30 Days Wild: Dry Stone Walling

Working as a trainee at Rutland Water Nature Reserve has allowed me to gain new skills and qualifications one of which was dry stone walling. This short blog describes and shows the process of taking down the original wall and building it up again.

Dry stone walling is a key skills for any conservation or estate work. It is called a dry stone wall because the gaps between the rocks in the wall allow the wind to dry it naturally and prevent the build-up of sediments in the wall. The wall shouldn’t have concrete placed on top of it as this allows sediment and dust to build up in the wall.

The original wall was demolished and each stone was placed in order of size next to the wall as this made it easier to find the correct sized stone later on. Once at ground level sections of the wall were dug in order to create a level base, stones which cracked easily were removed. It was beneficial to have larger, stronger stones on the base of the wall as this gives a stronger wall overall. A string line was set up on each side of the wall and a spirit level was used to look at the gradient of the wall. The string line was placed in each side of the old wall and was moved up each time a level of stone was completed. This allowed rocks of suitable sizes to be used up to the string line and create a level wall for each layer.

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The overall process for me was thoroughly rewarding and I would urge anyone to give it a go!

Luke Russell