the country’s leading blacksmiths as well as expert metalworkers, engineers and designers, whose skill and experience enable West Country Blacksmiths to produce the very best quality metalwork.

A picture of Edward Kent and wife outside Allerford Forge in 1950.

A picture of Edward Kent and wife outside Allerford Forge in 1950. The forge was under the custodianship of the Kent family for decades.

The future of the forge is in good hands, with the team continuing to build on its excellent reputation both locally and nationally. At the same time, it is training a new local group of apprentices to grow both the team itself and the wider network of highly skilled local tradesmen.

West Country Blacksmiths plan to stay at Allerford Forge long-term and have an agreement in place with the National Trust, who are ‘proud’ to be associated with the team. In partnership with the Trust, we continue to look at ways to develop what we have, and through this ongoing relationship it is hoped that the art of blacksmithing will remain in Allerford for future generations of local tradesmen and visitors alike.

Working in the Forge

Head blacksmith Dominic Hesp at work at Allerford Forge, where 35 years prior to this photograph he served his apprenticeship.

 

Ted Hooper at work restoring a cart wheel at Allerford Forge. Photo believed to have been taken around the 1970's

Ted Hooper at work restoring a cart wheel at Allerford Forge. Photo believed to have been taken around the 1970′s