Best of British: 60 things that make Britain great

Imagine you're cut off in a far-off land. What longings would be uppermost in your mind? Here we celebrate those aspects of life that make our islands distinct and beguiling.

45. Dry-stone walls

Drystone wall close-up. Newlands valley, Cumbria, England, UK. In the Lake District National park.

Famously, dry-stone walls don’t rely on cement or mortar to hold them together and there is something of the identity of England bound within their framework—hard graft and craftsmanship, geology and the sweeping landscapes they dissect. As well as in the Cotswolds, where there’s thought to be some 4,000 miles of dry-stone walls, these quintessentially British boundaries are generally found wherever stone is abundant or the weather is too rough for hedges, such as the wilds of the Pennines and in Scotland.

‘My hand is upon the stones, and the tale I fain would hear Is of the men who built the walls,
And of the God who made the stones’
(The Song of the Stone Wall, Helen Keller)

Next page Previous page