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Dry stone walling is an old craft for delineating boundaries between parcels of land or fields. There is a growing demand for repair and preservation of these features, and far from the craft dying out; it is alive and well all over the country. The construction method does not use cement jointing; the finished result blends with the surroundings, provides shelter and habitat for a wide range of animals and insects, and if built correctly, will last a lifetime or more.
Field boundaries are often the strongest features in landscapes, stitching fields together to form the ‘patchwork’ or ‘mosaic’, which is frequently said to characterise the English countryside. After hedgerows, stone walls are arguably our most notable traditional field boundary.
The network of dry stone walls across the landscape is one of the most eye catching and extensive man made structures within the Yorkshire Dales and North Yorkshire Moors. The long lasting strength of such walls is a testament to the skills of the wallers who can raise substantial structures relying only on interlocking stones and their mass.
The Yorkshire Dry Stone Walling Guild is a membership organisation of people, based in Thirsk and working predominantly in the North Yorkshire Moors and Yorkshire Pennines, concerned about the future of these landmark features, with some earning their living building and repairing them.