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Countrystride #82: DRY-STONE WALLING which we wander the wildlife-rich meadows of Strickley farm, Old Hutton, with geologist and waller Arthur Robinson to learn about the history, heritage and practice of dry-stone walling. After a brief overview of the landscape's geology – which gifts Kendal walls a unique array of stones – we survey the long history of walling and hedging in Cumbria, from the creation of early fields to the frenetic Victorian era of Enclosure. We explore the techniques that ensure a wall stands for centuries and consider different walling patterns around the county and country. We learn the economic importance of the not-so-humble hedgerow and ask why farmers might opt for hedging over walls. Finally, we quiz Arthur on the early-morning satisfaction he gets from placing 'one over two, and two over one'...

The rolling pastoral landscapes east of Kendal looking towards The Helm - including one of Arthur's beautiful walls.

Arthur Robinson alongside one of his beautiful walls.

Nature-friendly meadows of Strickley.

Rebuilding a wall. In the background is the crumbling old wall. In the foreground note the chunky foundation stones with 'heartings' placed carefully within.

The old wall is dismantled before work on the new wall begins.

Cross-section, clearly showing the through-stones ('throughs'), the batter and the cam stones.

Handsome length of wall, cam stones on top and regular blue-slate through-stones. Note the different coloured rocks revealing the area's distinct geology.

A Hogg hole - this example is near Hadrian's Wall and is not one of Arthur's.

Crumbling old wall. In this example the wall has 'bellied' – the weight of the wall has pushed down on the base, widening it until it collapsed in on itself.

Our guest for the day: Arthur Robinson.


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