TRAINING
SO WHAT MAKES A DRY STONE WALL?
Dry stones walls are traditionally built without the use of mortar, relying on the careful placement of stones and the application of a few basic principles to produce a structure held together by its own weight.

The largest stones in a wall are the FOUNDATIONS or FOOTING, set in a trench.  Large stones with a good flat base help distribute the weight of the stone from above.  Wherever possible there should be a level finish (that is stones of a similar height are used) facilitating subsequent building and reducing the need for smaller stones at this early stage.

The lower part of the wall is known as the FIRST LIFT, the upper part as the SECOND LIFT.  Average stone size will diminish in height and most stones will be set with their length into the wall.  Stones are sat "2 on 1" and "1 on 2" similar to bonding in brickwork, so that no running or vertical joints form.  WEDGES hold each stone in place.  These are inserted at the stones back preventing movement.  A standard "doubled" wall has two skins of building stones, with the middle packed with HEARTING, smaller stones carefully placed to prevent movement of the backs of the building stones and hold the wedges in place. 

Between the first and second lifts you will normally find THROUGHSTONES, these are long stones which stretch right across the wall tying the two skins together.  With some North Welsh walls there are a lack of full-length throughstones, in this case it is normal to find sets of throughs (essentially overlapping stones that run of the way into the wall from either side).

Walls are wide at their base gradually tapering towards their top.  This slope is known as the BATTER and the resultant A shape adds to the stability of the wall.

The top of the second lift is levelled off with relatively small stone to provide an even base for the COPING.  There is a wide variety of coping types in North Wales.  A standard coping would consist of stones placed upright across the top of the wall holding the two faces together.  As the stones are set upright they can be securely wedged together providing a durable finish to the wall.



TASTER DAYS
These are one-day courses where the aim is to introduce participants to the basic principles of stone selection and placement.   Normally the work involves dismantling and rebuilding a gap in a wall.  Rarely do these days deal with the foundation, and sometimes coping is not covered.  Currently 25

WEEKEND COURSES
On a Basic Introduction to Dry Stone Walling Course a section of wall is dismantled, the foundations removed and the wall rebuilt.  All aspects of the work are covered.  Currently 90 (subsidised) a weekend for those self funding, 120 for everyone else.  Those attending a taster plus full weekend receive free Branch and national membership for 1 year (Normally 40), and will be able to attend practice days where available

ADVANCED COURSES
Advanced courses can cover a variety of aspects from a specific building technique (coursing, single walling, cloddiau) or a feature such as a wall end or perhaps a "lunky" (sheep hole).  These courses are aimed at those who already have some knowledge of walling, generally more than just a couple of days of training (except in the case of Clawdd Courses which only require that the participants have had some formal training such as a taster day ).  P.o.a
Single skin walling seminars are informal training/learning sessions for those with some experience/training in standard walling they are free, although a donation of 30 is suggested.

PRACTICE DAYS
The Branch runs free practice days for its members.  Trainees have an opportunity to hone their skills with informal tuition and advice available from experienced craftsmen.  Currently practice days are run in conjunction with taster days and training courses and are free to members, spaces permitting, with additional weekends when other groups are also invited

CERTIFICATION
The DSWA runs the only National Tiered and Accredited certification scheme.   The "Craftsman Certification" scheme has four levels from Initial for the near beginner, through to Master Craftsman.  These form part of the Lantra Awards - vocational qualifications that are recognised throughout the UK.  Qualifications are available at levels 1,2 and 3 within the National Vocational Qualification framework.  For those interested in entering or advancing through the scheme a separate leaflet is available from the Branch.  Current English and welsh versions of the scheme booklet and application forms can be found in the publications section

BESPOKE COURSES
The branch can also organise and tailor courses to the needs of specific groups.  In recent years  we have run weekend courses for the Snowdonia Society and Clwyd Young Farmers.  A week long course was run in 2013 for stonemasonry students from Coleg Llandrillo Menai (Llangefni).   Courses normally cost around 40/student/day with discounts for week long courses and for groups of 7 or 8.  Funding can sometimes be arranged, and courses linked into certification.  Anyone interested should contact Sean Adcock

DRY STONE WALLING ASSOCIATION
CYMDEITHAS WALIAU CERRIG SYCHION

Cangen Gogledd Cymru
North Wales Branch
For current programme please click here
TASTER DAYS
WEEKEND COURSES
ADVANCED COURSES
PRACTICE DAYS
BESPOKE COURSES
CERTIFICATION