A DEDICATED team has a busy schedule next year as they get hands on to keep alive an ancient art – and they are keen for the community to get involved too.
The Lancashire branch of the Drystone Walling Association has monthly practice meets for members planned throughout 2019 as well as four training courses.
Locations include Diggle, Dobcross and Grasscroft as well as Stalybridge where they will be rebuilding and repairing stretches of dilapidated dry stone wall.
“A lot of our work is on-going but we are hoping to complete a major rebuild of 300m+ of wall along Larkhill Road, Dobcross by Christmas,” said branch chairman Chris Bolshaw, who lives in Grasscroft.
“Ongoing work is taking place at Ridge Farm, Diggle where a large curved entrance wall is being built to facilitate easier access into the farm for large machinery.
“This work is carried out by our own members and trainees who attend our courses.
“It is an opportunity for members to improve their walling skills and four of them are now working towards their advanced qualifications and we hope one will commence training as an instructor in the near future.
“One of our major objectives is to improve the basic skill levels within the branch. I am happy to say this is being steadily achieved.
“Our members’ increasing competence means some of them can now assist on our courses – as the instructor this makes my task a lot easier.”
The group, who has been named as the best small branch in the country by the DSWA, is also keen to increase community participation following successful sessions during last year.
Chris said: “We worked with and advised various community groups, schools for disadvantaged or handicapped children, Denshaw Church and a drama group at Whitworth.
“These activities will continue through 2019 and we will respond to other community requests as they arise.”
Training courses will be held on March 23-24 at Dobcross, May 4-5 at Gorse Hall, August 17-18 at Diggle and October 5-6 at Greenfield, and are open to all.
Course fees provide the group with the income to run the branch, while all instructor fees are given to Dr Kershaw’s Hospice.
The branch has supported the Royton-based hospice for many years, raising more than £1,500 for them.
For all training course enquiries please call Paul Clayton on 07733 103500 or email