Dry stone walls are an important feature of the Cotswolds and instantly recognisable as part of what makes the area special.

There are at least 6,000 kms of dry stone walls in the Cotswolds, but many of them are derelict or in a poor state of repair.

For the fourth year running Cotswolds Conservation Board has organised training courses to encourage people to maintain and restore stone walls.

The courses are held throughout the Cotswolds and are aimed at beginners who have no previous knowledge of walling. There are also two intermediate courses, for people with some previous experience.

Professional wallers provide the training and help people to understand the techniques used - how to construct solid foundations, which stones to select and how to finish off the wall.

Jonathan Gahan, Dry Stone Walling Officer for the Conservation Board said;

'The courses have proved very popular and most trainees attend because they have walls which need repairing and they want to be able to do the work themselves.

'There are professional dry stone wallers in the Cotswolds, but not enough to tackle all of the rebuilding needed. Without more people taking responsibility for their walls we are in danger of even more of them falling into disrepair.'

The courses last for two days and cost £55 per person.

The Conservation Board is responsible for looking after the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and the courses are part of its 'Caring for the Cotswolds' project, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

For more details call the Conservation Board on 01451 862002.