Drystone wall repair at Castle Hill Wood.
Drystone experience at Castle Hill Wood.
18th December 2019 was a frosty but dry day on the hilltop location overlooking the lovely Derwent Valley in County Durham. Under the guidance of Peter our trainer for the day, the Castle Hill Wood volunteers focused on the repair of a section of the drystone wall at the North of the wood and picked up skills we hope to re-use again and again.
A 4 meter section of the drystone boundary wall between our wood and the adjacent landowners fields had collapsed and a temporary barrier had been provided to keep the livestock from entering the wood. With the permission of the landowner we were able to work on the drystone wall from both sides, although the horses were curious and kept an eye on our team during the day.
We were able to dig out most of the fallen stone which had been covered over the years with soil and grass such that we needed very little of the stock of ‘Alston Stone’ we had been provided with to repair the wall.
Using tapering string lines and patience to locate the best fitting stones, the wall progressed and although it may not have won any competitions for beauty – the finished wall was strong and stable – so a job well done.
As we now have the knowledge and so much drystone wall to build or maintain around this wood, we could effectively have a separate ‘drystone wall volunteers group’! But for the moment we will be able to stabilise small sections of walls and continue with our main task of helping maintain Castle Hill Wood and the three Derwenthead woods in our area.
Report by Alan Wallace, Volunteer Leader.