Why do some walls have offsets in them?

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Why do some walls have offsets in them?

Postby tagglesmire » Fri Jun 07, 2013 9:32 am

I'd appreciate advice on the function of offsets in dry-stone walls, either as perhaps a technical practice that wallers may employ, or a feature with an agricultural purpose. By offset I mean a right-angle turn in a long wall followed by a (say) 9 or 10 metre section, followed by another right angled turn to continue along the original direction, but the wall now offset the 9 or 10 metres. Some call them "zig zags". We are doing some work up here in Lancashire on deer parks and some consider that these offsets are the locations where the medieval deer park ditch and bank - the pale - was offset to enable the construction of a deer-leap (salter) - a contrivance to encourage deer to enter the park, but not get out again. A modern wall on the pale bank follows this older offset. However, offsets are also known in walling where no deer parks were present. Perhaps they are to allow access to a watercourse by stock in adjacent enclosures, or are sites of gates for stock driven along a wall (although the offsets we know about do not have gates). Any advice on this historical conundrum would be appreciated. Thanks.
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Re: Why do some walls have offsets in them?

Postby waller 69 » Fri Jun 07, 2013 4:52 pm

Welcome along tagglesmire, not sure how much help I can be cus I'm in the Cotswolds, but I have built many walls near a place called Lodge Park, near Northleach, glos( NT)....We don't have "zig zags" at all and our "offsets" or returns as I know them are always to go around something...But you say it is believed that the walls had something to do with "pales" and "salters", all I can tell you for sure is no waller did anything without a reason, and a return is more work than walling straight, it may only be a "regional variation" but they believed what they did was right....
sorry I can't help more..
Kev..
Ps, The "Ha Ha" I believe it is called is another stock control device used by wallers, Ditches and walls have been employed for a very long time to control stock, what you have mentioned above about stock management does sound right( but what do I know :) :) )...
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