Yearning to impress with a traditional craft? Hold our tea. We’ve got just the thing.
Obviously there’s a tiny bit more to the ancient craft of dry stone walling, or we’d all be building them, but here’s a simple explanation of the basics. Maybe keep your first attempts low and slow. The Simple Things accepts no responsibility for broken toes caused by collapsing granite.
• Source stones from a quarry, or ask at a gravel or sand pit. You want a mix of sizes.
• Dig a trench. Put down your first layer, using the largest stones.
• Use more biggies to make your ‘wall head’ ends. You’re actually building two walls in a standing up ‘A’ shape, wider at the bottom than the top, linked by ‘through’ stones.
• Carefully build up layers on both sides of the base, going from largest stones to smallest upwards. Place stones lengthways, keeping the layer as even in height as possible. Each stone should overlap a gap in the layer below (like in a brick wall) Add smaller rocks to fill in.
• Roughly every metre, add long ‘through’ stones to link both sides of the wall.
• Finish up with large, flat stones placed upright as ‘copping’ or ‘capping’ stones.
If that has whetted your appetite and you’d like to learn more, visit The Dry Stone Walling Association’s website where you can sign up to residential courses in dry stone walling.
You’ll find more miscellaneous fun and facts in our Miscellany pages of the September issue, in shops now.