Stone is one of the oldest construction materials known to man. Dry stone walling is an ancient craft, with evidence of this skill being used as far back as 3,200bc.
Fundamentally, a dry stone wall is a structure that can ever so slightly move and flex with the ground. A dry stone wall also allows rain to pass through it, unlike a mortared wall that will trap the moisture. This trapped moisture often causes the wall to fail, especially when it freezes, making dry stone structures much more reliable.
A dry stone wall requires the skill of craftsman or craftswoman, gravity and frictional resistance.
Many of the walls found on Dartmoor are dry stone, often built with stone gathered from the local fields.
Similar to hedges, dry stone walls are incredible habitats for many animals such as bats, field mice, voles, stoats, hedgehogs, toads and slow worms. Many birds also take advantage of these structures, including small owls and robins. Mosses, lichens and ferns also enjoy the outside of walls too.