Constructing the walls

To be true to the location walls should be drystone. The Yorkshire Dales National Park alone has 8000Km of drystone wall. Road and field boundaries across the north of England are constructed of carefully positioned random limestone and sandstone blocks. For my garden moorland path to be part of its environment there could be no substitute for drystone walls- they already formed a significant feature in the garden.

A similar tradition exists in Japan – ano zumi

Himalayan show garden Chelsea

We carved a pathway up the garden. The slope was secured with concrete blocks, reinforcement steel and more concrete. On an exercise walk in Covid lockdown, I encountered some wallers who were doing an excellent piece of work. I asked them to come and see the job I needed doing. At the time I had no knowledge that this team had done the stonework on many significant RHS Chelsea Show gardens, including several “best in show” and “constructor’s prize” awards, not to mention the “best garden of the decade” popular vote. RLC Stonework – Richard Clegg and his son Lewyn – totally bought into the project I was engaging in.  I would have to wait. Craftsmen, and artists in stone, of this quality, although near neighbours, were in great demand for prestigious projects for national landscape designers and architects.

Richard suggested, and could source, a limestone which was rich in mica – It came from the Bolton Castle state in Wensleydale. The river Ure had breached its banks and in the process of restoring the fishing reaches, stone needed to be removed. RLC were using some of this stone for a gold medal and constructor’s prize garden at Chelsea 2021 – The Himalayan Garden by Jonathon Snow. In the event avian flu restricted access to the Estate which was famous for its game birds. My garden was to recycle the stone used at Chelsea and in due course a flatbed truck arrived to deposit large quantities of stone about the barn. Later additional stone arrived from Swaledale.

Working outdoors high up on the moor in winter is a brave task. To work with such precision and create beauty under those conditions is something else. I let the pictures tell the story, but I have focussed in the ends of the walls to illustrate the quality of workmanship.  Thank you Lewyn and Ernie (Rob Earnshaw) – brilliant.