Dry stone wallers aim for new heights
Five dry-stone wallers in the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) are on their way to becoming master craftsmen thanks to a new training course launched by the Cotswolds Conservation Board.
The new course, made possible with the help of a £10,000 grant awarded by the Ernest Cook Trust, is aimed at addressing the current shortfall in advanced dry-stone walling skills and techniques and will provide wallers with the advanced Lantra Level 3 qualification, essential towards achieving the master craftsman certificate.
The 22-week course and assessment prepares the wallers to deal with the range of situations that they can encounter, including curved walls, walls on sloping ground, high or retaining walls and ‘lunkies’ which are holes in the wall designed for animals to pass through. These are all aspects of the skill critically important to the conservation of the Cotswolds landscape and the special features that add local character as well as the continuing development of the profession.
Rural Skills Officer, David Molloy, said: “The Board has a very strong track record of delivering and promoting dry stone walling courses in the Cotswolds and there are some highly experienced and skilled wallers operating in the AONB. However there is a real challenge in developing the next generation of top flight wallers. Through this course we hope to address this challenge and make a significant contribution to developing the skills necessary to help conserve the special character of the Cotswolds in the long term.”
Notes to editors:
- There is only one other course in the UK offering Lantra Level 3 training at The College of the Peak in Derbyshire.
- The course takes place at Huntsmans Quarry, Naunton, and is led by Master Dry Stone Waller, John Day.
- The Cotswolds was designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1966 and this year celebrates its 45th anniversary.
- The Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is looked after by the Cotswolds Conservation Board – an independent organisation with 37 members, 15 nominated by local authorities, 8 by parish councils and 14 appointed by Government.
- The Government has designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) and National Parks as our finest countryside and they are recognised as being of national importance.
- The Cotswolds is the second largest protected landscape in England after the Lake District National Park and represents 10% of the total AONB area in the UK. It covers 2,038 square kilometres (790 square miles), stretching from Warwickshire and Worcestershire in the north, through Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire, down to Bath and Wiltshire in the south.
- The Cotswolds AONB is the largest of the family of 46 AONBs in the UK. For further details: www.aonb.org.uk