Walker finds 100th stone stile
In 2020 CPRE Gloucestershire volunteer Peter Wilson started the Gloucestershire Stone Stiles project.
Peter’s aim is to produce a record of every remaining stone stile in Gloucestershire before they are lost forever. Through support from volunteers and members of these groups and other keen walkers he has received over 800 contributions to date.
No-one knows for sure how many stiles there were originally as despite the historic value of these stiles, scores of them have been abandoned and some now lost forever. It’s thought however there are at least 100 more stone stiles yet to be mapped.
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. .
There has been great support across the county for the Project however Peter Wilson is particularly grateful to two of the contributors, Jayne Tovey and Fay Britton. Each one has reported over one hundred stone stiles together with photographs, precise locations and often local information on each stile. This is a fantastic achievement and a great boost to the Project!
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.
So if you are out walking over the Bank Holiday, if you spot a stone stile, or if you know of an existing stile, please photograph it, if possible from both sides, download a Stile Recording Form here and email it to email@example.com.
We are also looking for information on the history, geology and the landscape setting of each stone as well as its precise OS location. Don’t worry though if you’re not able to give all that information, the location will be enough to go on.
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.