Country Crafts & Traditional Skills

Yorkshire Dry Stone Walling

Dry Stone Walling
Wall at Yorkshire Dry Stone Walling
Guild competition October 2005

Ever since the land closure acts of 1760 to 1840 were introduced, the dry stone walls that form the field patterns of the Yorkshire Dales have inspired artists, residents and visitors from around the world.

Throughout this time the art of Dry Stone Walling has seen little change, using natural local stone without the addition of any man-made materials. The end product, often regarded as masterpieces to be proud of by fellow craftsmen, have remained standing for over 250 years and formed part of our heritage.

The skills required to build and maintain dry stone walls have been passed down through generations, but with the numbers of Agricultural workers and skilled rural tradesmen in decline the demand to keep walls maintained throughout the dales is increasing.

The Yorkshire Dry Stone Walling Guild promote the skills of walling and run practice and taster days for anyone interested in learning or improving their walling skills.

For more information about the work of the Guild or to register an interest in attending a walling event, contact

Article by C.V.Bailey, Yorkshire Dry Stone Walling Guild

Gayle Mill - A new place to re-learn old skills in the heart of Wensleydale

Gayle Mill

Gayle Mill is a restored 19th century state-of-the-art sawmill, complete with Victorian machinery driven by water-powered turbines. Located in the village of Gayle just outside of Hawes the Mill provides the perfect venue to explore the tradition of craftsmanship in the Dales. The Mill hosts hands on courses, evening talks and demonstrations. It is run by the voluntary organisation Gayle Mill Trust and is supported by the Friends of Gayle Mill.

Day courses at the Mill are led by expert local tutors & artists. A local lunch provided by The Wensleydale Pantry in Hawes completes the day’s hard work. Workshops and talks take place on the spacious top floor of this classic Arkwright Mill, taking in views of the dramatic Wensleydale scenery.

Throughout the year we run courses on Wheelwrighting, Blacksmithing, Upholstery, Lino Printing, Relief Wood Carving, Willow Weaving and have Experience Woodworking Days matched to individual skills.

For a full list of events coming up at Gayle Mill visit or call the mill on 01969 667320 and speak to our Manager, Claire Lambert.


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             The funding is being made available through the Rural Development Programme for England, Which is jointly funded by Defra and the European Union