Dry stone walling with the Coldroyd Group Wallers

HAVE you ever walked around the Kirkheaton area and seen stone walls falling apart?

Volunteers are needed to help complete a wall in Dalton started last year.

A spokesperson for Coldroyd Group Wallers. said: “We will rebuild another 30 – 35m of dry stone wall alongside Coldroyd Lane, Dalton, up to Jagger Lane, Kirkheaton.

“Kirklees Countryside Volunteers will provide training for beginners who will then be eligible to work with the Coldroyd team. We ask volunteers to gain further experience and help finish this country wall during the summer.”

Originally built as field boundaries for the protection of animals or property, and bridleways, dry stone walls are very much a feature of this locality, just as they are throughout much of Yorkshire and in fact throughout the British Isles where building stone is provided by the local geology.

Sadly many of these walls have fallen into disrepair, even stone removed in some cases for building elsewhere. Now there is a chance to do something about it.

Why would you want to? Well, these are just some of the testimonials associated with the project:

“I have always wanted to build walls. I began in my own garden not really knowing what to do. I saw a course advertised.

“I went along and found people wanting to learn. An excellent tutor took us step-by-step, from the base to simple techniques of construction, and the wall began.

“ It was fun. People from students, to professionals, men and women of a variety of ages, from very different backgrounds we became a workforce.

“Joined by an interest in the environment, yes, but also looking for a new hobby. It was physically relaxing and focused. I would say to anyone interested: ‘put some gloves on and have a go’” – a local volunteer waiting impatiently to start again.

“I met some fascinating people from different walks of life, some fully employed others retired, but my part-time work gave me the opportunity to join in.

“The tutor was encouraging and skilled and really used to beginners.

“There was no pressure to go beyond your strength, in fact if I could do it anyone can. I have certainly made some new friends.”

So what about it? The course happened as result of a meeting with Kirklees Countryside Volunteers in 2015/16.

Discussions followed and the sequence began with David Clarkin volunteering to organise some training for the repair of dry stone walls locally.

The initial focus was on the ancient bridleway of Coldroyd Lane on the boundary between Dalton and Kirkheaton.

This had been used by workers walking to the mills and horse riders for many years.

It is part of local history, and yet is was collapsing and disappearing. Funding was obtained from Kirklees Council as the adjacent land is owned by it.

Tools were loaned by Kirklees Country side Volunteers, safety requirements were met, insurance was arranged, and the tutor was engaged. Work was suspended for the winter and more volunteers are needed to begin again in the Spring to complete this.

Anyone interested should come along on Saturday, March 3 at 9.30am for a 10am start and meet up with Coldroyd Group Wallers.

They will be rebuilding in dry stone the wall alongside the bridle path from Kirkheaton to Dalton (16 hours’ tuition possible) at Coldroyd Lane/Newland Road junction, Huddersfield, HD5 9SA.

For more information contact: David Clarkin on 01484 535643 or dsclarkin@btinternet.com (This article was published in the Examiner 9/1/2018)