Friday, 14 June 2019

The Curious Quoin End of Wansfell Holme(s)

The Langdale Pikes viewed from National Trust Jenkyn's Field.
Although you may be distracted by the view of the lake just south of Ambleside, look the other way and you'll see Wansfell Holme on the hill above you.

An early Victorian mansion, Wansfell Holme is situated at the heart of a "designed landscape" that spreads upwards into National Trust woodlands at Skelghyll.
From Jenkyn's Field, you'll see the Tall Trees of Skelghyll framing the skyline behind the house itself. 

A gap in the former Wansfell Holme boundary wall into Skelghyll Woods presented us with an unusual problem. 

Apart from its daunting height of 8 feet in places, the wall had been mortared in the original construction at the wall ends or quoins forming a pedestrian gateway. However, the rest of the wall had been built as a traditional dry-stone wall.

This had the effect of some of the mortared wall near the gateway staying up while a non-mortared section adjacent to it had collapsed mainly through foundation stones shifting over many years.  

After stabilising the mortared section of wall with some additional mortar, the foundations were reset and the rest of the wall was built "dry" as in the original construction. 
In this image the stone has been cleared back and rebuilding the wall is well on its way.

This image shows the finished result with the rebuilt dry-stone section of wall blending in...this proved quite challenging... with the  mortared wall end.

The mansion framed by the gateway is Wansfell Holme; the owners had the wall built as a boundary between the woodlands and the fields that formed part of their estate. 

The wall is situated along the route of  The National Trust Tall Tree Trail.
The owners of Wansfell Holme in the 19th century were avid tree collectors. They planted many conifers in what was once their woodland. The Grand Fir in this image was one such tree and is the tallest tree in the North West, as well as being the tallest Grand Fir in England.

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