Friday, March 02, 2007

Drystone walls - a pictorial tutorial

At Wirksworth, Derbyshire, there's the National Stone centre. As a lot of quarrying is done in the area, it's there to educate people all about stone, why we need it, what it's used for etc etc.
I suppose it also helps to atone some of the guilt the big companies feel about decimating the landscape, as they often have their little 'supplied by' plaques on various seats/exhibits/walls etc. The quarries HAVE provided, and continue to, a lot of empolyment in the area, so it depends on how you look at things as to whether you agree or are against it.
All that aside, I have always been interested in stone walls. They are, to me, a quintessential part of the countryside, especially in Derbyshire and Yorkshire. They do tell me, the 'folk in the know', that Limestone is one of, if not the, most difficult mediums to wall with. This accounts for why we have so many champion wallers in the county. I watched one, Gordon Wilton, walling in the Manifold valley one day. It was like watching a painter. The wall he built is just SO perfect, I always think of him when I see it. Now it has some 'age' on it, and a bit of greenery here and there, it looks even better.
His tight and neat style means his walls will stand for a VERY long time!
Anyway, enough drivel, on to the centre. This is the 'guilty plate' I was talking about. It has all the info' on the walls (collectively called 'The Millenium wall'), and a; 'this plaque was supplied by' dedication at the bottom.

Each wall has a descriptive notice on the end of it, telling you about the style of wall, where you will find walls like it, etc. It also alludes to the method of construction. Some walls look as if they are just a pile of stones, not very strong at all, while others, like Gordon Wiltons, look as if they will stand forever!

Also dotted around the centre grounds are some pieces of stone 'art'
I leave you to draw your own conclusions on this.

So, on to the walls. I will let the pictures speak for themselves. If you click on the title of this entry, there's a link to the stone centre, where you can get all the info' you need about it.


Anonymous said...

Wow. Would be really good to know where each wall originates. Keep it up.

Ron Underwood said...

Thanks Les for a very nice collection of pix. Little did we know about stone.
Ron Underwood

Anonymous said...

Brilliant! I was completely ignorant about the National Stone Centre now I'm keen to visit. Thanks Les! Chris S

Les said...

Thanks for all your comments :-)

The info' on where the walls are seen is on the plaques. I have pitures of all these plaques, and will email them to you, annonymous, if you give me an address. I will post one as a sample, I hope this helps.