Dry stone walling is an ancient tradition here in the Cotswold's, in olden times it was used to clear stone from arable fields so that crops would grow better and was then used to create divides between fields to keep stock in – or out!
These walls as well as dividing the fields also provided valuable shelter for livestock in harsh weather, before the use of modern field shelters, who sheltered behind the wall.
In modern times wire fences have taken over in most areas due to ease and cost, dry stone walling is an art/skill and requires training and practice, therefore a meter of Cotswold drystone walling costs in excess of £100, whereas a meter of modern post and rail fencing with stock wire costs around just £8 per meter. So more and more drystone walls are being replaced as they fall down with modern post and rail fencing changing the landscape entirely.
However, here at Notgrove we like to keep these old skills alive and sustain the Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in a number of ways including repairing and rebuilding historic dry stone walls.
Previously, we worked with the Cotswold Conservation Board Rural Skills Centre running Beginner’s Dry Stone walling courses. Now, as the Board no longer provides courses have teamed up with one of their instructors to continue where Rural Skills left off. We have joined in partnership with Richard Gray of Hillrise Stonework who is a professional member of the Dry Stone Walling Association of Great Britain (DSWA), to lead the drystone walling courses at Notgrove. The courses are for those 16 yrs. old and over wishing to improve their skills or those wishing to learn a new skill. Richard is using our walls to teach his two-day beginner courses at Notgrove and we will look to host courses for those wishing to become a professional drystone wallers in the near future.
The last Rural Skills Course at Notgrove was held last weekend and here is the before and after photos of what they achieved – full marks from us!
Our new courses run from 24th June until 22nd October in 2022 for just £150 per person and we will shortly be launching our 2023 courses.
For more information or to book, please see our website: https://notgroveholidays.com/activities/dry-stone-walling-course/ or Richard Gray’s website: https://hillrisestonework.co.uk/dry-stone-wall-workshops/
For further information, please contact Richard Gray on 07967 366153 or Kate Dickins at Notgrove on 07887 500966 via email email@example.com
Click here for a copy of our environmental credentials: https://notgroveholidays.com/environmental-credentials/
Richard Gray Biography
Richard Gray gives talks, tours and lectures on the history and practice of dry stone walling. He has instructed for the Cotswold Conservation Board’s Beginner’s Courses and BSI, Lantra and led DSWA professional certification over the last 7 years. A qualified teacher, he was for several years an external examiner at Manchester Metropolitan University. After setting up Hillrise Stonework in 2006 he passed the DSWA Level 2 Craftsman Certification scheme examination and became a professional member of the DSWA. He believes in promoting greater understanding and knowledge about traditional dry stone walling which until recently was in decline and perhaps taken for granted by much of the population.
2 Day Beginner Course Dates in 2022:
24th & 25th June
30th & 31st July
13th & 14th August
1st & 2nd September
17th & 18th September
6th & 7th October
22nd & 23rd October
Notgrove is a private estate set in 1,500 acres of beautiful Cotswold countryside with a working farm, a beautiful Cotswold stone village and as part of its diversification, a holiday accommodation business. The estate is run by Harry and Diana Acland who are passionate about preserving the countryside and our traditional ways of life including the skill of dry stone walling.
Notgrove Holidays is based around the Notgrove estate and offers bespoke holiday accommodation for individuals, couples, families and small groups in modern barns, glamping pods and safari tents, as well as activities and adventures for guests to do while they stay with us.
Notgrove Holidays is owned by Harry and Diana Acland who believe that creating holidays and activities which promote the learning and understand of the beautiful countryside around us, helping guests to be active whilst outdoors and away from screens and time to relax and be distracted from the stresses of daily life can help us live a healthier and happier life. With this in mind, Notgrove Holidays has created activities, adventures, retreats and experiences to do just that.
Activities guests can already book whist staying at Notgrove Holidays includes:
Forest School Electric Quad Bikes Adventures
Hatha Yoga Foraging Walks
Falconry Handling Experience Fitness is Fun Classes
Relaxing Beauty Treatments Creative Art Workshops
Cycle Hire and Routes Beautiful Walks
Tennis Lessons Treasure Hunt
Photography Workshops & Tours Notgrove Safari