Dry Stone Walling in North Newington


  • Location:North Newington

Services Included

Listed Building Work
Project Management

Dry Stone Walling in North Newington

Dry Stone Walling is a rare treat for KSW Developments. It is an opportunity to get back to traditional building methods.

This wall in North Newington had been battered by weather conditions and was in desperate need of repairs. Dry stone walling is, as the name would suggest, a method of building which requires no binding materials like mortar or cement. It seems counterintuitive but dry stone walls are incredibly stable and long lasting due to their unique construction method which is characterised by a load-bearing façade of individually selected, interlocking stones.

Dry stone walling is an art, and it has been honoured as such by UNESCO through its inclusion on their list of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity. This is unsurprising when you know that there are some examples of dry stone walls which have been dated back over 5000 years.

This particular dry stone wall is a 'double' wall, therefore the fallen section and surrounding parts of the wall were stripped back before reconstruction using the traditional double wall method. Foundation stones were set into the ground to provide a foundation for the wall creating additional stability. The removed stones were piled nearby to allow for easy selection during reconstruction. Rows were built using larger flattish stones, descending in size the higher the wall grew. The wall was built up course by course with larger tie stones placed in the recess between the two layers of the wall. This acts as a form of bonding to increase the strength of the wall with the two walls stabilising each other through the middle space.

By thinning the width of the wall as it is elevated, I was able to considerably strengthen the wall using traditional methods. As well as the larger tie stones, smaller stones were used to fill the voids between facing stones in a method known as hearting.

Finally, capstones were placed at the top of the wall across both subwalls. To add extra stability to this wall in North Newington, i undertook the more contemporary method of topping the wall with a smooth and shaped layer of concrete. This does not interfere with the dry stone wall itself but rather creates an attractive top and prevents the capstones being knocked off as easily.

Dry stone walling is a bit of a passion project for me and I took some time away from the normal projects to do this job. Dry stone walling is a surprisingly relaxing endeavor, allowing for time with just me and the stones, no distractions. I was really pleased with how this wall turned out and knowing that it will remain standing for many generations to come is a wonderful addition to a job well done.

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