Vale Farm, Sutton Waldron, near Shaftesbury, Dorset

Weather permitting, a second attempt is to be made tomorrow (2nd November) to move a 150 year old building by crane and carry it to a new location. The first attempt was made on 20th October, but was postponed due to a technical problem.

The building is a type of granary which was once common across Wessex, but which is now rare. The granary is to be moved to a new site and converted into a holiday cottage. This is a challenging piece of engineering and a mobile crane is needed to move the delicate granary, weighing over 2.5 tonnes, from its current location to its new home.

Instead of having normal foundations, the granary, which was built in 1856, sits on top of large carved stones that resemble mushrooms, known as staddles. These support the building above ground level and were shaped to prevent rats getting into the granary where they could eat the stored grain. Once a common sight around farms, often the staddles alone remain as garden ornaments.

Owners, John and Sarah Drake said ‘we are commercial dairy farmers and also have holiday cottages, but these are so popular that we need more space. This is an excellent way to preserve our heritage by finding new uses for a building that is otherwise redundant and starting to fall down. All it takes to move it is a big crane!’

Bob Hill, a Senior Project Manager with the Conservation Management Team at Wessex Archaeology Ltd, who has managed the whole process, added ‘moving the building in one piece may sound odd, but it really makes life a lot easier and helps to ensure it is brought back into use as soon as possible.’