Over the last eight years the Gatehouse Development Initiative (GDI) has undertaken a number of projects to enhance the Designed Landscape of Cally to make the whole area more attractive to visitors and locals alike. Projects have included the repair of boundary walls, the conservation of the old school at Cally Lake and the conservation of the Temple.
Thanks to an award of £8000 from Tesco Bags of Help, the GDI has been able to undertake an ambitious project to carry out further restoration of the Cally walls, including prominent walls in areas which had not yet seen restoration work. The Fleet Valley National Scenic Area volunteers have spent several weeks clearing walls of ivy and fallen timber; the Forestry Commission has cut and cleared a number of trees which were threatening some of the walls and a professional dyker has been working to restore the walls. He is also leading a number of training days where the volunteers have been learning the skill of dry stone dyking. A series of information panels on the history of the dry stone tradition in the Gatehouse area is being prepared for display at the Mill on the Fleet.
The old wall in Cally woods
An old moss-covered wall snakes its way through Cally woods and crosses the white walk at two points. This wall once enclosed the cow park where the Murrays of Cally fattened beef for the English market. A section of this wall has been restored to show clearly where it crossed the White walk, which is well used by locals and visitors.
Rebuilding section of wall
Completed section of ancient wall
The sunken dyke
The sunken dyke is a unique feature of Cally Woods, built in the middle of a ditch and covered in turf. Part of this wall had been restored in earlier projects. Volunteers cleared the rest of the wall. The professional dyker then repaired the wall and the volunteers re-turfed the finished wall.
Sunken dyke before clearing and restoration
Completed wall before re-turfing
Re-turfing the wall
Volunteers at re-turfed wall
The Deer Park walls
The high walls along the track from Cally to Sandgreen are a reminder that they once enclosed a park where the Murray family kept fallow deer. Work has been undertaken to restore these walls and make the Deer Park area more attractive.
Dyker, Kevin, contemplates gap to be repaired
Felling tree threatening wall
Cheek at gate before repair
Cheek after repair
The fine orchard wall, which leads from the Cally Cold Store to Belvedere lodge has become quite overgrown with ivy, rhododendron and other trees but is in generally good condition. The Fleet Valley volunteers have been busy clearing this wall to prevent it being destroyed by the encroaching rhododendrons and other vegetation and getting it ready for some small areas to be restored.
Volunteers ready for wall clearing
Over the summer the volunteers have been working on a project to evaluate the factor’s house which once stood in the Deer Park at Syllodioch
Ron and Jakob at work
Looking at features on an old map
The project has also offered an opportunity for volunteers to learn about the construction of dry stone walls and to play a part in rebuilding sections of the Cally Woods walls.
The Cally Woods and Deer Park project was placed second among local projects and thanks to the generosity of the Bags of Help project a further £2000 will be available for completing the project.