The Early Bird…

I’ve just put the latest course list up on the website… Get them while they’re hot, especially hedge steeping and dry stone walling which will sell out just like that. Click here to see the latest cousrse list.

We have a few places still on the cobble course this weekend and the gate hurdle course on the 7th of July…

Jeremy Weiss


Extra walling course coming up this saturday!

Due to popular demand we have organised another walling course at short notice. This is a stone facing course, which is the traditional method of facing a bank with stone without the use of mortar. The course is up at Higher Badworthy, near South Brent and Dave Dingle will be in charge. There are stil a couple of places available but book now as they are selling like hot cakes! Click here for details and booking:

We also still have a few places available for the cobble stone course on the 26th of May.

Sweet Chestnut Blight

From Jeremy Eggeling
The recent Sweet Chestnut Blight piece was a good one and very commendable that DRST is keeping it’s members informed of this.
Myself and my partner Mia, are in the process of receiving training to help monitor woodlands in the SW for such things as Sweet Chestnut Blight, Acute Oak Decline etc., This is in collaboration with the Woodland Trust, Forestry Commission, DEFRA, Animal & Plant Health Agency. They are currently looking for people to volunteer and undergo training to help , monitor, diagnose and report on any findings within the SW. Maybe some of the DRST memebers would be interested in this? The main website is Observatree which has great resources on identifying invasive pests. If anyone wishes to volunteer for this role (you are not likely to be asked to do this once a month) you need to go to the Woodland Trust Site.  Also whilst on this vein trying to stop the spread of these pest is something we can all contribute to, if anyone is unsure or would like to undertake a free BioSecurity ‘Course’ the Forestry Commission offers them here.

Update on Sweet Chestnut Blight

Since sweet chestnut blight was first confirmed in Devon in 2016, there have been cases at eight sites in Devon, a site in Dorset, eight sites in East London, a site in Berkshire, three sites in Derbyshire, and one site in Leicestershire. In all cases action was taken to limit spread of the disease from sites and determine  its local distribution.
Restrictions on the movement of sweet chestnut and oak materials were introduced in February 2017 in six zones around affected sites. The ban was then extended to other areas in Devon and Dorset in May 2017. The prohibition made it illegal to move sweet chestnut material including plants, logs, branches, foliage and firewood out of, or inside, zones within 2 kilometre (1.2 mile) radius of affected sites in Devon and Dorset, where sweet chestnut blight had been found. The same restrictions applied to oak within 1 kilometre (0.62 mile) of the affected sites. These restrictions will no longer apply from Tuesday 27th March 2018, although movement restrictions at affected sites where infected trees were found will continue at a site-specific level.
The move comes after surveillance work by the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) and the Forestry Commission (FC) to assess the level of spread. In the majority of sites in south-west England we have found no evidence of spread to the wider environment. There is one site in the South West where we have found localised evidence of spread within the affected woodland, and the infected trees are still in the process of being removed. Based on the current policy approach, movement restrictions at affected sites where infected trees were found will continue at a site specific level.
Sweet Chestnut Blight is considered a major threat to our sweet chestnut trees; the fungus Cryphonectria parasitica causes foliage to wilt and die and cankers to develop on the tree surface, which may eventually kill the tree. Chestnut blight does not pose any risk to people, pets or livestock and is only known to seriously affect Chestnut (Castanea) species.

Full information about the disease, including pictorial guides to the symptoms, is available on the Forestry Commission website at We are appealing to sweet chestnut owners and managers to keep alert for the disease and report any suspicious symptoms to the Forestry Commission using Tree Alert

Kate Tobin, Local Partnership Advisor, Forestry Commission, Forest Services South West England 0300 067 5870 (direct)

National Dry Stone Walling Training Bursary

Opportunity to train for a new career in the traditional craft of dry stone walling. Supported by HLF Skills for the Future, the Dry Stone Walling Association is offering a National Training Bursary to help 8 people change their lives by embarking on a 12 month Training Bursary working alongside professional dry stone wallers.

We are looking for 8 enthusiastic trainees from throughout the UK, who are keen to follow a career in dry stone walling. The 12 month training bursary offers opportunities to train with professional dry stone wallers and gain qualifications up to Intermediate level, which will prepare them for a new and exciting career. Full support, training and financial bursary offered.

Check out YouTube links for more information: and

Applications from here or Email

DSWA, Lane Farm, Crooklands, Milnthorpe LA7 7NH  Tel: 015395 67953

Closing date 7th May 2018

Dry Stone Walling at Orley Common

We had a beautiful day yesterday working on an ancient limestone boundary wall between the parishes of Torbryan and Ipplepen. Dave D and I estimate that it will require around 20 more of our courses to complete this massive project, so at a rate of two per year we aim to share a celebratory pint in 2028.

Our next course is cobblestoning on the 26th of May. Places still available so book now to avoid disappointment!