Dry stone walls are an ancient form of boundary, important in terms of landscape and conservation, as well as providing stock proofing. North Wales, with its wide variety of rock types, has numerous different styles of wall, all built with essentially the same principles adapted to suit the local stone and needs. Walls are not necessarily uniform stone barriers; many include interesting features such as sheep holes, drains and stiles. Local styles also greatly affect the character of walls, many walls built out of large slabs often have small gaps in their faces to save on stone and in some areas quartz has been placed in the "coping" (top stone) to ward off evil spirits. Frequently walls are over 100 years old, often built at the time of the enclosure movement to provide field boundaries and to clear stone the fields and are steeped in local history and folklore. In areas where stone was more scarce "clawdd" walls can be found, these stone faced earth banks, are normally lower than a wall but usually have a hedge planted on top and sometimes have a ditch on one side. Wales is one of the few strongholds of these "stone hedges" with variations commonly found in Devon and Cornwall, and occasionally elsewhere.
Unfortunately the majority of walls and clawdds are falling into a state of disrepair. Originally they would have been maintained on an annual basis. With changes in farming practices - most notably labour levels - this practice has changed and walls are often neglected to the point where expensive major repair work is required. Many thousands of hours of work went into the building of Wales' network of walls, mostly in a surprisingly short period of time. Their expected life-span is largely indeterminate, depending on a wide variety of factors, such as ground conditions, stone type, construction techniques, how exposed the site is and so forth. Unfortunately they do not last forever and following years of neglect they are now falling into a state of disrepair at a faster rate than they can be repaired. Repair is undoubtedly expensive, but many grants exist to ease this cost, and they will outlast a fence many times over if properly maintained, and in the long term can prove to be a wise investment.
DRY STONE WALLING ASSOCIATION
CYMDEITHAS WALIAU CERRIG SYCHION
Canghennau Gogledd a De Cymru
North and South Wales Branches
Latest news, newsletters, photo gallery etc can be found on the NEWS ARCHIVE page
The Gathering of Stones Sculpture in the Lough Boora Parklands, Eire, to which the North Wales Branch contributed was officially opened on Saturday 7th May. More details of the project and the Welsh role can be found here, photos of the finished project will be added in due course
click on image for close up
The North Wales Branch were honoured by having their contribution noted alongside the "emigrant stones" on a temporary information board
2016 DSWA of GB MEMBERS WEEKEND AND AGM
The Welsh Branches hosted the 2016 DSWA Members weekend (12-13 March) based at the Celtic Royal Hotel, Caernarfon. Visits included Caernarfon Castle, and Electric Mountain Llanberis. Duncan Brown of Llen Natur gave an informative talk on the use of historic postcards in environmental monitoring and 2 "Delving in Dinorwic" Quarry walks were held. Photos can be seen here.
ROYAL WELSH SHOW
This year the Branches combined to build a seat designed by Martin Jones as part of what should be an ongoing project to improve/develop an area alongside the fishing lake.
Thanks go to Brian Lock for overall organisation, Alan Jones and Sean Adcock who supervised the build and for the plethora of Volunteers who manned the stand and helped with the build.
Slide show below left
CHESHIRE BRANCH ON TOUR
The Cheshire Branch visited Nant Ffrancon for the weekend of 18/19 February and completed the work o the milking pen. Photos and notes on the project since its inception can be found here.
HAVE I GOT NEWS FOR YOU
STONECHAT FEATURED AS A GUEST PUBLICATION IN THE POPULAR BBC SATIRICAL NEWS QUIZ "HAVE I GOT NEWS FOR YOU" ON MAY 6TH 2015. (Series 49 episode 6) 23 minutes into the programme
The longer version of the programme "Have I got a bit more news for you" includes one additional clip.
A to be viewed for personal use only clip of the standard show section can be downloaded from here. This is a very big file and to be used for your own viewing only.
NEW COMMITTEES 2016
Not exactly new!!
Chairman: Sean Adcock
Vice Chairman: Paul Smyth
Secretary: Sean Adcock
Treasurer: Colin Brown
Sean has expressed a desire to take a back seat after this year, replacements needed!
The DSWA of GB in conjunction with Princes Trust are offering £50 vouchers towards the cost of training courses, further details can be found here. These vouchers can be used against the cost of weekend courses held before the end of July. 2 such courses will be held in North Wales (18&19th June, Blaen y Nant, Bethesda; 16&17th July Pensychnant, Conwy) booking form is here.
STONECHAT IS BACK !!
After gap of 3 years Stonechat 30 has finally seen the light of day, and this time in full colour.
Copies are available for £5 each, contact Sean for further details.
Content will be outlined on the Stonechat page on due course