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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Digging deep

Cotswold Dry Walling Stone is now available from two quarries operated by Smith and Sons (Bletchington) Ltd ?? Burford Quarry, near the Cotswold Gateway town of Burford, and Rollright Quarry, near the Oxfordshire market town of Chipping Norton.

This beautiful limestone material is one of the most popular products for wall building. Its natural colour, which subtly changes from the creamy stone at Burford to the more traditional honey characteristics from Rollright, has made the stone as popular to build with nationwide as it is in the Cotswolds. Widely recognised as a classic characteristic of the British countryside, dry stone walls are unique as they are constructed without binding substances such as mortar or concrete. Instead building a dry stone wall involves interlocking the stones, ensuring that this is done in such a way that the wall holds itself up without additional assistance.

Historically, dry stone walls were used as a means of field division and indeed, miles and miles of these walls can still be seen today when driving around the countryside. The naturally beautiful area of the Cotswolds is no different; the creamy/honey coloured stone walls can be seen stretching over the rolling green fields. These walls, often centuries old, sometimes require a repair or two. Smiths new source of a very traditional product is ideal for this ?? locally sourced the stone can be delivered directly to site.

Increasingly, however, the Cotswold stone is being used for a variety of other modern construction work, for example; new walling, building of Cotswold styled properties, landscaping projects and it is also ideal for exterior and interior facing/cladding. It can also be used to face gabion baskets ?? if you are looking for a natural walling style effect for the gabion wall.

The technical department at Smiths are very helpful and will give advice on a number of relevant questions, for example, a guide to the quantity of Cotswold stone required. Is it a single or double skin wall? What is the traditional way to top the wall? ?? known in the Cotswolds as ??Cock and hens??. Don??t be afraid to ask, because as corporate members of the Dry Stone Walling Association of Great Britain, Smiths experts have at their fingertips details of the best qualified craftsman in the country.

Smiths knowledgeable staff, hand select and sort all the stone before it leaves the quarry. And delivery, where practical, will be direct to the stone project, or builders are welcome to collect. The stone is normally supplied in Smiths branded bulk bags, (approximately 800kgs of stone, depending on size of stone), but ??loose stone?? deliveries, with the Smiths tipper vehicles, can be arranged. Nationwide delivery of the Smiths Cotswold stone is also available.

The company, Smiths Bletchington, are a family owned company, and have been trading for more than a century now. However, since the 1930??s, they have been concentrating on the business of extracting sand, gravel and stone for the building industry, currently operating five quarries, in and around Oxfordshire.

The company is passionate about aftercare and re-generation of the used quarries and has recently won an Award from the Mineral Products Association (MPA) for its substantial commitment to the cause of biodiversity. At the annual MPA event in London, Smiths won a commendation in the Natural England sponsored Biodiversity Awards for its newly opened Rushy Common Nature Reserve, which has been restored as part of the on-going operation at Gill Mill quarry, in west Oxfordshire.

For more information telephone 01869 331 281, email sales@smithsbletchington.co.uk or visit www.smithsbletchington.co.uk



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