Drystone walling is an important skill to have on any Lakeland farm as the walls are important to keep livestock safe. Join our expert waller and learn the basics and build your own drystone wall. This experience is great fun for all ages and abilities.
The technique for building a decent dry stone wall hasn’t really changed for hundreds of years. People may have different names for some of the key elements, but fundamentally they are the same, and have the same job.
1 – Prepare the area
As when building anything, a good strong foundation is key. Prepare the ground and mark out the area that you’ll build the wall on with string or chalk lines. Sort your stones into piles of large, medium and small stones.
2 – Lay your foundations
Dig a trench that will hold your foundation stones. I doesn’t need to be too deep 6 – 12″ should be enough. Lay your largest stones as your foundation, as they will support the wall. Fill any gaps with smaller stones.
3- Building the layers (courses)
Your wall should be built to form an A shape, you may want to use an A-frame as a guide. Build your layers up, laying your ‘pinning’ stones flat. Always make sure the stones touch and cross joins in the layer below.
4 – Build strength into your wall
To keep your wall stable so it will last a lifetime, you need to fill any gaps with smaller stones (fillers / hearting) which will bind the wall together. As the wall rises, you will need to place ‘through stones’ into the wall, at regular intervals. Through stones extend the entire width of the wall and will hold both sides of the wall together.
5 – The finishes touches
The Topstone (also called Coping or Cam Stones) are places on the top of the wall and should be large flat stones. These are laid upright and should span the width of the wall