About Us

The Dry Stone Walling Association of Great Britain (DSWA) was founded in 1968 in Kirkcudbrightshire, by the late Mrs Murray-Usher and the Stewartry Drystane Dyking Committee.  Since those early days, the Association has continued to expand and currently has over 1000 members in the UK and overseas.

The history of dry stone walling

Dry stone walling in Britain stretches back at least three and a half millennia, to the village of Skara Brae in the Orkneys, and the Iron Age brochs of northern and western Scotland.  Dry stone walls, built without any mortar or cement, are common in Britain, and elsewhere, where large quantities of rock and stone are found above the soil, and especially where trees and hedges do not grow easily because of the climate, elevation, strong winds or thin soils.  This is why dry stone walls are most prominent in northern and western Britain, and often at the higher altitudes. 

Dry stone walling today

Today dry stone walling is prospering with an upsurge in interest in the environmental value of walls and the growth in prestigious garden, landscape and artistic projects.  Dry stone walls are an important feature of the British landscape which should not be taken for granted.

As interest in environmental issues increases, dry stone walling sits comfortably within these parameters, being a sustainable product made from natural materials.  Although initially appearing more expensive than fencing, with regular maintenance a dry stone wall could stand for 100 years and at the same time offering shelter and habitat for a wide variety of animals, birds and plants.

The Dry Stone Walling Association of Great Britain

The main aims of the Association are to promote a greater understanding and knowledge about the traditional craft of dry stone walling and to encourage the repair and maintenance of dry stone walls throughout the country.  DSWA operates a nationally accredited craftsman certification scheme, run in conjunction with Lantra Awards, which offers four levels of certification.  DSWA branches offer a range of short courses, mainly for beginners, but there are some opportunities for more advanced training.  Courses are also run by a number of colleges throughout the country, details of which are available from the office. 

In 2004 DSWA relocated to Cumbria and its Head Office is based at the Westmorland County Showground, Crooklands from where all leaflets, books and equipment are available.  There is an outdoor exhibition showing the variety of stone found within the UK and how the type of stone affects the way in which walls are built in different parts of the country.  There is also a training site where practical courses are run.  This work was generously funded by the Cumbria Fells and Dales LEADER+ Programme.

DSWA is a registered charitable organisation and relies on membership subscriptions for much of its income.

Location Map

DSWA Office

Lane Farm LA7 7NH

Tel: 015395 67953

News Headlines
Wednesday, October 31st 2018

Three in One

Congratulations are extended to Cuthbert and Lydia Noble, both of whom recently gained their Master Craftsman qualification, which means that, along with their Dad, Bill, there are now three Master Cr... Full Story...
Wednesday, October 24th 2018

Job Vacancies

Would you like to work for the Dry Stone Walling Association? We have just posted 2 part time vacancies on the Countryside Job Service. We are looking for a Development Officer to promote the cra... Full Story...
Donate to DSWA

If you would like to make a donation of any amount towards the work of the Association, please click below:


Various links we think you might find useful.

Dry Stone Walling Association, Lane Farm, Crooklands, Milnthorpe, Cumbria UK LA7 7NH

Tel: 015395 67953 Email:

The Dry Stone Walling Association of Great Britain (DSWA) is a registered charity, number 289678