Walker finds 100th stone stile
Gloucestershire Stone Stile project aims to record every remaining stile
Please help us to establish this important historical record of our Gloucestershire countryside.
Stone stiles are a characteristic of the Cotswold landscape of Gloucestershire, with many stiles over 200 years old. For centuries stone stiles have allowed pedestrian access across the countryside and as such indicated ancient pathways which predate land enclosure, and point to where farmsteads, barns and villages, long since vanished, existed. Despite their historic value there is no complete photographic record with locations, and if no action is taken, many of our stiles would simply disappear and an important part of our rural heritage would be lost forever.
CPRE Gloucestershire volunteer Peter Wilson is running this project, and has so far received over 800 stone stile reports from members of the public.
There are three main types of stone stiles: slit stiles are usually two upright stones too narrow for farm animals to pass through, slab stiles vary in height and can prove difficult to negotiate even for the most energetic walker! The less common stile is the step and again some of these can be tricky to climb over. For centuries these stiles have provided access to locals walking along pathways as they went about their business whilst preventing sheep and cattle from straying further afield. Examples of each are pictured below.
There has been great support across the county for the Project, and we are very grateful to all who have contributed so far. Two of our contributors Jayne Tovey (pictured above and below) and Fay Britton have each reported over 100 stone stiles!
Together with the information provided by Jayne and Fay and all the other contributors, the next phase of the project is to produce an interactive App. The App will encourage more people to explore our wonderful county adding to their enjoyment of country walks. It will also help wheelchair and scooter users and families with children in buggies to plan their walks.
When you are out walking, if you spot a stone stile, or if you know of an existing stile, please:
There are many stiles out there just waiting to be discovered but please do remember the Countryside Code – Respect other people, Protect the natural environment, Follow advice and local signs and Obey social distancing regulations.