About the Course
Two day dry stone walling course for beginners in Association with Dry Stone Walling Association of Great Britain
This course runs several times a year, usually between March to October and is held at various locations including:
Gorse Hall, Stalybridge
Ridge Farm, Diggle
Well-i-Hole Farm, Greenfield
Group Bookings Taken ( call for rates) Please ring or email for a booking form and to find out what locations are available on each date.
All of our courses are suitable for both beginners and improvers and are run by qualified and certified DSWA instructors.
Each course is run over two days and covers:
Health and safety
Use of tools
Preparing the site
Building the wall
Printed material provided at end of course
All our courses are very practical and over the two days, you will take down and rebuild a section of dry stone wall. You can work at your own pace and there is plenty of opportunity for discussion.Lots of help for those that may struggle.
All our walls are on working farms, and serve a purpose in maintaining the upkeep and management of the countryside. All our walls are built to a higher standard of the walls that they replace each wall is recorded and photograph for future generations to enjoy.
Places on courses are limited to a maximum of 6 participants per instructor and this ensures that you get plenty of individual attention.
Of course, many people who attend our courses want to continue to improve their walling skills. The best way to do this is to join the Dry Stone Walling Association (currently £35 per year) - you will then be eligible to attend any of our walling practice sessions free of charge.
If booking with a CraftCourses voucher for part or all of the course fee, please fill in the contact form above. Your voucher code must be provided at the point of booking.
What's included in the price?
All of the tools that you will need are provided, but you should wear stout boots and heavy duty, non-slip gloves (provided) Safety Glass (provided). It’s advisable to bring water-proofs / sun hat & sun cream.
All training courses run by DSWA have public liability insurance to cover course members for third party risks. Course participants should arrange their own personal insurance if they feel this is relevant.
Its advisable to bring a packed lunch and refreshments.
Simple toilet is provided
Satisfaction of building your own section of wall that will remain untouched for the next 100 years.
On conclusion of the day, each participant is provided with a range of excellent informative handouts, brochures and a - 'Certificate of Achievement'.
Booked on this course with slight trepidation but we need not have worried. Course was amazing and a truly inspiring leaning experience. There was a real camaraderie and the course was taught in a way that was accessible to all. The course leaders and volunteers made sure we were guided and supported throughout and never made us feel less than one of the team. Good banter throughout eased the aches and pains - although we still have no clue about the correct strata when placing a stone. Hopefully we will learn as we are planning to join the society. Ultimately, it was a great course with good company in a beautiful setting. Very proud of the wall we built.
Julie and Elaine - - #24170
I attended the 17th&18th August walling weekend at Ridge Farm, Diggle. All I can say is sign up and give it a go!! The weekend was amazing. The course instructors, and voluntary members, were awesome, super friendly and taught everyone well and without prejudice. I now fully intend to join as a member of the DSWA association and build on what I have learnt over this weekend. I am so proud of our wall!! Well done all who attended!!
Tina - - #24126
Having waited 18 months for the course having been snowed off when we were originally booked on, I finally did the beginners course at Ridge Farm Diggle on 17th / 18th August.
Chris did a great job of teaching the basics of drystone walling to us trainees in a clear and entertaining way so that between us and the other branch members, including Paul, Gill and Val, we managed to pull down and re-build 71 feet of wall.
Its tiring but the banter keeps you going and of course there is so much satisfaction in seeing the end result, knowing that it should stand for another 200 years.
I would really recommend this course for the experience, the knowledge and a greater appreciation of the effort and skill that goes into building such an important part of our countryside.
Elaine Berwick - - #24108
I did the beginners course at Ridge Farm Diggle on 17th / 18th August.
It was a fantastic two days and a very thorough introduction to the craft of drystone walling.
The whole team of instructors (and members who called in during the two days) were the most enthusiastic, informative and friendly bunch, you could wish for and they brought out the best in we beginners!
I thoroughly enjoyed it and would highly recommend the course.
A big thanks to Paul, Chris, Gill and the rest of the team.
Ian Clay - - #24096
A thoroughly enjoyable weekend. Hard work both physically & mentally (like a very taxing jigsaw puzzle!) however there is now a beautiful stretch of dry-stone wall above Stalybridge which I helped to construct. Thank you all for your patience, good humour & encouragement (Paul, you know who I'm referring to!)
Sarah Bradburn - - #21893
What a great way to spend a weekend. The team and instructors were great - informative, helpful, entertaining and skilled wallers with lots of patience and encouragement for us beginners. They were welcoming and friendly from the beginning and throughout. It was a great way to get an insight into an ancient craft, and satisying to take part. Beautiful setting at Gorse Hall
Trish Hill - - #21888
I cannot recommend this course too much. It was fascinating and also quite comforting, building a real wall - actually accomplishing something - out in the fresh air and lovely countryside and to learn how these things are put together. We had an excellent tutor and other members of the DSWA group joined in, all very friendly and supportive of our novice efforts to find the right rock in the rock pile and find the right place for it in the wall. Thank you for a great weekend.
Maria Novelly - - #21859
Great fun great banter
Skill for life
Thank you so much👍👍
Richard Buchanan - - #21851
For many years I have wanted an insight into the skills and knowledge required for stone walling.
This course was absolutely brilliant for this. The instruction was clear and concise, making absolutely sure we all understood the basic principles, the need for suitable caution when working in close proximity with others and the various calculations needed to ensure the wall was proportioned to make it strong enough to last for many years.
Our instructors and the support team of experienced stone wallers were excellent; always available to guide, advise and encourage.
Whilst the course was quite physically demanding everybody worked within their own capabilities.
Very proud of the end result, slept extremely well both nights and hope to be involved in the future in supporting the ever increasing demand for stone wallers.
Peter Lowther - - #21837
I have wanted to try dry stone walling for a while. I booked the course with the Lancashire branch well in advance and was quite nervous leading up to the course in case it was too physical for me. I needn't have worried as the instructors ensured that everyone worked at their own pace and stressed the need to work as a team. I had a thoroughly enjoyable two days taking down the old wall and then building up the new wall from its foundations. It was so satisfying to see the finished product and knowing it will be standing for a long time to come. The instructors led us through step by step and worked alongside us to help where needed and to build our confidence. I would definitely recommend it to others and hope to be able to attend other courses in the future.
Deborah - - #20962
A splendid course, with a real and lasting outcome. We transformed a higgledy-piggledy broken down wall into a magnificent adornment to the landscape. A highly recommended way to expend a weekend!
Andy Dickson - - #16516
I was given this course as a Christmas present and I didn’t know what to expect - would I be the only woman on the course, would I be strong enough, confidence to go on the course on my own etc but rest assured everyone was extremely welcoming and friendly, there were three other women learning how to create a dry stone wall and two women experienced dry stone walkers to help you in anyway. The course it self was really informative, very safe, relaxed (go at your own speed) and we had great banter with the instructors and new friends. I am very proud of myself and the sense of achievement of being able to pull down a sad broken dry stone wall a rebuild to to its former glory. I would definitely recommend this course to everyone.
Elaine Owen - - #16514
What a satisfying way to spend the weekend. Felt like I was doing something worthwhile and totally enjoyed the process. All I thought about whilst I was there was building that wall. I shall be joining the DSWA, buying my own hammer and spending a day a month absorbed in my new hobby. The team were great and the teaching excellent.
Angela Mann - - #16494
A most enjoyable, entertaining and informative way to spend a week-end
James Ward - - #16456
A thoroughly enjoyable, informative and rewarding weekend. The knowledge, expertise and passion shared by our instructors was truly invigorating. That much so, we have joined the DSWA and can't wait to embark on our next challenge. It was an absolute pleasure to spend the weekend learning skills that have been passed down through generations. Despite a brief encounter with the hailstone the sun shone through our team all weekend.
Thank you to all the instructors for their patience, dedication and encouragement!
We had a wonderful weekend.
We're looking forward to our next meeting :)
Bev and Lee Watson
Bev and Lee Watson - - #16211
I came on this course in an attempt to unlock how I go about re-building my stone walls at home. It became apparent that I had no idea what was involved...but over the two days and with the help of very informative instructors I learnt this is no easy fix. The detail that goes into the conservation of these walls (and what these walls do to protect the local wildlife) and the passion of the the instructors, made up my mind that I need to help make some contribution in the renovation of Dry Stone Walling in my local area. There were another eight guys n gals with me on the course and we all thoroughly enjoyed it (despite the heavens opening on the second day). I have now joined the Association and look forward to increasing my knowledge of this art over time. Many thanks to everyone involved.
Clive Winterburn - - #16185
A thoroughly enjoyable weekend in great company with excellent instruction. Every time I walk along this section of wall I will have the immense satisfaction in knowing that I helped to build it - I've already joined the Dry Stone Walling Association!
Kathy E - - #16170
What an excellent two days covering how to build a wall from scratch. There was plenty of hands on instruction from people who are obviously passionate about the art of dry stone walling. If you're thinking about taking this course then stop right now and just do it, you won't be disappointed.
Ian Ball - - #16169
The opportunity to give something to the local community that would last into the next century was realised when I attended the weekend course.
Run by enthusiastic, knowledgable and highly skilled instructors and volunteers who enthused us all to work as a team.
The comraderie and banter over the weekend was intoxicating and with the additional supply of home baking goodies, no one was going to let a few drops of rain stop us from building our wall.
Leaning is a life long journey and the skill set I have learnt over the weekend will enable me to further enhance the beautiful area that I live in.
The best way to describe this course is in two words: Highly recommended!
Adam Connor - - #16168
Good banter, great teaching, Helped build a strong, tall wall. Great wall of China's got nothing on ours!
Sheila Hirst - - #16167
I was bought this course for my 70th birthday as my sons told me I was forever telling them when they were young and we were out in the countryside, it was something I'd like to do!!!! I've had to wait a while, but it was worth it!!!!
I was a little apprehensive as I have arthritis in my knees and didn't want to let anyone down by not pulling my weight. Well, I couldn't believe what we achieved in two days!!! It was a great team effort lead by two very knowledgeable and enthusiastic leaders. Their explanations and examples were easy to follow and help was always on hand if required. I would highly recommend this course to all ages and abilities and I would like to be involved in more projects
Wendy Waind - - #14589
This was a wonderful experience spent in great company and led by first-class instructors. The sense of achievement in dismantling the foundations of an existing dry-stone wall and re-building a healthy section of new wall was immense. The course is delivered at a fantastic pace to enable complete beginners to understand the techniques involved in this worthy pursuit. The instructors deliver a unique experience that enables learning to take place whilst having fun at the same time. Due care and attention is given to Health and Safety and it wasn't long before we were all partaking in the building exercise which provides a huge amount of satisfaction. If you are enchanted by the network of dry-stone walling that adorns the upper landscapes then this is the course for you......don't wait for someone to buy it for you as a gift! A word of caution.....it's a little bit addictive!
Eamonn - - #14539
An absolutely fantastic course run by people who really know their subject and are eager to show others. Their passion for dry stone walling is infectious and over the two days we were introduced to the basics of building a dry stone wall, I'd like to add this is a real working wall, one that will help a farmer and be standing for a couple of centuries not one that is torn down again for the next group. There is a little "classroom" work lasting around half an hour each day and the rest is pure practical experience with friendly, concise expert guidance, which is the best way to learn anything. It's all done in a laid back friendly fashion - you work at your own pace and at the end of the two days you will be amazed at what you have achieved. I felt really proud of what the whole group achieved and it's made me want to learn more.
I waited a few years before finally getting the resolve to do the course and if you're reading this I'd say don't think too much about it just get out there and do it.
Nick Clarkson - - #14538
Really enjoyed the course and was very pleased with the quality of training and support given by the instructors. I'd recommend it to anyone thinking of taking part - you will not regret it. It's a great way to spend a couple of days and you get to create something that will form part of the landscape for the next couple of hundred years.
Danny B - - #14536
A fantastic introduction to dry stone walling. Very much hands on with sufficient teaching and guidance to enable the group to dismantle and completely rebuild a section of an old disintegrated dry stone wall. The instructors were excellent. They provide the right balance of allowing you to put theory into practice, whilst working alongside the team to provide practical advice and tips; sharing their obvious mastery of the craft. The feeling we all had at the completion of the weekend was a real high. Seeing a section of wall that we had completed together, that looked solid and would last the test of time, was amazing. Never thought we could do such a good job when we arrived. Our section blended in so well with the sections rebuilt earlier that we all stood back in pride.
gerard kenyon - - #14535
The course was a birthday gift from my kids and i have have to say a great present.
The course is run over two days and is well structured. The instructors are excellent and extremely knowledgable, and as well as giving you the benefit of their expertise they make the course good fun.
You get the opportunity to gain hands on experience in the art of drystone walling and I guarantee you will be pleased with the results of your work over the two days.
Nigel Feerick - - #14522
I don't usually review things but in this case I'm making an exception. I joined the course because I volunteer for the National Trust in South Cumbria and have helped repair gaps in walls a couple of times. This course is very well organised with clear guidance and plenty of encouragement from friendly, knowledgeable and experienced instructors. Apart from the brief but important "classroom" sessions the two days were spent dismantling a dilapidated section of wall and rebuilding it, working as a team to produce the finished product - a very satisfying experience.
Peter S - - #14516
I undertook the 2 day beginners course with the Lancashire Branch and thoroughly enjoyed myself. The tutors were extremely knowledgeable and friendly and made everyone feel welcome and relaxed. It felt amazing to have contributed towards the building of a drystone wall which will now be standing for far longer than I will. I still have a quick look at it whenever I walk by and still feel that tingle of pride.
Jeff Kiveal - - #11597
This 2 day initial training I had with Lancashire branch was very well organised & run.
The trainers were professional & friendly, they made me feel comfortable & confident with building a section of dry stone wall.
I would recommend this training to any person who is interested in walling.
It was great to work as a team & also to work in your own space to practise, ask & learn new techniques from others.
All the participants were so helpful & friendly & nice to each other. A great 2 days in the fresh air & countryside.
Andre Akida - - #11552
I only have one regret and that is I didn't enrol on this course years ago! I had an appreciation of the heritage and uniqueness of dry stone walls before but until I went on the course I hadn't appreciated that they were a work of art and if you are very lucky you have a chance of creating something beautiful. The two days were well organised and a pleasure to participate in, everyone was friendly and the organisers knew their stuff. Everywhere I look I see walls in need of repair, it is vital that we carry on and it is through organisations such as this that it can be made possible. Keep up the good work !
Yvonne Fleming - - #11550
I only went along to keep my wife company but to my surprise, found that I had a really good time and felt that I was learning a really valuable skill. Having originally thought it wouldn't be for me, I now find that I'm a convert
Robert Lee - - #11546
I attended the course in August and was very impressed with all the instructors and the volunteers who were helping out. In addition to being informative, it was great fun and I was very pleased with my efforts. I really want to carry on with this activity and will be going along to the practice meets whenever I can
Valerie Lee - - #11545
Good tutors, very informative and at the right pace. Pleasantly surprised how much was completed in such a short time period and battling against Storm Brian!
Nigel Baker - - #11382
Really enjoyed the course. It was fun and informative. I learned a new skill and may well look to practice and improve on that in the future by joining a local group.
David Bloomfield - - #11356
Excellent enthusiastic teaching. Good staff to student ratio. Great balance of theory and practical teaching by people passionate about their craft. I could not recommend highly enough. I am now looking forward to carrying out some simple repairs on the walls of the small holding of some friends.
Dr Will Weston - - #11346
Dry stone walling has always played a part in our English Countryside heritage, and like many people I'm sure, has been an unspoken ambition of mine to learn the skill of. So one day, just thought carpe diem, and subsequently spend 2 fantastic days, helping build a Dairy Farmer's wall, in idyllic settings. Hard work but great fun, made so by the expert and enthusiastic trainers, who thankfully all had a strong sense of humour. Felt at ease playing the apprentice in a highly professional training environment. Great fellow learners, performing serious manual work, not used to, but rewarding in helping maintain the longevity of a wonderful craft, with modern day farming relevancy. Try it!
Clare Gibson - - #10293
Having received the beginners weekend course as a Christmas present I was not entirely sure what to expect. Would I enjoy 2 days of hard graft? Would it be fun or a chore?
Well I found it addictive! There is something very satisfying about creating a lasting (hopefully!) structure. A great antidote to modern computerised world.
The tutors are very friendly and offer very helpful tips and guidance. There was a great team atmosphere and I gained the confidence to tackle basic wall repairs and construction.
A really enjoyable couple of days in a beautiful setting. Highly recommended!
Darren Jones - - #10241
Have photographed and admired dry stone walls all my life and appreciated them as a part of our heritage/landscape, however had no idea how they were built. So googled away until I found the DSWA and decided to attend a weekend course.
It was fantastic, really lovely instructors, ditto the other attendees. We got stuck in and got to see our wall grow, satisfying, physical and fun.
Jac Tavener - - #10161
I had always fancied a go, just to learn the basics, but - of course - never got round to it. This was solved by my wife who bought me the course as a 60th birthday present. A very interesting and informative weekend was spent among like minded and friendly co-students - led by enthusiastic, knowledgeable and entertaining tutors. Hard work though - but good fun. I can recommend the course to all.
Neil Tomlinson - - #9537
What a great two days, spent learning a new and valuable skill. The tutors were excellent and allowed everyone to work at their own pace. By the end of the weekend we had built a beautiful dry stone wall that should hopefully last for many, many years. I would thoroughly recommend this course to any one wanting to give dry stone walling a try or to brush up on some existing skills. I will be back!
Andy C - - #9523
Signing on this two day course was a result of pure curiosity, as to what goes into building the miles of dry stone walls that lace the landscape.
The course indeed satisfied my curiosity to some tune, thanks to the great atmosphere that the guys running the course create and the relaxed way they pass on their skills. It was a really positive and enthusiastic experience that you couldn't fail to enjoy learning in.
You couldn't move for phones being drawn to capture our own sections of the completed wall at the end of the day on a photo. What a great sense of achievement!
As you have probably gathered I would strongly recommend this course to anyone. And though I have satisfied the curiosity, I have kept on walling.
Barry Preston - - #7227
Firstly i would like to say what a friendly group of people the members are. I had a great weekend learning the basics of dry stone walling with plenty of informal tuition as well as some gathering around a flipchart with Chris who is excellent. I teamed up with another student (Frank) and over two days we built a section of wall that should last a few years!
First class experience and after joining I am looking forwards to some days in the fresh air re-building stone walls for everybody's enjoyment of our landscape heritage.
ed crosland - - #7206
Brilliant course + experience in general. Really welcoming, inspiring people. I'm definitely going to carry on walling, but would very much advise future course members to take warm layers + waterproofs... Anyone who showed up in jeans really suffered in the driving rain + wind of the sunday, but I was v.impressed that no-one chickened out 'cause of the weather. Such a satisfying craft. Thanks!
Ali Leather - - #3056
My great grandfather was a dry stone waller so I wanted to try and learn the skill and make a contribution to my local loved Pennine lanscape. I completed the course in August 2014. I thoroughly enjoyed the course it was just what I was hoping for; although my muscles would tell you a different story! Some endurance and stamina is required. The teaching was undertaken by Chris who is knowledgeable, skilled and experienced. The learning included the building and construction of the wall, a review of health and safety issues and the tools needed for the job in hand. The best part is the practice element, just getting going and having a go with like minded people. Building a wall can be frustrating but once you have found that perfect stone its so satisfying. Contributing to a structure that could last hundreds of years, is fantastic. The opportunity is there for you, just give it a go..
Jackie Taylor - - #2992
A well constructed course (in every sense of the word). Clear, concise instruction prior to us constructing each section of the wall. Then lots of practical advice and encouragement during the building process. At the end of the course it was so satisfying to step back and admire our own work. A brilliant 2 days (despite the weather on Sunday morning). I would recommend it to anyone
Peter Taft - - #2952
An informative and practical based course that was well organised and run over the two days. Excellent fun with plenty of opportunity to practice new techniques and reflect on your achievements with enthusiastic and good humoured instructors. Excellent value for money and thoroughly recommended.
Zoe Edgar - - #2050
After having wanting to learn the craft of drystone walling for many years I finally found time and enrolled on a course. From the initial booking to the completion of the course everything was first class, so much so I ended up joining the DSWA and have carried on practice with my local branch. The organisation of the course was carefully structured so that you understood the basic principles as you had hands on practice in constructing a wall which remains in place with a purpose. The small group numbers to instructors ensured you were well supervised but allowed to get on with the works. Would certainly recommend this course to anyone with an interest in this traditional skill. My advice is don't think about it just do it and book a course.
Neil Beevor - - #2047
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