Norfolk Water Reed
The majority of the reed used by 'Reed & Straw Thatching' is harvested in Norfolk. Reed grows in reed beds, alongside the rivers and broads. Reed grows annually from the rhizomes in the reed bed and is harvested during the winter, once the frosts have removed the leaf. Cutting continues till the new shoots (colts) appear in the Spring.
The reed is then carried out to 'dry land' and cleaned of short reeds and rubbish, before tying into bundles and stacked, ready for delivery to the thatcher.
Thatching with reed starts with bundles being fixed at the eaves. Successive courses are then fixed to cover the fixings of the course beneath.
The reed courses are continued up the roof until there is no rafter to fix to. At this point, there is a length of reed stem and the fixing of that course, to protect. This is the function of the ridge, which wraps over the top. As reed would break, the ridge is constructed from Long Straw or sedge.
The following pictures show the construction of a reed thatched roof, from start to finish.
Here are close-ups of the ridging.
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