FOR the past three centuries, methods of thatching have been passed down from generation to generation.

Because the materials were cheap and available, thatch was the only type of roofing in most of England until the late 1800s.

After most people switched to Welsh slate, thatch became a sign of poverty so both the numbers of thatched properties and professional thatchers dwindled.

Nowadays thatch has risen in popularity and has become a symbol of wealth.

There are approximately 1,000 full-time thatchers currently working in the country.