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Dry stone walling course Lancashire/Yorkshire/Manchester/Leeds/Sheffield/North West


About the Course

Two day dry stone walling courses on Saddleworth Moor, plus locations throughout the North and close enough for people in the Midlands. This course is designed for people who are going to actually build or repair a wall on their own land or in their garden. If you are building or repairing your own wall, then you want to know that it will be 100% right. We teach to a very high standard for an introductory course and make sure you go home knowing precisley what to do. When you finish the course you will know exactly how to get started on your own project.

Our usual rendezvous is at 08:45 hrs prompt in Diggle Hotel car park, Saddleworth. This is next to Bill’s B&B if you are staying there – Bill owns the land where we build – you can literally roll to the wall from your bed!

On occasion we run the course at other locations across Lancashire, Yorkshire and the Midlands so please do check at least a week in advance and we will also call you to advise.

New! Due to demand we do offer the possibility to do the same 2 day course but in one day - it is not for the feint hearted, we cover exactly the same syllabus, it is hard work but those that do it love it! Please contact us

Are you stuck at a desk staring at a computer wondering if you are capable of making things anymore?

We will quickly show you that not only can you make something unique but also something that will last a very long time!

Dog with a bone are one of the leading first stage drystone walling training companies in the UK. People travel from all over to learn with us. People even come from the Lake District, which says a lot!

This is a unique opportunity to learn how to build a drystone wall.

Jim White of the Daily Telegraph, who recently trained with us said 'Brilliant course! Get back to basics, build a wall, sort yourself out.'

How does a wall stay up for 200 years without mortar? Find out by building one yourself!

Our introductory two day courses teach you everything you need to know to build your own simple dry stone wall.

These courses are perfect for beginners and those such as small holders and farmers who want to learn how to repair their own walls. They are also suitable for those that want to learn to build a small wall in a garden.

Building under the guidance of an expert a small section of dry stone wall from scratch - you will quickly understand this ancient, complex craft.

Our courses differ from others in that they are taught not only by experienced dry stone wallers, but also professionally qualified teachers who know how to get the best out of students.

Our groups are smaller than almost every other course so you get more one to one - which means better use of your time. We can also introduce you to mindfulness, techniques that help you relax and appreciate the environment where we are working. But you don't have to do this if you don't want. Many do. As the Telegraph's Jim White said 'my mind feels oddly rested'. Dry stone walling is a highly beneficial pastime both mentally and physically.

Once you have completed the course you can go on to build or repair your own walls, moving on if you wish to further training and qualifications.

Who knows, maybe this could be the start of a healthy new career? Maybe it will inspire you to go in new directions?

One thing is for sure - being outside, working quietly in a natural environment will help make you feel better. There is something strangely absorbing about learning this quiet craft that requires no power tools or modern technology.

‘Highly recommended – my crumbling walls are transformed’ – Emma, farmer

‘An amazing sensual experience. My mind feels oddly rested’ – Jim White, Daily Telegraph

‘An overwhelming sense of achievement . . . unique and special’ – Aimee Belmore, Saddleworth Independent

‘I’ve loved this course and want to do more’ – Kyle, 21

‘I’m so proud of my wall!’ – Dan, 14

Courses run in Saddleworth, Yorkshire and Rochdale, Lancashire. We can provide contacts for accomodation nearby. People come from all over - Lake District, London, Cotswolds, Midlands, America, Germany everywhere!

We can often accommodate you at short notice - we love teaching this and will do our damnedest to fit you in so give us a ring and ask! We will also run a special course just for you if you have a small group.

If you will be redeeming a CraftCourses gift voucher on this course, the voucher code must be provided at the point of booking.

What's included in the price?

All tuition and tools provided.

You need to bring good outdoor clothing for all conditions, a flask, some sandwiches and a sense of humour.

Please note - the price on this website is per person for 2 people or more attending - the price for a single course is £195 - please check our website for details and for savings when booking two places - call us if there are any problems


John Matthews at Dog with a Bone
The Diggle Hotel
Station Houses, Diggle
Saddleworth, Oldham
Greater Manchester
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What does this mean?

This craft course provider has been awarded Gold status for receiving 10 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.

Suitable for

  • Accommodation offered
  • Advanced/pro level
  • Corporate days out & team building
  • Engagement, birthdays & anniversaries
  • Intermediate level
  • Public transport
  • Residential
  • Suitable for beginners
  • Teenagers

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2 days

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In-person course
- - #30285

I did my course in August 2020,this was one of the most fulfilling weekends I have spent in a long time.
John our instructor, was an excellent course instructor, funny, very enthusiastic and informative. Rather than watch him build, he quickly had both of us on the course working hard to build a section of a wall. I have learnt a lot, and now look at a dry stone wall in a new way.

I would recommend anyone with an interest in walling to try the course, you wont be disappointed.

In-person course
- - #30268

I took part in this course in August 2020 and thoroughly enjoyed learning about the history and process of building a dry stone wall. John's enthusiasm for the craft really shone through and helped encourage us even at points which were difficult. The sense of achievement after completing our item section of wall was incredible. John also gave us the option of incorporating mindfulness activities, which went along with the wall building and lovely countryside setting really well. I feel very well informed by the course and an looking forward to using my newly learnt skills. I will certainly never look at a dry stone wall in the same way as before!

In-person course
- - #24734

Amazing course. Felt like I had really accomplished something at the end. John was great company, informative and skilled. Loved every minute, not grafted that hard for a long time. Would definitely recommend. Looking forward to doing more dry stone walling.


In-person course
- - #23552

I had a great time learning the old skills of dry stone walling.
With John’s guidance, from laying the base to placing the toppers, John instructed us through all the skills of stonewalling.
With plenty of fresh air and beautiful scenery the two days flew by. Even though the course was intense and frustrating trying to get the right fit of stone, John’s help in mindfulness worked a treat.
I will continue doing walling with the confidence that with the knowledge that I have been given I can improve day by day.

In-person course
- - #22363

I found this course extremely informative, useful and enjoyable. I feel able to take on my own project now!

In-person course
- - #22346

I recently attended the course with my 22 year old son and I can honestly say (despite a storm coming through on one day!) that it was extremely rewarding and there was never a dull moment.

The level and detail of the teaching was top notch and I feel that I am able to tackle my own project with confidence and gusto.

A very positive and fulfilling experience.

Response from Dog with a Bone:

Fiona was hard working, determined and also had some good ideas of how to lay out stones prioer to putting them on the wall. Fantastic student, a real grafter and her son was good too - a great team.

In-person course
- - #20945

I highly recommend this Dry Stone Walling course as I thoroughly enjoyed my weekend learning every aspect of learning how to build and repair a dry stone wall. Being outside in the fresh air and being with new people did me the world of good.

John is great he certainly knows his stuff! I learned new skills, kept active and got a huge sense of satisfaction at the end of the two days. The course also teaches you about Mindfulness which I had no idea about before so that was very useful to.

I would definitely say do this course you won't regret it! It's brilliant and you will enjoy every minute of it. The location is beautiful and John is a great teacher and the final outcome is so worth it. And trust me you will sleep both nights!

I highly recommend this course you won't regret it!

In-person course
- - #15501

Fantastic! I really enjoyed the course, even more than expected. The whole process was mindful and I found it therapeutic as well as having the satisfaction of building a wall! It ticked all the boxes for me in terms of being outdoors, being active, connecting with others and taking notice.

In-person course
- - #15414

I whole heartedly recommend the course. You will learn new skills that will stay with you for the rest of your life. Not only will you learn practical skills about walling you will also pick up some great tips about mindfulness. John is very patient and a great teacher. He needed to be with me. :)

In-person course
- - #10199

i really enjoyed the course and found it really beneficial as i had no idea how much goes into dry stone walling and now i have come back will a great deal of information about it.

i enjoyed the time with our tutor john as he was very factual and informative and helped me out every step of the way

i would highly recommend this course to anyone who is willing to go on it

i would like to thank john for the amazing sessions.

In-person course
- - #10188

Fantastic course. John is a great teacher and allowed us time to try, fail and eventually succeed ! We completed 2 metres worth of walling and loved every minute of it. I would highly recommend this to anyone and the little addition of mindfulness along the way is an added bonus!!! Thanks John

In-person course
- - #10187

As a Community Connector for the Early Help service in Oldham I was tasked to find two willing young people who would like the golden opportunity to learn an exciting new skill, work out in the countryside, get expert tuition and have fun. Well Dale and Josh Volunteered, they completed the weekend and absolutely loved it. Thank you John for giving these two young men an experience that otherwise would never have been possible. The art of Dry Stone Walling, the countryside and fresh air, the beautiful landscapes and hard graft. What a recipe for good health and well being. A million thanks John.

In-person course
- - #10178

Was great weekend with the team also john you were great leanrt a lot from weekend didnt know anything about but now i do. I say you teaching is brillant. Thanks john for having us.

In-person course
- - #8372

A timeless weekend in the open air, curlews calling over the moor, sheep grazing in the field, toads hibernating, quietly building something that could last for centuries.

In-person course
- - #8310

This is a wonderful experience. Go into dry stone walling and embrace every aspect including whatever the weather can throw at you in rainy saddleworth. I fully intend on using what I have learnt and enjoying the peace and tranquility it brings.

In-person course
- - #7561

I learnt a lot, John gave very specific instructions about how putting each stone in the correct place helped to create a kind of chain reaction. Thanks John, I'm proud of my wall it looks great and really enjoyed working with you over the Summer

In-person course
- - #7551

Brilliant day on the hillside. Superb mentoring and coaching. Not just on how to build a wall (I'm hoping the one I finished is still standing) but also how to get mindful while doing so.

In-person course
- - #7529

Fantastic course that we did over the Summer. Loved the feeling of mindfulness created by being in the countryside rebuildingsomething that's been there for hundreds of years. The sounds, smells, sights and all round good feeling of working hard to recreate my own bit of history. Thanks for making it possible John! Thoroughly recommended!!

In-person course
- - #7528

I thoroughly enjoyed this course with John. He explained the history and concept very clearly and then let me get involved straight away. He made it simple and fun to do, as well as relaxing. I got to try every aspect of building the wall and left feeling very satisfied and proud of what I had done.

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