England

Cash granted for North Pennine dry stone-wall training

Trainee dry-stone wallers
Image caption The trainees will learn the skill of building dry-stone walls

Funding has been granted to teach people the art of dry-stone walling in the North of England.

The North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Partnership has won funding of £109,500 from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

It will fund four apprentices in dry-stone walling and two year-long graduate trainee posts.

The graduate posts will specialise in the North Pennines and the Northumberland Coast.

The graduates will learn biological recording techniques, how to produce farm environment plans, specialist species survey work, habitat restoration, interpretation and environmental education.

Training programme

The four trainees will learn skills in the traditional craft of dry-stone walling.

The region's top dry-stone wallers will pass on their expertise to the apprentices, working on real walling jobs during their 10-month training programme.

Once they have passed their Dry Stone Walling Association tests the apprentices will be fully qualified dry-stone wallers and able to set up in business.

The Partnership said apprentices would learn skills to help conserve some of the region's "most beautiful landscapes for generations to come".

'Dwindling wallers'

The first trainees are expected to be taken on in the autumn and the others will follow on over the four-year life of the project.

Chris Woodley-Stewart, the North Pennines AONB Partnership's Director. said dry-stone walls were an important feature of North Pennines landscape.

He said: "They need regular maintenance by skilled professionals to stay in good condition, but the numbers of dry-stone wallers have been dwindling.

"This funding will enable us to help prevent those skills from dying out and ensure that the North Pennines AONB continues to look loved and cared for.

"Equally valuable are the two graduate training places for the North Pennines and Northumberland Coast AONBs, which means there will be a new generation of people learning about our natural environment and passing their knowledge on to others."

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