The Great Wall of Coed y Bwl

On a dark and stormy night last autumn, gale force winds off the Bristol Channel hit Coed-y-Bwl Reserve with enough force to bring down a 25ft section of perimeter wall – sending chunks of limestone rolling down the precious wild daffodil slope, leaving a trail of debris and in their wake
The great wall of Coed y Bwl

The great wall of Coed y Bwl by Richard Marks

Volunteers were quickly on the case – assessing the damage and planning repairs. Employing a stone mason – at great cost – was ruled out in favour of a DIY rebuild by our resident weekend workers. Habitat management and general maintenance, were put on hold while the team set to work, sorting the stone into suitable piles before their first attempt at dry-stone walling. Starting with a solid foundation, the team began the jig-saw task of fitting hundreds of broken pieces together.

Permission was granted by the neighbouring tenant farmer to cut through a disused footpath to reach the site – at the highest point of the reserve. Sand and cement  – needed to bind the foundations –  were hauled up the hill by hand, along with river water to fill a garden butt. What seemed an impossible task at first began to take shape.
Today, the wall is back – ready to stand the test of time and those stormy nights ahead. A few coping stones will fall into place before the job is finished.
Warden Richard Marks comments: “It was a tough job and a huge challenge – but the teamwork spurred everyone on to finish in amazing time. Thanks are due to our dedicated volunteers – with their great sense of humour on Sunday mornings.”