26 May 2009


If Daphne up in Leeds can blog about drystone walls then so can I. Actually, I first wrote admiringly about them just over a year ago. The pictures above and below this paragraph were snapped by yours truly on Blacka Moor just south of Sheffield. Here the wall builders of long ago used millstone grit and hard sandstone from the local area. That's how our country's precious network of drystone walls was created - using locally sourced stone. Hence in the Cotswolds the walls are honey-coloured whereas in the White Peak of Derbyshire ash-white limestone was used. Many is the time I have stood in awed silence, admiring long dead wallbuilders' craftsmanship - the way the stones fit so snugly and naturally together even though every single stone used is slightly different from the next. And I love the way, nature embellishes the rustic beauty of these walls - lichens and ferns and creeping plants. They are lovely to behold.
On a recent walk by Blacka Moor, I noticed how a wealthy farmer has had more than fifty yards of brand new drystone walling created at the side of the public right of way. It looks great and must have cost him a pretty penny to have built. Historically, farmers and their hired labourers would simply and patiently create their own walls. That happened quite literally through a thousand years and more of English history. Nowadays it's more likely you'll find a drystone waller in the yellow pages, phone him up and get a hefty estimate when he turns up in his Land Rover.

Below, a rather primitive lava wall near Lake Myvatn in Iceland. Looks like this might have been built by Fred Flintstone and Barney:-


  1. Good fences make good neighbors (Robert Frost).

  2. I love 'em! But you knew that already.


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