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Photographer's Note

There are more thatched roofs in the United Kingdom and in Ireland than in any other European country. The traditional material in most of England is wheat straw, which is now produced by specialist growers. Good quality thatching straw can last for more than 4550 years when applied by a skilled thatcher. Traditionally, a new layer of straw is simply applied over the weathered surface.

Almost half of England's thatched roofs are thatched with water reed, 90% of which is imported from Turkey and Eastern Europe. Although water reed has been known to last for more than 70 years on steep roofs in dry climates, modern imported water reed on an average roof in most parts of England will not last any longer than good quality wheat straw. The lifespan of the thatch is also dependent on the skill of the thatcher.

Thatch is fastened together in bundles with a diameter of about two feet. These are then laid on the roof with the butt end facing out and secured to the roof beams, after which they are pegged in place with wooden rods. The thatcher adds the layers on top of each other, finishing with a layer to secure the ridgeline of the roof. This method means thatch roofs are easy to repair, can endure heavy winds and rain.

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Additional Photos by William Swan (billyboy51) Silver Star Critiquer/Silver Note Writer [C: 11 W: 0 N: 18] (110)
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