Welcome to www.drystonewalls.net

A Short Guide

The following are a few terms which you might find useful.

Dry stone wall. A wall built exclusively from stone without the use of mortar or cement.

Dry stone walls have a long history, and in our area were used extensively to divide fields where sheep were grazed. Sheep farming and the woollen industry formed a good deal of the wealth in this area which later stood us in good stead with the coming of the industrial revolution.

In the north of England, we are blessed with quantities of sandstone and limestone, both of which are excellent walling materials. A traditional dry stone wall is usually made from local stone without any other materials. Because of this, they often become a haven for small local wild life, including nesting birds, field mice, voles etc. and many insects. Provision to encourage wild life can be made by allowing gaps for nests and so forth.

Coping stones. A row of stones along th top of the wall which protects and strengthens the structure of the wall.

Cheek end. This is built where a wall ends standing alone, for instance, where a gate may be inserted. There are examples of these on our photo page.

Through stone. A large stone placed so that it ties together the two sides of the wall.

Hearting. Generally, stone walls are built with the two faces built separately and leaning slightly inward. Through stones tie the two sides together, hearting is small pieces of the same stone broken up and used as filling where there are gaps in the centre of the wall.

Over time, the wall will settle by a few millimetres, gaining strength as it does so and  becoming more stable as these outer layers shrink inwards and become denser.