Conservation, Crafts

Dry-stone Walling exam!

The ancient craft of dry stone walling (that is building without mortar) has historically provided a cost-effective method of building field boundaries to manage livestock and improve the fields. These walls are known to last for hundreds of years, providing a unique habitat particularly favoured by Slow-worms – who seem to be found underneath every other stone! Today the walls have formed an important part of landscape heritage, but are often left to ruin due to the loss of this traditional skill.

Dry stone walling exam

One of the aspects of my role as a ranger at Durlston Country Park involves re-building collapsed dry stone walls – to restore the local heritage and most importantly prevent the pesky cows escaping! With a bit of extra training from the Dry Stone Walling Association, last year I qualified in my Beginner assessment and then this summer it was time for my Intermediate qualification…

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The challenge was take down and build back up a two meter stretch of wall, including the cheek end, to the specification. It was no easy feat completing the entire task in the seven hours. By the end of the day, I was very sunburnt, my back ached and I couldn’t help but think of all the walls around the park actually needing rebuilding… but fortunately, I finished on time and passed the exam!!

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