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Andy Roberts, close to finishing the 500m stone wall rebuild in Mewslade Valley, Gower

Craftsman finishes Gower wall after almost three years

A CRAFTSMAN who has spent the last two and a half years rebuilding a stone wall in Gower has packed up his mallet and chisel after closing the final gap.

Dry stone waller Andy Roberts has been out in all weathers at Mewslade Valley, near Rhossili – not that he is complaining.

The wall is around 500m long and more than 3m high in places and is said to date back as far as 1700.

But it was just a pile of stones when Mr Roberts arrived in December 2016.

The £55,000 project was one of several carried out under the Gower Landscape Partnership – a £1.9m initiative funded by the Heritage Lottery, National Trust, Natural Resources Wales, and Welsh Government.

Andy Roberts and well-wishers at the dry stone wall, Mewslade Valley, Gower

While last winter was fairly benign the winter before wasn’t ideal for outdoor work.

“The ‘Beast from the East’ was pretty bad,” said Mr Roberts. “There was snow down here.

“And last summer it was a bit too hot. It’s one of those things. You just have to put up with it.”

He added: “It’s a lovely spot. You get to see all sorts of wildlife.

“I’ve seen peregrines, red kites occasionally, ravens, a weasel and a couple of green woodpeckers. I’ve fed some voles as well.”

The area is a popular rambling spot and Mr Roberts, of Bishopston, has been peppered with questions and comments about the project.

“They have all been very complimentary,” he said.

A big chunk of the dry stone wall project has been funded by the Gower Society, members of which joined Mr Roberts for the final pieces to be put in place.

Society chairman Guto ap Gwent said the wall would last for generations, and thanked the National Trust and Gower AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) Partnership group, which is convened by Swansea Council, for their support.

The Gower Society’s vice-chairman, Gordon Howe, said projects like this mattered.

“Nobody is rebuilding stone walls now,” he said.

A short section of the wall was completed by another craftsman, Andy Jones, before Mr Roberts took up the job.

Mr Roberts said that finishing for good last Friday felt like “a bit of an anti-climax”.

But he is due to resume his outdoor work, rebuilding smaller sections of wall at nearby Fall Bay.

Mr Roberts admitted that he often cast an eye on dry stone walls when he was on his travels.

“You can’t help looking at them” he said.

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