Historic techniques of Oulton Broad weaving company set to be showcased on television

John Craven filming with Waveney Rush Limited for the BBC Countryfile programme. Picture: Supplied

John Craven filming with Waveney Rush Limited for the BBC Countryfile programme. Picture: Supplied - Credit: Archant

They hand weave carpets and baskets from bulrushes, using traditional methods that date back to medieval times.

Waveney Rush Limited are to be featured on the BBC Countryfile programme. Picture: Supplied

Waveney Rush Limited are to be featured on the BBC Countryfile programme. Picture: Supplied - Credit: Archant

And now, the historic techniques used by Waveney Rush Limited are set to be showcased during a segment of the BBC 1 Countryfile programme on Sunday – presented by John Craven.

Established just two years after the conclusion of the Second World War, the company are one of only two left in the UK that continues to use the traditional method of weaving to provide for buildings all over the world.

Initially their rushes were harvested in the River Yare, however due to declining water quality in the 1960's they were forced to import the rushes from The Netherlands. But now, in a remarkable turn of events – and in conjunction and collaboration with the Environment Agency, the Broads Authority, and the Waveney River Trust – the company are returning to harvesting English bulrush in the river Waveney at Homersfield.

The move soon caught the attention of the BBC Countryfile team, who spent a whole day with the company earlier this month – which saw employees spend five hours in the river and another four in the workshop.


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Anna Toulson, managing director of the company, said: 'We were all very excited to not only have the chance to record a professional film, but also to feature on such a popular and well respected programme on the BBC.

'It was certainly a nerve-wracking experience and quite an ordeal in the lead up to the shoot as our two aluminium punts, that we use for harvesting, were stolen from the river's edge at Homersfield only a week earlier.

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'There was a mad dash to find suitable alternatives in time for the filming!'

A team of eight are based at the workshop in Oulton Broad, and offer a combined level of experience in the craft.

'The job offers an amazing level of job satisfaction when you see a bundle of rushes transform into a beautiful carpet and basket; to be able to watch those rushes grow and then harvest them in our local river is the icing on the cake for us,' Mrs Toulson added.

'We wanted to emphasise the sustainability of our work, and the knock on benefits to the river and its users – as a company we harvest a beautiful raw material, yet by harvesting we also help to maintain the river course by clearing the channel of the rush and weed that blocks the channel creating a hazard for wildlife and people alike.

'We also wanted to allude to the collaboration between the various agencies that have helped make this possible, as well as the local landowners who kindly give us permission to access and harvest in the river.'

The programme is due to be broadcast this Sunday (July 31) at 7pm.

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