Thursday, 26 March 2009

Wednesday 18th March 2009

It was a beautiful day for being out in the Dales. Ten of us arrived at the car park in Grassington and we began by discussing our strategy for the day. A couple of people were new to the wall profiling procedures, so work teams were rearranged before we set off with our equipment up Church Lane and the fields north of the village.

Alison - fast becoming our resident drystone wall history expert - went on ahead, inspecting the exterior side of the enclosure wall on the west side around the High Close field. With David’s aid, as he wandered along the interior side, she picked out a few choice spots, which she marked with flags indicating to us where today’s wall profiles should be taken.

She took particular note of wall heads, where one waller’s work ended and was continued by another waller. Orthostats were also a feature to note – unfortunately there were no sheep creeps on this part of the wall, as there were on the eastern side.

Meanwhile, Alan went happily off to continue the GPS survey across the huge complex of earthworks within the High Close enclosure.

As we were working alongside the Dales Way on this side of High Close, we enjoyed talking to a few interested ramblers, curious as to what we were up to.

The weather helped us all along and by the end of the day we had all completed our wall profiles, including one of the neighbouring parliamentary enclosure walls to the north of High Close. This proved to make a very interesting contrast to the earlier, private, enclosure wall around High Close – while the latter varies significantly in character every few metres, and is full of bulges, and repairs using gritstone flagstones, the parliamentary walls are much more uniform, following the original rules laid down for their construction. Built entirely of limestone, they are built to standard height, with through stones at designated heights.

We were hoping to get in two more sessions this spring to start a topographical survey of the earthworks – but the following Wednesday the weather forecast was against us and so we look forward to making the most of our last spring session next week.

Jane Lunnon

Monday, 16 March 2009

Wednesday 11 March 2009

Having missed another week due to inclement weather, last Wednesday saw us back at High Close on a cloudy day, with a cool breeze, but no rain.

After discussing the plan for the day, Roger and Alan disappeared with the GPS, occasionally to be seen throughout the day, striding purposefully over various parts of the field. Two members of the remaining group led the inspection of the enclosure wall, noting the interesting parts to be recorded. The rest of the party re-organised into the two teams and followed in their wake, hopefully recording the correct spot!

Having improved the measuring devices, and revised the recording sheets, we decided that the use of flags to mark appropriate areas and field radios would be more than helpful next week! We continue to improve each week – eventually we will have the perfect system!

However, we succeeded in recording four areas of interest on the east wall, and two on the north – there is still the long west wall to do next time. We all agreed that there are many more interesting bits of wall still to be recorded.