Letter: Reeds and thatches

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The Independent Online
Sir: David Bowen's article on thatching ('Modern approach to an ancient craft', 1 September), with its sub-heading stating that 'some rivals are raising the roof over the activities of the world's largest company devoted to the thatching industry', gives a biased and misleading impression. It is not only traditional thatchers and the Rural Development Commission who are concerned about changes in the craft and the use of non-traditional materials.

Here in Devon, many ordinary people are distressed by the use of water reed instead of the traditional combed wheat, though certainly the last thing they want to do about it is raise the roof. That has been done in too many cases already - the deeply overhanging eaves, which give the old Devon cob and thatch houses such a soft, cosy look, having in some cases been turned into something resembling shelves to support the alien water reed.

Yours faithfully,




5 September