Gatehouse Development Initiative

Gatehouse Development Initiative is volunteer organization in Gatehouse of Fleet in south-west Scotland (UK) which carries out projects to improve the well-being of the community through projects related to the improvement of the environment and the promotion of built and natural heritage.

Dry stone walls, or drystane dykes as they are known in Scotland, are an important landscape feature in south west Scotland dividing the countryside into a patchwork of fields. During the 18th century changes in agricultural practices led to the introduction of farm steadings and fields to create the landscape we recognise today. The construction of dykes made from stone was seen as an efficient way to divide the countryside and control livestock.

By the 1930s post and wire fencing was fast becoming the economic alternative to drystane dykes and it was feared that the craft of dyke building was disappearing. In 1968 the Dry Stone Walling Association of Great Britain was founded at Gatehouse, an organisation which continues to advance education in the craft and heritage of dry stone walling for the public benefit. Today there is a renewed enthusiasm for drystane dyking with an upsurge in interest in a rural craft that continues to be in demand by landowners – a sustainable boundary which can use and reuse the stone employed to build the original construction.