Cotswold walling winners receive surprise royal presentation

Photo: @ShortTitle@

HRH the Princess Royal took time out of her busy schedule to present awards to the delighted winners at this year’s Cotswolds AONB Dry Stone Walling Competition which took place last Sunday at the spectacular Gatcombe Park Estate in Gloucestershire.

Fourteen wallers across the four classes competed during the day for the cash prize and trophies at the annual competition. Each competitor was required to rebuild between 1.5m and 2.25m of wall, depending on their skill level, to the correct Cotswolds standard specification.

The winners were:

Professional class
First place: Alistair Bidmead from Minchinhampton, Gloucestershire
Second place: John Byrne from Nailsworth Gloucestershire
Third place: Stephen Pethick from Devon

Amateur/part-time professional class
First place: Andy Deller from Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire
Second place: Edmund Trainor from Mickleton, Gloucestershire
Third place: Rob Gibson from Bedfordshire

Novice class
First place: Richard Saunders from Kidlington, Oxfordshire
Second place: Bridget Gibson from Bedfordshire
Third place: Owen Brunsden from Northamptonshire

Beginner Pairs
First place: Arthur & Robin Witchell

The best Cotswolds based Competitor prize was awarded to Alistair Bidmead (pictured top right). After receiving his trophy, Alistair said: “It was a wonderful surprise and an honour to have my award presented to me by the Princess Royal. I thoroughly enjoyed the day and look forward participating in future Cotswolds dry stone walling competitions.”

The competition was organised by the Cotswolds Conservation Board, in partnership with the Cotswolds branch of the Dry Stone Walling Association of Great Britain (DSWA) and with the support of Huntsmans Quarries.


Notes to editors:

• Competition classes are described as follows :
a) Class 1: Professional: anyone whose main earnings are derived from dry stone walling or who is regularly employed as a dry-stone waller.
b) Class 2: Amateur: anyone deriving less than 50% of their earnings from dry stone walling or anyone regarding themselves as a competent dry stone waller.
c) Class 3: Novice: anyone with some experience of dry stone walling.
d) Class 4: Beginner pairs: any two people who have little experience of dry stone walling.

• Competition prizes are awarded as follows:
a) Class 1 1st: Trophy and £120, 2nd: £80; 3rd: £60, 4th: £40
b) Class 2 1st: Trophy and £80, 2nd: £50, 3rd: £30
c) Class 3 1st: Trophy and £60, 2nd: £40, 3rd: £25
d) Class 4 1st: Trophy and £40 each, 2nd: £30 each, 3rd: £20 each

  • The competition is supported by the Dry Stone Walling Association of Great Britain which was formed at the Gatehouse of Fleet in Galloway in 1968 to preserve, improve and provide education in the craft of dry stone walling.
  • The Cotswolds was designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in 1966 in recognition of its rich, diverse and high quality landscape.
  • The Cotswolds AONB is looked after by the Cotswolds Conservation Board – an independent organisation established in 2004 which has 37 members - 15 nominated by local authorities, 8 by parish councils and 14 appointed by the Secretary of State.
  • The Cotswolds is the second largest protected landscape in England after the Lake District National Park and represents 10% of the total AONB area in the UK. It covers 2,038 square kilometres (790 square miles), stretching from Warwickshire and Worcestershire in the north, through Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire, down to Bath and Wiltshire in the south.
  • Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), along with National Parks, are considered to be the most special landscapes in the country and belong to an international family of protected areas. There are 38 AONBs in England and Wales, and a further eight in Northern Ireland. For further details, visit:

9 October 2012