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Great walls of Yorkshire

[Tuesday 18 April 2006]

THOUSANDS of miles of drystone walls in Yorkshire will be subjected to minute examination this summer - to find the greatest new wall of them all.

Many of the walls which make the Yorkshire Dales famous throughout the world are centuries old. But they are regularly damaged be sheep, careless visitors and frosts and have to be repaired or replaced on a regular basis.

Dry Stone walls around Malham; an integral feature of the Dales landscape
Dry Stone walls around
Malham; an integral feature
of the Dales landscape

However, the days are long-gone when the average farmer or landowner would employ men with such skills and many country lovers feared that, apart from a handful of enthusiasts and some rare full-time professionals, such skills were in danger of dying out. In fact, it has enjoyed a mini-revival in recent years.

So to further boost the craft, the Country Land and Business Association and the Yorkshire Drystone Walling Guild hold a biennial competition to find the best new or restored walls in the county.

"These walls are a vital part and much admired feature of Yorkshire's countryside," says the CLA's regional director Dorothy Fairburn, whose idea the event was: "Our aim is to win greater recognition for those who work to preserve these walls and help to ensure the continuing revival of their craft."

This year's judges will be expert wallers Michael Booth from Otley, West Yorkshire, who is the Yorkshire Dry Stone Walling Guild's current chairman, and David Bentley of York. The winner will be announced in the autumn.

  • Details and entry forms are available on the Yorkshire pages of
  • www.cla.org.uk or by calling the CLA on 01347 823803.
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