All in all, it’s just another brick in the wall…
Skipton Castle Woods is a sylvan paradise set within a stone’s throw of the High Street of this bustling North Yorkshire market town, known widely as “The Gateway to the Dales”. These ancient woods surround the lively watercourse of Eller Beck and are delineated from the adjacent surrounding farmland by typical Yorkshire dry stone walls, some of which are now showing signs of their great age.
Accessed from behind the medieval castle which dominates the top of the High Street, the woods (a highlight of any trip to Skipton) are currently benefiting from concerted efforts by Woodland Trust management and many local volunteers to sustain, improve and embellish this unique resource.
In line with this commitment, a “walling gang” – a subset of the local volunteer force – has been established to identify, restore and repair any vulnerable sections of the wall.
The “gang” comprises a bunch of volunteers who make up for their collective lack of experience with an abundance of enthusiasm and bull-headed tenacity. Wallers featured are: Jim, Geoff, Peter and Oliver. Beginning in October 2018 and guided by the expert tuition of Louise Kirkbride of Craven College we have only met a few times but have begun to get to grips with the process of rebuilding the most obviously collapsed sections of the walls.
Completing this refurbishment is going to take some time. Progress is slow and we only get together once or twice a month. But our skills are improving and we are determined to ensure that the job is well done. We all take pride in the knowledge that we are securing this priceless resource for the future.
Geoff Wilkinson, Skipton Woods volunteer