How do I get my wall rebuilt?
A well built dry stone wall is a thing of beauty which will enhance any garden or landscape and make a valuable contribution to wildlife. When a wall begins to fail, as many old walls are now doing, the bio-friendly solution is to rebuild it. Such a wall should then last 100 years or more, though it may require minor maintenance during this time. It will then provide a long lasting and cost effective boundary. However a poorly built wall may only last for five years or less, and will then be a costly waste of money.
There are many dry stone wallers in the United Kingdom – good and bad. Perhaps 10% of these have taken the trouble to take and pass Dry Stone Walling Association of Great Britain / LANTRA craft walling qualifications, the only QCA recognised dry stone walling qualification in the UK. Though there is no guarantee that those who hold these qualifications will always produce high quality work, most in fact do and the DSWA will always act as arbitrators for their members on those rare occasions where the quality of work is in dispute. You can view DSWA’s national lists of these craftsmen.
How do I tell good from bad walling?
So how does a member of the public tell a good unqualified waller from the not-so-good? The best way is to first go on a dry stone walling course. If your wall is only a few metres long you may then want to try rebuilding it yourself. Even if you do not make a very good job of it the practice will be very valuable and you (or someone else) can always take it down again and rebuild it later! But even if you decide to employ a waller then, armed with this basic knowledge, you should go and inspect the work of anyone you are thinking of using. There is a good booklet on how to do this available from the DSWA and its branches. Or you can download ‘Inspection of Dry Stone Walling Work‘ at no charge.
The following picture should help you identify some of the main characteristics of good and bad walling!