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The distinctive dry stone walling of the Yorkshire Dales was a direct result of an act of Parliament. The Acts of Inclosure were largely made law between 1760 and 1830 and they had the effect of driving many subsistence farmers from the land and forcing the enclosure of common pastures. As growing hedges in this landscape would have been slow and in some cases impossible the farmers used a material that was close to hand and importantly free!

So whilst today the mosaic of the drystone walls of the Dales is a thing of beauty they were very much hated in their day. It's hard to imagine but the Yorkshire Dales before this would have been largely open common and wooded hunting grounds for the gentry.

The walls are built by skilled craftsmen and will stand for tens if not hundreds of years if left unmolested. Sadly, humans rarely leave anything unmolested for long so we see the addition of barbed wire to prevent people from climbing the walls! As you can see from the photograph this particular wall has probably stood here for some time given the quantity of moss growing upon it!

This wall is located by the River Swale near the village of Reeth, though you will find almost identical walls throughout the hill country of Northern England.

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