Gloucestershire Stone Stiles Project
For centuries stone stiles have allowed pedestrian access across the countryside and as such indicated ancient pathways which predate land enclosure. Now they are threatened and rapidly disappearing. They understandably are seen by some as impeding walkers rather than protecting ancient rights of way. Their whereabouts are important historical landmarks, and can point to where farmsteads, barns, and villages, long since vanished, existed.
Before they are lost Peter Wilson, an active member and volunteer of CPRE Gloucestershire, with the support of Cotteswold Naturalists Field Club (CNFC), is seeking to create a record of all surviving Gloucestershire stiles. What he would welcome is that members, when out walking, take photos of stone stiles, record their locations, and send him the photos and location details.
There are three main types of stile; The Step, The Slit, and the Slab. It is the latter which is most endangered because for the less fit walker they are not easy to clamber over. Below are two local examples of how they are being discarded. In the first the slab remains to be overgrown and eventually lost as a way around it has been made and replaced with a less durable gate. In the second the slab has been removed and dumped.
Below are examples of Slit and Step stiles
Photographs courtesy of Ann Dickinson, Barry Parsons and Maureen Arthur
All forms with photos should be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org