Land Manager's Diary: Read it here>

Wed 6 April to some people is important as the start of the financial year… for us it was important as it was our monthly dry stone walling day at Mazonwath, near Orton.

We have a mix of volunteers, some have been with us for years and honed their walling skills, often with the help of training from our friends at the Dry Stone Walling Association who run excellent two day courses.

Others may have no walling experience or are just starting out learning about this ancient craft. Perhaps the volunteer who travels the furthest is Rachel Pugh who regularly drives up from the Manchester area to join us. We asked her to write some thoughts on why she does this big drive, what she gets out of her walling adventures. Here is what she had to say about one of our days walling: 

"People can talk about  ‘batter', ‘lines', 'finding the face' of stones and ‘avoiding running joints’ and you can even understand the words. But when you are faced by a pile of unsorted and unhelpful stone, it is easy for all that to fly out of the window, and for a kind of jigsaw panic to set in. 

"Yesterday was a real boost to the confidence. We started off with a chunk of wall that had not been well repaired - even we novices could see that. In glorious gentle spring sunshine Jan and Jean gave our small group closer than usual supervision, and the instruction to ’take your time’. So we tried things out, make mistakes and there was always a friendly opinion on hand with ideas on how to solve difficult walling problems. 

"At the end of the day I felt such a sense of triumph. I know that I built a strong and lasting section of wall today. I could see and feel it. I’d had fun incorporating a triangular rock - now known as Rachel’s Stone, which actually worked. Best of all, I feel a sense of growing confidence and excitement that I will really be able to put mere theories into practice. Let’s see. alongside learning a skill and craft, I’m also making friends, and work twice as well when I get back to my desk on my day job."