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Dry Stone Walling Competition

The Best Cotswolds Dry-stone wall Competition 2016

This year, the Cotswolds Rural Skills team has decided to mix it up, and bring a fresh take on one of our classic dry stone walling competition. In 2016, the Best Cotswolds dry-stone wall competition will offer wallers of all abilities the opportunity to showcase the best of their skill at this traditional rural craft.

have decided to move away from the old layout for the competition and focus on a new and updated format. However, we want to continue to promote the skills of local dry-stone wallers and recognise the importance of their craft within the wider Cotswolds AONB.

This year, we’d like our contestants to send photos into us of their best or favourite drystone wall that they have built in 2015 or 2016 within the Cotswolds. It could be a feature wall which incorporates technical skills such as curved or high walls, pillars, lunkies and other bespoke dry wall design or a field wall- be it a field boundaries or livestock barrier. There will additionally be a category for the best amateur wall, built by a part time, LANTRA Level 1 or low experienced dry-stone waller.

Our expert judges will closely examine the photographs and the best 3 walls in each category will be visited and viewed. Marks will be awarded for style, standard, features, landscape and a tidy site, taking into consideration impact and difficultly of terrain.

The competition is free to enter and awards will be made for the entries which in the opinion of the judges merit recognition because the walling is to a high standard, blends well with the existing walls and uses the local style. Either the owner of the wall or the craftsman who built it can enter the competition.

Competition Structure

In 2016 the Best Cotswolds dry-stone wall competition will offer dry-stone walling professionals and amateurs the opportunity to showcase the best of their skill at this traditional rural craft. Under the new format dry-stone wallers will be invited to submit examples of dry-stone walls that they have built within the calendar year of 2016. The offer of multiple competition classes will ensure that the competition highlights the skills of bespoke dry-stone wall designs as well as the more traditional techniques of building field walls. There will also be a class open specifically to amateur wallers.

General Entry Requirements

All entries to the ‘Best Dry-stone wall in the Cotswolds’ competition must meet the following criteria:

  • The dry-stone wall submitted for consideration must be located within the Cotswolds AONB
  • The wall must fit within the specifications of one of the three competition categories
  • All entries must be submitted by the competition deadline
  • Photographic evidence of all stages of the wall build must be provided
  • The wall must be the work of the person submitting the entry
  • Wall entries must have been built during the calendar year of 2016

Wallers based outside of the AONB but completing work within its boundaries are be eligible to apply. All walls must be the work of the waller or if entering the team category, then have been completed by the team. Contact details for the landowner of each submitted wall must be provided in order to allow the Conservation Board to check that walls are the work of the waller. Any walls found not to be the work of the waller submitting the entry will be automatically disqualified from the competition.

Entry Submission

Entries will be able to be submitted electronically through the Cotswolds Rural Skills website or by post. All entries will be required to demonstrate photographic evidence of the walls that are being submitted for consideration. The final date for submission of entries will be Friday 12th August.

Competition Classes

There will be three competition classes. These will be:

  1. Feature wall – this will include walls which involve highly technical aspects of dry-stone walling such as curves, pillars or high walls.

  2. Field wall – any wall that has been built in the wider Cotswolds landscape as part of a field boundary or livestock barrier

  3. Best amateur wall – any wall built by a part time, LANTRA Level 1 or low experienced dry-stone waller

Assessment Criteria

Assessment of competition entries will be carried out over two stages. During the first stage all entries will be considered by the Board and DSWA against a set list of criteria, as outlined in the attached assessment sheet. Three walls will be shortlisted from each competition class. Shortlisted entries will be notified. The names of dry-stone wallers will be withheld from judges until after the shortlisting stage in order to ensure impartiality.

The second stage of the assessment will involve Master Dry-stone wallers from the Dry-stone Walling Association visiting the shortlisted walls in order to carry out an on side assessment. Scores will be attributed to each wall with walls with the highest scores in their category winning first place.


The award for the winners of each class will be the inclusion of their winning wall in a full page article in a prominent local media source such as the Cotswolds Life and/or Cotswold Lion. The winners will also receive a trophy, to be presented at the 50th anniversary of the Cotswolds AONB festival on Sunday 18th September. Second and third place finishers will receive a free advert for their business in the Cotswolds Lion magazine and a certificate.

Timeline for competition

Action Date completed by
Competition entry form available 1st May
Deadline for receipt of entries 12th August
Entries shortlisted 19th August
DSWA judges visit and assess shortlisted walls 26th August
Winning Walls announced 9th September
Media coverage of winning walls 12th – 16th Sept
Prizes presented at Cotswolds AONB Festival 18th September

So, if you’re a keen drystone waller - be it professional, amateur or novice, what are you waiting for?! Enter this year and get the recognition for your skills and your company! Download the application form HERE and send it to Rural Skills & Grants Officer,  info@cotswoldsaonb.org.uk