Poles taught dry stone walling

30 March 2001

Poles taught dry stone walling

YORKSHIRES dry stone walls are going up big in Poland. Ken France, the new deputy president of the Dry Stone Walling Association, has been to the East European country three times teaching and demonstrating the techniques of the traditional craft.

He was invited after a group of young Polish environmentalists visiting here had fallen in love with the walls which criss-cross the Pennines near his home at Meltham, near Huddersfield. "I was treated like a king," said Ken.

"Seven television cameras were trained on me when I built a wall in Bielski-Biala, near Krakow.

"There are no dry stone walls in Poland, fields are divided by ditches and wire fences. Our walls fascinate them but they dont have the same flat bed stone. Cubes of hard stone had to be broken up and I walled with the random chunks." But he has still managed to build a wall 50 yards long and a cairn. A return trip is possibly on the cards.

Ken is well known on Pennine farms. He has been a waller for over 50 years and is still working full-time. He holds every qualification in the book, including master craftsman, and has taught the art at Huddersfield University. He has travelled all over the country judging and teaching.

He says that Britains walling tradition is found in few other countries but such walls can be found in Portugal, the Himalayas and even America.

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