Dinas has miles of beautiful old stone walls and even some relatively new ones. My favourite old walls are up the mountain where they are host to the vegetation that causes their eventual disintegration – and a richness of wildlife.
The ancient craft of making a dry stone wall has a mystique of its own and I love the way that experts describe the process. Arthur Raistrick‘s slim little book, ‘The Story of the Pennine Walls’ is both scholarly and practical. The author’s knowledge is exhaustive but lightly worn; in twenty-six pages he ranges from the history of land enclosure in the Pennines to the building of the walls and the lives of the masons. It was published for one shilling in 1946. Here is one of his illustrations.
If you would like colour and sound, click here for another master of the craft talking about his work.
I am curious to know if the Dinas walls ever looked as beautiful as these. Many of the walls up the mountain look more like heaps of stones, thrown aside when the fields were cleared, rather than a wall constructed by a mason. Is that what plant life can do to the structure or was the land too poor to warrant hiring a specialist?