Keeping Traditional Skills Alive – Dry Stone Walling at the Sound

– Posted on Monday 12th October 2020

A section of dry stone walling at the Sound has been repaired thanks to the work of David Fisher and Pat Griffiths.

Dry stone walls are a common feature in the Isle of Man’s landscape.  In the north of the island, they are typically made from beach cobbles, a material which was once commonly available and often used in dry stone walls, barns and stone buildings in villages such as Bride, Andreas and Jurby.  In contrast, slate  is the most commonly used material elsewhere on the island.

Shaun Murphy, Property Manager for Land Use and Sustainability at Manx National Heritage said:

“Whilst materials of construction differ across the island, dry stone walls serve an important purpose in marking field boundaries, securing livestock, providing shelter in adverse weather and as an invaluable habitat for wildlife.  They’re also historic and picturesque features of the Isle of Man’s landscape and their longevity is a great tribute to the building skills of our ancestors, who skilfully constructed them, without mortar, with each wall held together by the weight of stone, and by the skill of the builder who selected and fitted the stones together”.

From time to time, sections of stone wall on the Island’s national trust lands require replacement or repair.  This can be a result of weathering, livestock dislodging stones, or even removal of stones from the wall. 

Shaun continued:

“We are extremely grateful to Pat and David, who have skilfully repaired this section of wall at the Sound.  It’s a task that requires patience and is exceptionally strenuous, but this hasn’t deterred Pat or David, who are also regular visitors to the Calf of Man, where they regularly help rebuild and maintain dry stone walls on the island nature reserve”.


Image captions:

Image 1: David Fisher pictured as he commences work repairing a section of dry stone wall at the Sound.

Image 2: The completed dry stone wall repair at the Sound

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