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Reed Making for Northumbrian Smallpipes 2016

Thursday 3 Mar 4:30am — Friday 4 Mar 4:30pm, 2016

To make a booking enquiry please complete the form below. We will contact you to confirm availability and complete your booking.

Course Enquiry

  • Halsway Manor will not share your details with any third parties.


Subject to demand, a short course to learn how to make reeds for the Northumbrian Smallpipes – then, if you wish, stay on for our Northumbrian Smallpipes Weekend! The course is led by reknowned piper Andy May. You’ll be in the workshop by day, but there will be time in the evenings for informal playing sessions in the bar, so bring your instruments and try your new reeds!


This course is designed for all-comers. Cane will be provided – there will be a charge of around £10-£15 payable before departure to cover the materials cost. Tools can be provided, but you may like to bring your own basic hand tools ie. hammer, pliers.


Andy May was introduced to the smallpipes by his father Stan, later learning from Roland Lofthouse and Adrian Schofield, and from studying the recordings of Billy Pigg and Tom Clough. Through the 90s Andy entered many piping competitions and studied music at the University of York with the pipes as his chosen instrument. Andy has been a full-time musician since 2002, nowadays touring with North-East band Jez Lowe and the Bad Pennies, UK/Finnish/Danish ensemble Baltic Crossing, his own Andy May Quartet, and various other projects.

When not gigging Andy has become a pipemaker, again learning much from his father, and also Colin Ross. He has a particular interest in the study of old instruments and his current ongoing research project is into the pipemkaing of Tom Clough and Fred Picknell.

Andy became the Cive President of the Northumbrian Pipers’ Society in 2012.

Arrive Weds from 4pm, dinner at 6.30pm; course ends around 5pm on Friday.


You can book on a course at Halsway and bring a friend who can explore the area while using Halsway as a base for meals and accommodation. Please Phone for details. Halsway Manor is in the Quantock Hills (England’s oldest Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty), 10 minutes from the West Somerset Railway(one of Britain’s largest steam railways), 20 minutes from the fossil beaches at Kilve and 30 minutes from the Exmoor National Park.



Full board per person (all meals, accommodation, workshops, concert):

£200 single, ensuite

£180 single non-ensuite

£180 shared ensuite

£150 sharing, non-ensuite

£120 camping

£110 non resident

£110 non participant