Dry Stone Walling Association
Otley and Yorkshire Dales Branch Meeting - Otley Social Club 3rd May 2011
(1) Present: Wendy Oldham (Chairman), Don Bradley, John Bradshaw, Richard Kitchen, Terry Bollen, Alan Smith, David Barrass,
John King, David Griffith, Crawford Smith, Bill Davis, John Downie, Andrew Keane, Michael Wilson, John Heslegrave, Keith Willis,
Martyn Smith, Colin Pack, Tracey Blackwell, Keith Sturdy, Simon Lumb, Nick Ferguson, Derek Henderson, Colin Alexander,
Patrick Wallace, John McLeod, Allen Pearson, Gordon Simpson, David Hicks, John Hulbert, Bill Horner, Giles Anderson, Trevor Womack,
Stephanie Rowan, Stephanie Burton, Debbie Williamson, John Oldfield, John Butler, Adrian Tod, Neil Firth, Nic Alderson.
Apologies: Neil Beasley, Joanne Haines, Mick Pearson, Liz Sanders.
Guests/Visitors: Barbara Paver, Fran Shipman, Mark Kelmanson, J Lester, Tom Houseman, Brian Settle.
(2) Previous Minutes (5th April 2011):
Acceptance proposed by Andrew & seconded by Richard, and passed as a true record.
(3) Matters arising from previous minutes: None.
(4) Chairman’s remarks (Wendy Oldham)
4.1 EGM – Members were reminded of the Extraordinary General Meeting to be held at Crooklands on 4 th
June, and for which full explanations had been sent to all members, with a voting form. The basic reasons for the meeting
are to amend the constitution & re-organise the management structure accordingly. The Trustees will cease to have
unlimited liability (as they have at present) with management streamlined, all in conformance with Charity Commission
guidelines. (If the documents are a little indigestible – read the W&D editorial – Spring 2011!). There was some discussion
but the over-riding feeling was one of support for the changes. [Post-meeting – there has been a committee meeting as a
result of which the committee recommends voting for the DSWA constitution changes, but that it is, at the end of the day,
up to individual members].
4.2 Branch Committee – Wendy outlined topics discussed at a meeting on March 16th.
a. Funds – decisions on future spending to await final Shibden liability.
b. Response to questionnaire – DB to produce a newsletter; Terry B to produce an information pack;
Richard & Wendy to develop a Power-point presentation for shows/demos; meeting dates to be placed
into Wharfe Valley Times by Tracey; the first “new” event to be reported on to an appropriate news
outlet by Roger P.
c. Web-site – Terry to ensure that all professionals are aware of its availability; newsletter to be put on;
information on practice sites to be added.
d. New members – a “mentor” is now in place at each training course (head trainer for that event); need
to redouble efforts during courses to attract new members & encourage “quiet ones”.
e. Redouble efforts to encourage more members to contribute their skills to the Branch & thus expand
the “hard core”.
f. Get more involved “outside” – both with Crooklands & other Branches. Arrange cross-branch events to
give experience of different stone (eg Wales weekend being put together by Jo Haines).
g. Win the Branch of the Year! (2nd in 2010). Locate a past year-book & Tracey to find out criteria for
h. Equipment – make the existing log-book work so as to keep track of items.
i. Committee – list on the website & identify roles & backgrounds (profiles in newsletter?).
(5) Treasurer’s report (John Bradshaw):
A bank statement of April 20th showed £8013, reduced to £6650 by outstanding liabilities.
(6) Secretary’s report (Richard Kitchen):
6.1 With the annual problem of membership validity, will members urgently consider setting up Direct Debit
6.2 Rest of report stolen by Chairman!
(7) Branch Activity Reports:
7.1 Brimham Rocks N.T. – John King reported 3 members on site on 15th April.
7.2 Leyburn Group - John H reported – 15 members attended a social evening on 19th April, planning for DFFD;
Dales Festival of Food & Drink – 30th April to 2nd May – 70 “man-days” by 28 members in sunny weather building a
circular sheep-fold & 4m of wall PLUS a 2.2m high waterfall. Public entertained & enlightened, builders got
experience & new members/potential trainees identified. Good show; On 4th June 17 people booked in for a second
visit to the stone mine near Hawes & some walling. New names to JH asap; Episode 9 of “The Dales” will be shown on
23rd May & will feature the Ballowfield Bridge.
7.3 NT Walling, Upper Wharfedale – 9, 10 April – Martyn reported the completion (except for some copes) of
a further 16m of wall at the new site, plus an additional 5m started. Great weather, great company, 16 wallers on
the Saturday & 13 on the Sunday. Thanks to all.
7.4 Shibden Phase II – DG reported that the project has now been active since 2000, with Phase I completed
in 2001. 20 tonne of Grassington limestone unloaded by 7 members is on site. On 23 rd April a new limestone stint
was started & on 24th Simon completed copes on bee-bole stint. On 14th May the limestone stint will be continued,
including a cheek-end. A 5-bar gate will be hung! (It makes a change from the Gardens of Babylon or monkeys in
7.5 Training Weekend 16/17 April – JMcL reported superb weather, 15 students including 7 ladies, 15m
completed & at least 2 new members (a number present at the meeting). Excellent start to 2011 training season.
7.6 Thursday Group – Bill reported tailing off at Lineham Farm with a new venue being sought. Blissfully
unaware of this, your roving reporter hot-footed it to Lineham on 28th April only to find even less walling going on
than usual. In plain words, none! But the birdwatching was good.
(8) Short-term programme:
13/27 May Practice day – Brimham Rocks
14/28 May Shibden – Limestone section, including a cheek end, plus gate hanging!
21 May Otley Show – Bill Davis co-ordinating
21/22 May Certification weekend – Chevin – support welcome, particularly on the Sunday
23rd May ITV in The Dales. 8.00pm. This is the one for the bridge!
4th June Leyburn – return to Scaur Head Farm to visit the stone mine & some walling. Interested ?
Contact JH asap.
4th June DSWA Extraordinary meeting, Crooklands, Cumbria
5th June Yorkshire Young Farmers Show, Pateley Bridge, John McLeod co-ordinating
18th June Crag House Farm
2nd July Bellerby – cheek ends & straight walls.
12 – 14 July Great Yorkshire Show, Harrogate
6/7 August Bellerby – Training course. Camping Fri & Sat plus BBQ Sat evening possible.
Most Thursdays Practice day – currently (but not always – see 7.6 above) Lineham Farm, possibly moving on
shortly. Contact Bill Davis to confirm site.
9.1 Wendy put forward July 3rd as the next date for a workshop at the Chevin. A 9.30 start, finishing at
around 2.30, will offer a review of training course skills acquired & will cater for the beginner or more experienced. Names
to Wendy please.
9.2 Pateley Bridge, 5th June – JMcL described this venue (small but beautifully formed) & seeks volunteers for
a demo wall please.
9.3 Education Days 14 - 15 June (Yorkshire Show Ground) – JMcL described this venue & activity (children’s
wall plus small, real stone for building with) & seeks volunteers to staff it. New members please note that this event is our
thank-you” to the Yorkshire Show’s Education arm for continuing to invite us for each July show.
9.4 Great Yorkshire Show , 12 – 14 July – This event, the most important in the Branch calendar, will require
lots of volunteers of all skill-levels, work including “site set-up” on the eve of the Show, 11th July. The work of the
organisation for the event is considerable so names to JMcL as soon as possible please. “Too many” is not a possibility!
9.5 Crag House Farm, June 18th - Terry B awaits your volunteering for this new demo venue which regularly
attracts 1500 – 2000 people.
9.6 Weeton Show, 31st July – Andrew K reminds us of the above & the need for volunteers to attend this
relatively small, but rewarding, demo. Names to him, please
9.7 Grasswood – Patrick reports having sent his (jointly with John B) site survey to the Yorkshire Wildlife
Trust, who have replied (again with appreciation for our work). There have been discussions to separate potential work into
that which is better done by contractor, & that which our Branch could undertake. A future workload will emerge.
9.8 Children’s Wall – Derek H described this for new members & added a plea to those using the kit to ensure
the children handle the individual blocks with care. The material costs (alone) to Derek were around £400 & breakages are
successively more difficult to repair. Place them down, not thrown, etc.
9.9 “Newsletter” Title – Voting took place to choose a title from amongst some 14 submitted. Turnout was
abysmal, the bar being open & gossiping rampant: but joint 3rd were “News Chippings” & “The Drystone Cowboy”, with 2
votes each, 2nd came “Running Joint” (3 votes). The winner with 7 votes was “Otley Rocks”. So it shall be.
The formalities completed, member Nick Ferguson gave us an account of his recent walling work in Germany. His story of
iron-hard, dense & obdurate sandstone, a less-than competent local walling tradition, foul weather, a swampy site, &
assorted wild beasts was graphically (& very professionally) illustrated by his slides. Not only does the stone used need
much chiselling, but its use appears to be gaining ground away from its native area! A very interesting insight into walling in
a little-known area & much appreciated. Thank you, Nick
Next meeting: Tuesday 7th June
Reminder: If you have not given your email address to Martyn Smith (or have recently changed it) please contact him at
firstname.lastname@example.org. E-mail helps the branch to reduce the cost of sending out minutes, etc.