New ringers are given a safety briefing and a guided tour of the tower. In the belfry a demonstration is given of a bell ringing and on returning to the ringing room, of a bell being rung.
Initial training to understand the mechanics and how to handle a bell is on a 1:1 basis or in groups (with supervision as appropriate). Training is usually in one hour sessions. During these sessions the bell is silenced and the sound reproduced via a simulator. This enables a single (or more) bells to be rung without hearing the bells outside, but the student will be able to hear when their bell sounds. Once the student is able to safely handle a bell they can ring with others on a practice night, although they are encouraged to attend practice nights from the outset to meet the other ringers and familiarise themselves with the routine of ringing. The student will be closely supervised until they, and their tutor, are confident in their safe bell handling.
Training is continuous and small group sessions are held most weeks to improve bell control skills and to introduce change ringing. All ringers, whatever their experience, are welcome to attend these sessions.
Our tower is also equipped with cctv positioned in the belfry and this is used during training to show the connection between the action of the bell and bell rope. We also use it to help explain ringing to visitors. A two-dimensional model bell is also used.
A national training programme is followed and training is given by accredited tutors. The system in use is called Learning the Ropes, which has been developed by the Association of Ringing Teachers. This is a progressive system which enables the student to move from one stage to another in logical steps. Logbooks are used to record progress and certificates are awarded on completion of each stage.
More information on bell ringing can be found on our Learning Resources page.