Drystone wallers demonstrate their skills

VOLUNTEER drystone wallers with the Mendip Hills AONB Service came first, second and third at this year’s walling competition in the Mendip Ploughing Match.

First prize went to Penny White, second was John Steers and third Julian Butter. Eight of the drystone wall volunteers took part in the 153rd Mendip Ploughing Match near Emborough. The volunteers enter the Amateur category where each competitor has to build 1.5 metres of wall to be judged by strict criteria including time, dimensions and quality.

Andy Chamberlain, Ranger Volunteer Co-ordinator for the Mendip Hills AONB Service, said: “We’re all really delighted and proud of Penny and the others that entered the competition. Awards like this that recognise their skill and experience are really important. There’s a great team spirit among all the wallers that go out every week no matter what the weather, they really love what they do.”

Every Thursday volunteers take part in drystone walling with the Mendip Hills AONB Service to rebuild walls in and around nature reserves. There are more than 400km of drystone walls across the Mendip Hills AONB but worryingly 60 per cent are in a poor condition and in danger of disappearing. The walls are iconic features in the landscape but they are also vital lifelines for wildlife to live in and safely move along.

Anyone who is are interested in drystone walling and other volunteering opportunities can find out more on the website at mendiphillsaonb.org.uk