987-year-old Saxon wall in Mendips restored by devoted volunteers

PUBLISHED: 17:30 22 July 2017

The team that have worked together on the wall since January 2015 - Brian Hornshaw, Pete Chapman, Mike Baxter, Dave Brown (team leader), Bernie Tarleton and Alastair Gillham. Another team member Trevor Morgan was unable to attend the ceremony.

The team that have worked together on the wall since January 2015 - Brian Hornshaw, Pete Chapman, Mike Baxter, Dave Brown (team leader), Bernie Tarleton and Alastair Gillham. Another team member Trevor Morgan was unable to attend the ceremony.

Archant

A Saxon wall has been restored after four years of ‘hard work’ by a group of dedicated volunteers.

Wavering Down Dry Stone Wall.Wavering Down Dry Stone Wall.

The Wavering Down Wall, which stretches 130 metres across the Mendips from Kings Wood to Crook Peak, has been rebuilt using its original stones in an effort to protect wildlife in the area.

The wall – which would have cost more than £100,000 to restore by a contractor – was completed on July 11.

The National Trust teamed up with members of Avon Wildlife Trust and the Mendips Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty to take down the damaged wall and clean up the surrounding area.

The wall dates back to 1030AD and has ties to the Saxon era, which had a prominent history in the Mendip and Somerset area.

Wavering Down Dry Stone Wall.Wavering Down Dry Stone Wall.

The project was launched in 2013 by the National Trust as part of its Higher Level Stewardship scheme (HLS) which aims to improve the environment.

Overgrown plants and trees close to the old wall were removed before the wall was dismantled.

Volunteers who dedicated their time and effort to the project expressed a growing interest in walling, which allowed the trust to form a team specifically for the task.

The walling team worked on the hill twice a week, with two to five volunteers giving up their free time to complete the work.

The team that have worked together on the wall since January 2015 - Bernie Tarleton, Dave Brown (team leader), Alastair Gillham, Pete Chapman, Mike Baxter and Brian Hornshaw. Another team member Trevor Morgan was unable to attend the ceremony.The team that have worked together on the wall since January 2015 - Bernie Tarleton, Dave Brown (team leader), Alastair Gillham, Pete Chapman, Mike Baxter and Brian Hornshaw. Another team member Trevor Morgan was unable to attend the ceremony.

Volunteer Mike Baxter said: “When the wall was finally completed there was a touch of sadness – we had got to know Wavering Down intimately, recognised the wildlife and were able to predict the vagaries of the weather.

“We felt that we were building something special using traditional skills which, if applied correctly, would enable the wall to remain standing for many years to come.”

Students from Weare Academy First School also helped the construction and added their own personal touch to the ancient wall – by placing a time capsule among the bricks.

National Trust‘s Rebekah West said: “Reinstating this wall means metres of habitat for nesting birds and reptiles will be protected. We will also be protecting history with its Saxon connections.”

The trust’s visitor experience manager, Jenny Weston, added: “This concludes four long years of hard work from our local volunteers, without whom this could not have been achieved.”

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