Why choose a dry stone wall?

My latest finished piece in Bradwell, Derbyshire. This is a straight limestone wall with 2 water smoots (as the lane often floods and runs off into the neighbouring brook) and 4 wall heads incorporating a gateway.

The stone was some of the last to be taken from the currently defunct Once a Week Quarry at Sheldon, it’s a hard, shiny and quartzite stone, regular and flat in shape and full of fossils and quartz and feldspars, which catch the sun and make it very attractive for this purpose.

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This wall was commissioned by the client as a barrier to keep grandchildren away from the nearby Willow Brook, which runs through the garden and poses quite a danger. With a wicket gate in place, peace of mind will be assured, as this solid piece of walling should last a life time and more.

This is really the dilemma when people have a look at whether they would like a dry stone wall or not; a lot of folk in the Peak are faced with it- do I have the traditional solution which may cost quite a lot, or a cheaper fence? With a well-built wall, the construction will actually become stronger over time. With no mortar to fail and crack in the cold and heat, a dry stone wall will bond with natural flora and lichens, moss and other agents, to make an eco friendly and habitat rich environment in itself.

As the wall strengthens, after 10 years, a fence will just start to be rotting; a brick wall will be deteriorating. Over the long term, the price doesn’t seem so bad, although it is an undeniably an outlay. Some would say an investment. Always ensure that you see a portfolio of work by wallers you may employ. The Dry Stone Walling Association of Great Britain website at www.dswa.org.uk/ contains a list of registered and approved contractors in all areas of the country. Probably not Buckinghamshire, but I will travel!

So the answer: why have a dry stone wall? They are beautiful things, I think, anyway. Each one I create is a piece of time and each stone contains a thought.2014-10-28 09.49.04