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A Wall Story

Dry stone walls are a feature of the North York Moors.

Although there are records of settlements around our farm in 1150, the Earl of Kirkbymoorside had 'serfs' in the Dale, it's said that most walls date from either the 1600s or 1800s.

Earlier walls often curve across the landscape, whereas later walls are more straight. The thought being that technology and labour existed to move more stone and large single pieces in later years.

Some of the walls here appear to have been built and never touched since. These are often made up of larger, squarer pieces of stone. Presumably split and shaped by hand.

Over the years, with societal and economic change, it's obvious that many walls have fallen into disrepair.

184 Hours and 45 Minutes

The picture above shows a complete refurbishment, involving removal of the walling stone, a new trench, spoil removal and then rebuild to include positioning an orthostatic at the base. The wall is A shaped in cross section, over a metre wide at the base and about 60cm across at the top.

Crossing the slope of the valley, walls have, over many decades, limited soil erosion. This particular project involved removing soil from the uphill side and taking it back into the field. Shifting baseline syndrome acknowledges the very slow changes in the landscape over time. Soil erosion is one aspect, brought about by e.g. ploughing and overgrazing.

Walls are obviously not natural landscape features, yet they do offer benefits to wildlife, principally invertebrates: beetles, woodlice, spiders, centipedes and millipedes are common. On occasion common lizard and slow worm are found either sunbathing or sheltering about the stones.

More pictures from the project below.

IMG_6835 2.HEIC
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