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Moving mountains in the Mendips
Thursday, 17th April, 2003
Past and present volunteers, contractors and Trust staff marked the completion of the wall with a ceremony on 17 April.
Wessex Regional Committee Chairman Joe Studholme and 77-year-old volunteer Mrs Philippa Perks - known to the rest of the team as 'Hadriana' for obvious reasons -unveiled a commemorative base stone.
Sixteen years of labour, three hundred volunteers and more than a thousand tonnes of stone - no wonder there were celebrations when a kilometre-long dry stone wall on the National Trust's Crook Peak was completed.
The wall -1032 metres of it (1128 yards) to be precise -runs along one of the highest and most spectacular parts of the Mendips and marks the boundary between Somerset and the former county of Avon. The project was begun in 1987 by former Area Warden Rosanne Allen, helped by Trust volunteers.
Wessex Regional Committee Chairman Joe Studholme, giving thanks to all those who had helped, called it an 'amazing physical feat' as it had involved positioning more than a hundred thousand stones, each being moved at least four times.
"It has been a huge undertaking - each metre of wall weighs nearly a tonne" said Property Manager Adrian Woodhall. "We couldn't have done it without all the many people who have
Most of the old wall had to be dismantled and new material brought in from various sources, including rock safety work in Cheddar Gorge, unwanted old limestone walls donated from people's gardens and the disused quarry at nearby Sandford, kindly donated by Hansons.
Money was found from a number of sources, including countryside stewardship grant aid, donations from National Trust Centres and Associations and from Trust funds.
Philippa Perks is well-known and loved in Wrington and far beyond for her many acts of kindness to others. She is a mainstay of the the village Helpline. During the building of this wall, walkers on Crook Peak could come across Philippa, probably all alone, hefting the next stone, and proferring a friendly greeting.