Paul finds his calling in dry stone walling

Paul Clough of Brighouse - been learning dry stone walling and won a first prize in his first competition
Paul Clough of Brighouse - been learning dry stone walling and won a first prize in his first competition

Brighouse man Paul Clough who took up dry stone walling as a hobby six months ago is already climbing to success.

Paul, aged 31, works as a driver for Audi in Leeds but he spends his spare time learning the craft of dry stone walling.

He said: “I love being outside on the hills in the fresh air learning all the skills I need. It’s totally absorbing and you really feel that you are carrying on an ancient tradition.”

Now 33-year-old Paul’s new-found talent has been recognised with a prize at the Emley Show. Despite having only about 50 hours training and practice, he won the novice prize in the show’s dry stone walling competition. He also won an additional prize for having the straightest wall in the novice section.

“I was working hard for about seven hours alongside the other competitors, taking down part of a wall and lifting rocks and stone.

“It was a lovely day and a lot of people just came and watched us, including my partner Beverley Ellis and my mum Glenys Sowerby. There was a great atmosphere.”

Paul is a member of the West Yorkshire branch of the Dry Stone Walling Association and regularly attends training courses around the region.

“It’s like doing a 3D jigsaw, working out which stone best fits where. It’s not an expensive hobby to start - all you need is a hammer, a bucket and a piece of string, and a lot of stone, of course.”

Paul, who lives at Mill Hill Lane, said part of the appeal of dry stone walling was the sense that he was helping to preserve an important skill.

“Dry stone walls are so much part of the landscape of Yorkshire. It’s important that they are looked after and not allowed to fall down.

“The Dry Stone Walling Association works with farmers to maintain their walls while providing training opportunities.”

Paul is now planning to compete at the Mirfield Show on Sunday, August 18.

His partner Beverley said: “Paul put in six hours of gruelling hard labour and I’m so proud of his achievement.”