Dry Stone Walling Design & Construction
Dry Stone Walling Design & Construction Cotswolds
The design and construction of a dry stone wall is a traditional skill rather than a modern construction process. Every wall is different which ensures it is bespoke to each individual client. In the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty dry stone wall building is no longer in decline and can offer each individual client something personal and unique to their property. The amenity and value of individual property in the Cotswolds partly rests upon visual appeal. Dry stone construction adds value to visual appeal with distinctive colour, texture and hard landscape contrast, making a property outstanding in comparison with others which have relied on less refined, cost and time efficient , forms of design and construction.
Why opt for dry stone walling?
Dry stone walling is potentially an asset to any property and should always be considered as an option in any construction project or home development. With little or no maintenance, heat retaining and excellent weathering properties it is far superior to modern alternatives which generally have a much shorter design life and less effective climate resistance. Properly constructed a dry stone structure has a lifetime of centuries. A long term property enhancement, dry stone walling adds value in terms of strong visual impact, something significant at a time when traditional building skills are enjoying a revival and increasing popular interest. Stone is a natural material and dry stone construction without mortar delivers a sustainable development and one which has environmental advantages. Dry stone construction offers for example a habitat for wildlife and plants and will often much improve gardens by offering heat retention and better drainage or moisture levels.
Dry Stone Walls in the cotswolds
An Area of Outstanding natural beauty is one designated by government as having feafures of exceptional beauty which gives it protected status. The Cotswolds area is Great Britain s largest Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Covering nearly 800 square miles it is noted for having over 4000 miles of dry stone walls, a vital component of the Cotswold landscape. Property owners and tenants who live in and around that landscape are usually within sight of or own a dry stone wall. Dry stone walls herefit in so well it has been said we would only really notice them if they were taken down. By maintaining them or by building new walls we can continue an ancient tradition and ensure dwellings, structures or gardens continue to play a part in the amenity and attractiveness of the Cotswold countryside and its towns and villages.
Hillrise Stonework has researched and gained long term experience in the different styles of dry stone wall building in Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire and those other counties with a history of limestone building. Our aim is to provide like for like dry stone walling to each part of England, or bespoke wall designs which are appropriate and in keeping with a tradition of stonework for a given location.
Based near Woodstock, by the 18th century Blenheim estate of the Churchill family and just east of the Cotswolds boundary Hillrise Stonework will advise, design or work across the 5 neighbouring counties or beyond through Northamptonshire Rutland and Lincolnshire, where dry stone walls and other structures in limestone also occur. Even modest new structures or wall repairs are seen as part of a bigger picture, comprising country houses, castles, churches and every aspect offormal or picturesque designed landscapes. The hard limestone used today is little different to that from the Woodstock and Bladon area, used since Medieval and even Roman times, for example at Merton College (1378) and later other Oxford Colleges including Brasenose, Lincoln and Trinity.
Construction by hillrise stone work
Hillrise Stonework have been constructing dry stone walls for over 10 years in this area, and prior to that working with Listed buildings in Newcastle, Warwickshire and Greater Manchester over the last 30 years. Richard Gray has been commissioned recently to lead work on the walls and other stonework on Bletchingdon Park in Oxfordshire, a 127 acre estate with a Palladian Mansion built in the 1780 s. The same advice and construction service formed part of a small garden project designed for the R.H.S. Hampton Court Flower Show in 2013 which was awarded a Silver Gilt Medal. Commercial contracts have included the new entrance wall for Bicester Business Park, an 80m development beyond the successful Bicester Village and Bicester Avenue complexes near Oxford. Domestic property projects have included the development of Arle House in Hampshire, where a formal garden with random dry stone riverside, poolside and canal walling has been introduced.
With capacity to advise on, design and work in most parts of England Richard Gray and other skilled wall builders an co-workers expect to operate flexibly with private clients, householders, tradespeople, other professionals, contractors and developers or designers to achieve very best practice in stonework over deliverable timetables and fixed budgets.
As trained teacher Richard Gray also leads workshops and gives lectures on dry stone walling to deliver training to the high level required by The Cotswold Conservation Board and The Dry Stone Walling Association to ensure the art and science of traditional walling is passed on for future generations to enjoy. As a professional member of the Dry Stone Walling Association he lays emphasis on following the traditional rules attached to dry stone wall construction, including foundations, bonding, profile (or batter ), coursing, packing and setting vertical coping stones to achieve the distinctive form of Cotswold walls.
Each wall is nevertheless seen to be an opportunity to create a one-off design, and bring out what a client, architect or landscape designer endeavours to realise. It is also our aim to conserve and repair old walls sensitively and without damaging the built heritage of rural landscapes or the structure and setting of listed and historic buildings, using the appropriate skills and knowledge to ensure their long term survival.