A Dry Stone Walling Workshop Bedfordshire

Choosing face side


One-day dry stone walling course.

A unique opportunity to take part in constructing a Dry Stone Boundary wall, in the heart of the Bedfordshire countryside.

These workshops are a 'hands on' experience to the introduction or improvement for DIY and interested persons over 16yrs. You will assess setting out of building pins, batter frames and lines. You will stack out material in the appropriate manner and commence building. You will consider foundation stones and continue building and assess position of placing through stones. You will continue building and have an over view of placing top stones.

During the construction, you will learn an overview of the heritage and craft, geological and engineering terms and descripton of stones used. You will receive, and discuss, an overview into the construction of various wall features and finishes. You will learn fundamentals of building raised flowerbeds and other features -- if time allows.

The instructor/trainers are experienced wallers and certificated by the Dry Stone Walling Association.

At the end of the day you will - be able to safely and confidently set out and construct a dry stone wall or basic feature - understand DSW heritage and terminology used - distinguish various stone materials and their uses.

Cancellation and a full refund can be obtained up to 2 weeks before the course starts. Start dates may be amended on request.

What's included in the price?

All materials, tools and equipment are provided along with personal protective equipment for example - gloves, goggles, kneeling pads, where required and first aid. Excellent welfare and personal facilites requirements. Essential to bring your own packed lunch and drink, stout, robust footwear, preferbly safety boots and old protective over clothing which may become dirty or marked and suitable for the possible weather conditions.

On conclusion of the workshop, each participant is provided with a range of excellent informative handouts, brochures and a 'Certificate of Acheivement'.


John Holt at London School of Dry Stone Walling
Marshwood House
Ravensden Road
Renhold, Bedford
MK41 0JY

Suitable for

  • Adults
  • Parking provided
  • Suitable for beginners
Platinum Badge
What does this mean?

This craft course provider has been awarded Platinum status for receiving 50 or more 5 star ratings from previous students.

The Students' Choice award ensures that course providers get recognised for their efforts in the teaching and practice of UK craft.

They also allow tutors to gain valuable feedback on their courses and for new students to find the course that's right for them.




1 day (10:00am to 4:00pm)


10th April 2021

See available dates Buy as a gift voucher


In-person course
Dominic Bevacqua - - #24700

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Response from London School of Dry Stone Walling:

Hello Dominic - Thank you for your feedback, it was good to have you on board. Great you felt the benefit of important specifics, the balance of teaching techniques and developing your 'eye'. Enjoy the NDSWC and your volunteering day's, Best Wishes, John

In-person course
Anne - - #23910

My husband and I attended the workshop run by John on 10th Aug. We had a thoroughly enjoyable day and gained great insights into techniques used to build dry stone walls. John is a great instructor and very patient with absolute novices. There’s a good balance of checking/making sure you are on track and being left alone to work it out for yourself. Very therapeutic! I would actually like to go back to do a 2nd day to try building different part to the wall e.g. foundations stones. Thanks for a memorable day.

Response from London School of Dry Stone Walling:

Hello Anne - Thank you for your feedback. I am pleased you felt the benefit of 'being left alone' to put one over two or two over one. There is much to learn and you achieved completing a good section of the wall, juggling with the stone and following the line !!
The next section is under preparation, more trench digging ready for foundations, to carry on building into where we finished the raking back!! You would be welcome to return, at any time. Take Care, Best Wishes, John

In-person course
Guy Seaborn - - #23898

I had a wonderful day! It seemed to pass extremely quickly, which was a testament to John's insights and "the wall." It is essentially a big jigsaw. I learned about basking stones, hearting stones, batter, first lift and second lift and more to boot. It was an inspiring and renewing experience which I would recommend to anybody in these fast days of computer games.

Response from London School of Dry Stone Walling:

Hello Guy - Thank you for your feedback. I am pleased you were inspired by the experience. It was good to see your handling of the stone and how it improved during the day, choosing particular ones to form a 'racking angle', keeping the batter and placing the fillings.
Best Wishes, John

In-person course
Paul Howard - - #23372

I have been looking forward to doing this course for some time. I have always loved DSW, having the chance to learn new skills is great and John is a great teacher.
I cant wait to put what i have learned in my own projects at home and friends.
Thank you for a great day.

Response from London School of Dry Stone Walling:

Thank you Paul - I am pleased you gained benefit from attending the DSW workshop. It is good to learn you will be using your skill to build a feature at home - or elswhere !! The group worked well together and much was achieved. I wish you well for the future. Take Care and Best Wishes - John

In-person course
James Peverell - - #22631

A very good day despite the weather. Excellent insight from John and good company. I am inspired to attend a practice weekend to go one stage further.

In-person course
Tim Watling - - #22621

Had a very good day. Learnt I can’t keep a straight course, with thin pieces of stone. Got better with the hammer chipping bits off to reshape.
Leant some terms, batter the angle of the wall, jumper - evening up a course.
Would take on doing a wall at home.

In-person course
Nicola Montagu - - #20541

Very interesting course amazing what you can learn in just one day

Response from London School of Dry Stone Walling:

Hello Nicola - It was a good day and i am pleased you found it interesting, observing the 'batter', the lines, seeing the foundations going in, placing of the 'three quarter throughs', juggling with the stone until you found the suitable 'face' and placing it 'one over two' ! It does take time to settle into the activity and wish you well in your future activity overseas - Take Care, Best Wishes - John

In-person course
Nick Mansfield - - #20409

I found the Dry Stone Walling course to be very educational, and set at the right level for those attending. John was very knowledgable and helped the course along with his encouragement and anecdotes. It gave me the confidence to try a a few small home projects, and an interest to learn more about this countryside craft.

Response from London School of Dry Stone Walling:

Hello Nick - thank you for your time to review. Good to have two 'brothers' ! working along side each other 'juggling' the stone. You did appreciate getting your 'eye' in and time required to find the appropriate piece with suitable 'face'. I am sure your garden features will appear in due course and you spend happy times building a DSW. Best Wishes to both, kind regards, John

In-person course
Philip Weston - - #20400

The day with John was a great experience! There were 7 'students' (all excellent company by the way) having a go at what, on the face of it, seems a straightforward process. I soon learnt how straightforward John made it seem!!

John spent time patiently explaining the process, showing details of the wall already built and pointing out the features of a dry stone wall. He dealt with the wall from foundation up and we soon learnt some of the terminology (2 on 1, 1 on 2, jumpers, cheek ends, batter etc.) and were able to (try and) apply the principles taught. I don't consider myself a good DIYer although I give things a go and this is the attitude that John wants. For me, it was not easy, and you should see it as a hands-on taster/introduction to the subject. In that regard, it was very good.

Response from London School of Dry Stone Walling:

Thank you for your comments Philip, your time to consider the workshop content is much appreciated. It is a practical subject and i am particularly pleased you remarked on some of the terms used. It does take time and some 'juggling' to consider what stone goes where ! Best Wishes, John

In-person course
Peter Gorra - - #17391

John's dry stone walling course is an active participation in learning the basic skills of wall construction. I thoroughly enjoyed the course but more importantly took away the necessary skills and appreciation for the wonderful works of stone that most of us just walk past. John is a fountain of knowledge on all matters of stone and patiently answered all my questions. I am looking forward to another course taught by him.

Response from London School of Dry Stone Walling:

Hello Peter - Thankyou for your positive feedback, we covered a lot of ground over dsw chitter chatter. You will surely make a good impression with your homestead walls !!
Take Care, Best Wishes John

In-person course
Neil Foster - - #16354

The trainer,John Holt, emailed sheets before the course giving basic guidance on good and bad practice in Dry Stone Walling which was helpful preparation. He also sent good instructions on location etc.

The course was very 'hands-on' which was ideal for such a practical subject. John gave us a brief talk on what we needed to do and then watched us doing it giving us tips and helping where necessary. We worked in two teams, one on the base of the wall we were building and the other on the higher level, switching over after lunch so that we all experienced both.

We were given instruction in how to lay out the strings to keep the wall straight and the courses of stone even, plus the dimensions required to make the batter frame.

A really good, informative and enjoyable day.

Response from London School of Dry Stone Walling:

Hello Neil - Thank you for your feedback comments. I am pleased you found the workshop content helpful. During the day, i saw how you and the group developed, choosing, juggling with stone, then a chip here and there and finding a place for it on the wall. Particularly pleased that you benefited from swapping round different places on the wall and developed your own techniques in shapeing the stone. I am sure your experience and interest will enhance further, as you begin to notice more and more DSW during your travels. Best Wishes, John

In-person course
Tim Aitken - - #16340

Really enjoyed this course as I had seen a few things on TV about dry stone walls and there importance.

John was excellent at demonstrating the batters, ratio of wall depths and thicknesses in proportion to the height. Had a great time chipping the stones, introducing the shims and the through and through stones to give rigidity. I would like to do more of this and hopefully will get an opportunity soon.
I feel confident in placing the foundation stones to the best advantage and following the lines of the batter to make a complete wall. A friend has bought a farm house in wales with lots of walls that need fixing so this will come in useful.

Many thanks
Tim Aitken

Response from London School of Dry Stone Walling:

Thank you for your feedback Tim. I am pleased you recalled some of the terms used and do hope you will be able to continue the practice of DSW in Wales - that's just great news. Don't rush it !! Take care and I wish you well for the future - John

In-person course
Hilary - - #16174

Who'd have thought it, I'm a Waller! I won't say it wasn't tiring work but I found it very satisfying assessing the right stone for the right place and seeing the wall grow strong and sound to the required shape and size. What a sense of achievement to build something beautiful that could stand for hundreds of years
A huge thank you to John for his careful tutelage. What a gent.

Response from London School of Dry Stone Walling:

Hello Hillary- many thanks for your feedback, i am pleased you discovered a new calling! Your quiet determination and steady, thoughtful choice and juggling the stone was an inspiration.

In-person course
Peter Buchanan - - #15913

Very enjoyable .The information ,history and Johns easy going approach struck exactly the
right balance and by the end I had learnt a lot .Thankyou

Response from London School of Dry Stone Walling:

Hello Peter - thank you for your feedback. I hope you are able to use the information while building your flower bed retaining wall.

In-person course
Matthew Strangwick - - #15401

Fantastic course. Found the information about the snare holes and basking stones especially interesting. Thanks for a great time!

Response from London School of Dry Stone Walling:

Hello Matthew,
Thank for your feed back, they are interesting topics, much appreciated. You have a good eye to improve DSW through practice. Best Wishes John

In-person course
Marc Jordan - - #15130

Clear, practical and friendly. Pleasing to have contributed to an enduring project rather than a sample wall that would be dismantled.

Response from London School of Dry Stone Walling:

Hello Marc – Thank you for your feedback. I valued your input and your contribution will stay put, that was no sample !! As you said at the time, the workshop experience sheds more insight and understanding into the skill and craft heritage of previous generations.

In-person course
Jim - - #12354

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Response from London School of Dry Stone Walling:

Thank you for your detailed feed back Jim. It was a great day. I hope you would be able to use the workshop experience in future projects you may undertake and wish you well for the future.

In-person course
Shay Lindsay - - #11806

As a Landscape Gardener, I have knowledge of bonding brickwork and the principles behind strength in walls, foundations etc. The knowledge that John has can only be achieved through years of experience and thats what i was after from the day. All the little tips and tricks that real, traditional craftsmen possess are priceless. John is a genuine, friendly gent whose passion for the craft is evident in his teaching. Cracking day with my Dad for a bit of Father/ Son bonding.
Thanks John!

In-person course
jim Lindsay - - #11617

I had an excellent day along with my son. Having been involved within construction in different roles for many years it had always been an ambition of mine to learn the art of DSW. I wasn't disappointed.
I found John to be a very enthusiastic ,most knowledgeable instructor, who obviously gets great satisfaction in passing on his extensive knowledge to others, with his directing and instructing at different stages of construction .
Thank you John we had such a good day.
Jim & Shay

In-person course
Andy Stevens - - #11100

I had a great day, great company, great instruction . John was excellent and very informative. Gave everyone in the group equal time and answered every question asked. I feel that, with the instruction given, I could quite confidently build my own wall. I would recommend this course to anyone that wants to spend a day in the fresh air, away from computers and phones and learn something new.

In-person course
Russell Green - - #11037

Huge thanks to John and Mike for providing a fabulous day of learning and laughter! We were a small group of four which proved ideal for group and individual coaching in the challenging art of dry stone walking. John is patient, encouraging and with a dry sense of humour. We really felt that we'd accomplished something pretty special by the end of our day which incidentally flew by. As the homework suggests, it looks simple but isn't! Johns ability to eyeball a stone and with a deft hammer blow make it fit seamlessly into place is a joy to behold. My family booked this for a Fathers Day present; A great gift with happy memories!

Russell Green provisional dry stone waller!

In-person course
Callum - - #9833

John's passion for dry stone walling is infectious and I found him to be a patient and effective teacher. I feel confident that this course has given me a strong foundation to begin my own wall and learn more as I go.

In-person course
Murray - - #9704

A very enjoyable course and John is an excellent tutor. Very informative, everything was explained and the practical aspect means there are no excuses when it comes to building my first wall.

In-person course
Malcolm Allison - - #9354

A very satisfying day that has Inspired me to build my own dry stone wall.
John balanced gentle guidance with huge enthusiasm. A lot of practical advice and encouragement. I left exhausted but with a great sense of achievement.

In-person course
Philip Hall - - #9015

A very enjoyable experience. John Holt runs the day in a relaxed manner and imparts a surprising amount of knowledge as you learn by doing. John is enthusiastic and knowledgeable and gets the right balance between letting you get on with it and intervening when necessary. You end up having actually built some wall. which is very satisfying.

In-person course
david Hennings - - #8634

really good course and learnt a lot and enjoyed it. The only improvement is maybe better joing instructions e.g. bring drinks and food. I asked so I knew to bring those but some simple instructions would avoid any mistakes.

In-person course
adam carveth - - #8615

I felt inspired to just want to start building some dry stone wall. I would even go as far as saying I would be up for the possibility of becoming a dry stone wall craft worker if I change from gardening. John was easy going, very knowledgeable and I felt I didn't want to stop. Great day! Thank you

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