The sustainability and assessment of drystone retaining walls

Laura A. Warren, Paul McCombie, Shane Donohue

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

    Abstract

    The art of drystone walling is a highly sustainable traditional practice which uses local materials and craftsmen. As no
    mortar is used they have low embodied carbon, and much repair work or rebuilding can be carried out using very little if any new
    materials. However local practices developed to suit local materials, leading to a range of construction styles, making them difficult to
    assess. This paper examines a range of construction styles of drystone retaining walls in use across the United Kingdom.
    Understanding of the substantial variations of construction style is essential to enable proper assessment of these structures. Different
    frictional and weathering characteristics, and the naturally occurring shapes of stone found in an area, all affect the ways in which the
    stones have traditionally been assembled into walls. Ease of construction also plays a part, as the craftsman will naturally wish to
    achieve a robust construction in a way that is economical of time and effort. Aesthetics may be very important, for both client and
    craftsman. It is also shown that construction style is influenced by the location and function of the structures, with harbour walls
    particularly likely to have unique characteristics, and the reasons for this are explored.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings of the 18th International Conference on Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering
    Pages2123
    Number of pages2126
    Publication statusPublished - 2013
    Event18th International Conference on Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering - Paris, France
    Duration: 02 Sep 201306 Sep 2013

    Conference

    Conference18th International Conference on Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering
    CountryFrance
    CityParis
    Period02/09/201306/09/2013

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  • Cite this

    Warren, L. A., McCombie, P., & Donohue, S. (2013). The sustainability and assessment of drystone retaining walls. In Proceedings of the 18th International Conference on Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering (pp. 2123)