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Stone walling at Deep Dale with Plantlife

Plantlife is a conservation charity working to save threatened wild flowers, plants and fungi. They maintain 4,500 acres of nature reserve across England, Scotland and Wales and have 11,000 members and supporters.

They applied to Postcode Local Trust to restore a boundary wall at Deep Dale Nature Reserve. The wall was required for the control of the cattle used for conservation grazing. The proposed structure was seen as essential in order to protect the rare wild plant habitat of Deep Dale, a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

The project has proved to be successful both in terms of conservation and as an opportunity to reinforce Plantlife's links with the Peak District Conservation Volunteers. A total of 73 laboured to prepare the 200m section of wall, cutting back bushes and unearthing blocks of stone that had fallen and become buried over time. With the preparations completed, they were able to re-build the wall according to the local style.

In a small way, the project also helped to keep traditional rural crafts alive in the area. A local waller who has been practising for over 30 years talked with delight about clay pipes and other old artefacts he pulled out of walls over the years; objects left by his predecessors back through history. As he re-built the wall he was repeating the work of the craftsman who first built it some 400 years ago. Both were handling the same blocks of stone, and both perhaps pausing every so often to admire the flowery daleside ahead.

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