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By hand or by machine?

 It is often a cause for debate with wallers whether to use mechanical assistance to strip down and prepare walls. For me, on the majority of jobs I like to see the stone as it passes through my hands. In this way, I am able to grade it, assess the stone and separate into copes, throughs and super special bits that you need when building...the get out of jail bits that at times you need. (it's a waller thing!) Having said all of that there are also times when having a digger, driven by a competent (and this is key) driver can save days and days of work. Recently I and a colleague have been preparing a site where we have had to move around 90m of wall. It needs rebuilding away from the tangled mass of tree roots that have now grown under the wall. In addition, cattle have been allowed to graze close to the wall and have eroded the soil leaving the wall almost appearing suspended in places. So, to have hand stripped this out, carrying each stone down a bank and laying it out; plus tu
Recent posts

All my curves and all my edges...all my perfect imperfections!

As well as being my fave song at the moment I do love a good curve! I have just completed a lovely wall encompassing a long curve and steps which has replaced a wall build by some builders mate..."It'll stay up a lifetime that!" kinda wall. A few years later and I'm in rebuilding the whole thing. I enjoy posting little video rants on my instagram page about top tips for walling and how not to build a drystone wall....this has made it into the gallery! Here are some before and after shots. Steps are different heights and depths Steps now uniform and recessed into wall Wall already leaning and fallen in places as all large beautiful dressed stone had been placed at the back. No through stones were used either. Both leading to a structurally unsound wall New wall coursed with a batter on it and plenty of throughs in wall. Largest stone at front  

Ah, Ha...Ha

Thank goodness the weather has now picked up a lttle, it has felt a long time coming! This spring has seen some lovely projects so far including my first Ha Ha. A rebuild of an almost derelict wall, reinstating it to its original wavy line! Spring has obviously been the season for driveways and gateways as I have completed 2 more and am about to embark on another tomorrow
 2021 so far...walling alone due to lockdown...again! ... and it has been a very wet and very cold winter which seems to have been the norm over the last few years! Made getting to work impossible for several days. 20m of Limestone field wall near Parwich Work has been constrained and re-ordered due to lockdown and weather. However, nights are getting lighter the snowdrops are appearing, buds are starting to sprout tiny leaves and the woodpecker is hammering furiously to attract a mate...and this waller is sloshing around in mud building walls! Enjoyed this job near Kirk Ireton...when from a delivered pile of rough stone emerges a gateway...4 cheek ends, 2 curves and a load of hand made copestones! Deeply satisfying... The finished gateway...

2019 - 2020 - A year not to be forgotten!

What a year 2020 has been...A year of working alone, not meeting with colleagues, no shows, no teaching and a number of jobs lost. Still, I consider myself blessed to have a job where I can be outside, not needing to worry about commuting or having to wear a face mask! In 2019 I finished 250m of a wall in Kirk Ireton which has become known as Emma's wall to friends and neighbours who walked past on a daily basis to observe progress. It was almost a 4 season wall! Finished! 2019 A group of wallers from the Derbyshire Branch of the DSWA spent 5 days on Orkney building a wall for a community. It was a memorable experience for us all and left a beautiful curved seat. 2019 Two operations on my hands slowed me down towards the end of the year! Extending and rebuilding a wall encompassing a wheel as a feature One of my most favourite walls to date in The Brund, a 60m retaining wall, all dry stone. A beautiful setting which I worked on during the fabulous weather of the first lockdown 2020

Hello 2019!

Where has the time gone? All of a sudden its January 2019 I'm layered up in thermals, my once hot drink is turning to ice as it sits in a cup as I build ... and those hot days of summer where I was getting to work for 5.30am to avoid the heat seem so far away! It has been a very busy few months of non stop walling moving from limestone to sandstone and back again. A couple of insurance jobs...a couple of 'quick-my-wall-has-fallen-down' type jobs some garden landscaping work and now mid winter a very long stretch of field walling to do. So looking back since August here's a little of what I have been up to... 44m uphill, sandstone wall which had to curve around trees...quote a challenge as the trees were in the wall! A quick day gapping at Snitterton with lovely limestone Gorgeous early morning winter sun on part of my 255m near Kirk Ireton uh-oh...winter has arrived!

Ancient walls

Been rebuilding 100m of ancient walls around the lead mining areas in Middleton by Wirksworth. Fascinating as we think some of these walls are pre enclosure because they are vertical. This could be late 1600s or early 1700s. It would appear that some of these have never been built looking at the condition of the stone in the middle of the wall. It's fascinating to wonder who may have built these, what their life was like, and so on. Rebuilt limestone field walls