WELSH HEDGEWALLS?

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WELSH HEDGEWALLS?

Postby Shirley M Addy » Wed Oct 03, 2007 9:01 pm

Can anyone solve a mystery? A few months ago I went to Pembrokeshire for a holiday and in several places I noticed retaining walls that seemed to be part bank, part retaining wall, and topped by gorse or shrub. Does anyone know anything about them? A new example is on the old, milestoned road to Carew Castle. I wonder whether they can be called walls or just banks built up with stone to raise the growing base for hedges/gorse. No mortar was used. I can't find anything about them in my DSW books.
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Postby jerryg » Thu Oct 04, 2007 9:55 pm

They are most probably a Welsh version of a Cumberland Bank or a Cornish Hedge. Different people in different parts of our little world may have called them different names but they are generally built in similar ways with similar materials.

In Cumbria they are usually to be found near the coast where there is an abundance of round seawater washed boulders which are difficult to make a free standing wall with but with the addition of soil and a hedge makes a good very longlasting stock proof barrier.
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Postby Shirley M Addy » Fri Oct 05, 2007 7:56 pm

Thanks, Jerry, for pointing me in the right direction. I then dashed to read about them in Brooks and Adcock's BTCV DSW handbook, where they are also called cloddiau.
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Earth & Stone 'walls'

Postby david perry » Mon Oct 08, 2007 11:39 am

In many parts of Ireland they are the commonest field/road boundary. They are always called ditches here. Sometimes the ditch is just made of only subsoil (called 'till' here), sometimes with a single face of stone (in which the soil is always dug out from that side) sometimes double skinned and filled with sub soil. Very much like I've seen in the west country and parts of Wales. Unfortunately they are almost always removed where new houses are built and replaced by varying quality entrance walls of stone and/or concrete blocks. :cry:
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Postby donald » Wed Oct 10, 2007 6:41 pm

Hi Shirley, these are hedge banks, try a google.
If you go to dswa.pictures, northumberland, I have taken photos of some up here.The ditch protected the back of the bank and the stone facing the other, often they had a hedge planted on top.
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Postby Shirley M Addy » Wed Oct 10, 2007 8:40 pm

Thanks, Donald, I'd a look at your pics. Your wall is much more densely packed and patterned than the ones I saw in Pembrokeshire (Carew). Next time I go NE, I'll have a closer look at the Northumberland DSW's to see if I can spot a hedgewall instead of the usual style.
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WELSH HEDGEBANKS

Postby robinmenneer » Sat Oct 13, 2007 10:09 am

The hedgebanks seen in West Wales and in the rest of the Celtic Atlantic Arc originate from roughly the same time as Stonehenge, although many of them were repositioned/rebuilt during the Enclosure periods in the past 500 years. They are the typical field and road boundaries in most of Cornwall and if you want to read more, there are a dozen papers about Cornish hedges on our website www.cornishhedges.com, including details of our Heritage Lottery funded Apprentice Scheme where our successful apprentice(s) gets £1500 in his hand from the Guild of Cornish Hedgers.
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Postby Hywel » Thu Nov 08, 2007 6:29 pm

There are loads of these "cloddiau" (singular "clawdd") throughout the Lleyn peninsula, and where it butts up against the mountains of Snowdonia you get wonderful field patterns of these ancient boundaries with a right-angled grid of Enclosure "miriau" (singular "mir", our orthodox dry stone wall) superimposed on them. Most have now lost their living hedge and are play-things for the spring lambs.
I was glad to see cloddiau being repaired and rebuilt near Nefyn on the Lleyn. It's something I've never tried, and would dearly love to!
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Welsh claddiau

Postby robinmenneer » Thu Nov 08, 2007 8:18 pm

If you want to have a crack at building a clawdd, you can get a good idea of how it is done from the paper on building Cornish Hedges found on our website www.cornishhedges.com. Don't forget to get the proper inwards curved batter for its stability. Best of luck.
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Postby stonewaller » Sun Nov 18, 2007 11:04 pm

Shirley M Addy wrote:Thanks, Jerry, for pointing me in the right direction. I then dashed to read about them in Brooks and Adcock's BTCV DSW handbook, where they are also called cloddiau.


Glad to see someone`s reading it. Have intended to develop clodddiau section into stand alone book, but research has not gone brilliantly.
There are a couple of related articles on my website www.dry-stone.co.uk under the books link

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Postby stonewaller » Sun Nov 18, 2007 11:16 pm

Hywel wrote:There are loads of these "cloddiau" (singular "clawdd") throughout the Lleyn peninsula, and where it butts up against the mountains of Snowdonia you get wonderful field patterns of these ancient boundaries with a right-angled grid of Enclosure "miriau" (singular "mir", our orthodox dry stone wall) superimposed on them. Most have now lost their living hedge and are play-things for the spring lambs.
I was glad to see cloddiau being repaired and rebuilt near Nefyn on the Lleyn. It's something I've never tried, and would dearly love to!


Working on one at present. Did some courses for NWales Branch in late 1990s not a lot of interest. Do you visit NWales often, I have done some 1 on 1 free tuition before and might be able to again if you`re that keen.

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Re: Welsh claddiau

Postby stonewaller » Sun Nov 18, 2007 11:38 pm

robinmenneer wrote:If you want to have a crack at building a clawdd, you can get a good idea of how it is done from the paper on building Cornish Hedges found on our website www.cornishhedges.com. Don't forget to get the proper inwards curved batter for its stability. Best of luck.


Robin, I know you`re a passionate advocate of cornish hedges, your book and website are very good. Leaving aside any debate on whether or not a curved face is stronger (technically it might not be for certain stone types and patterns), please do not advocate them for cloddiau. There are many 100s of miles of cloddiau in North Wales and nothing to suggest that the use of concave faces was anything more than sporadic at best. We must have respect for local styles and traditions regardless of technical arguments. We all know you must not put soil in the hearting, so should we demolish all cloddiau and hedges! Death to single dykes!

The biggest walling project in recent years in North wales had some 27 miles of stone faced earth bank. For a variety of reasons, not least Roger Clemens from Cornwall, the heartland of closddiau ended up with 27 miles of Cornish Hedge. Better than nothing but hardly ideal. Would you like a Scottish Waller to replace a Cornish hedge with a single dyke? (I know there are singles on Dartmoor for example but again these are of a specific local type).

Please everyone before proselytising and making prescriptive statements remember one hat does not necessarily fit all.
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Postby robinmenneer » Mon Nov 19, 2007 12:51 pm

I'm afraid that there has been a general opinion amongst elderly Cornish hedgers that the cloddiau is a Welsh version of the stone-clad earth/stone hedgebanks found along the Celtic Atlantic Arc.
Had an interesting chat with an ex-lighthouse keeper's elderly daughter at last year's Gorsedd who had lived in lighthouses along the west coast from Cornwall to Orkney. She reported hedges similar to the Cornish hedge all the way along the coastline where her father had been stationed.
Just as there are differences in Cornish hedges throughout Cornwall, we accept that the Welsh cloddiau have their own local specialities, and I expect that the Pembrokeshire ones may be different to the Lleyn. And what about the Cumbrian and Orkney versions ? Perhaps there is space for a monograph here ? Certainly full details of local diversification in wall/hedging is not being written down properly.
All the best hedgers are in the churchyard, as one hedger in his nineties told me.
I suspect that many counties suffer, as we do in Cornwall, from non-local incomers working in local authorities and non-governmental organisations who write an incorrect and/or inadequate specification, and often the cowboy gets the job.
In the old days, the spec didn't matter, the hedger always did a proper job but times are changing with mobile incomers doing hedging. We're getting a lot of hedges that fall down within 50 years instead of at least 300 years (and a few that collapse within a year). This is why we are running our apprentice scheme.
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Postby Shirley M Addy » Mon Nov 19, 2007 1:09 pm

Robin
Are you not running classes for hedgewallers or hedgelayers?
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Postby robinmenneer » Mon Nov 19, 2007 2:51 pm

Shirley

'Edgers m'dear, everyone of them.

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