Refugees learn ancient dry stone walling skills in the Peak District

Refugees from British Red Cross helping repair a wall near Froggatt. Yaqoob Adam (left) and National Trust volunteer Tim Hartog working on the final coping stones
Refugees from British Red Cross helping repair a wall near Froggatt. Yaqoob Adam (left) and National Trust volunteer Tim Hartog working on the final coping stones

Refugees from Africa and the Middle East are learning the ancient art of dry stone walling in the Peak District - and passing on their own tips while they work.

National Trust rangers and the British Red Cross have joined together to offer people escaping war and famine-torn countries a chance to learn a new skill.

Refugees from British Red Cross helping repair a wall near Froggatt. Celebrating after finishing a wall, ltor Aziebe Yemane, National Trust ranger Mark Bull (rear), Saba Zaray, Sinan Mulhem and Sarah Sonne from the British Red Cross

Refugees from British Red Cross helping repair a wall near Froggatt. Celebrating after finishing a wall, ltor Aziebe Yemane, National Trust ranger Mark Bull (rear), Saba Zaray, Sinan Mulhem and Sarah Sonne from the British Red Cross

Recently ranger Mark Bull took a group from Eritrea to a field near Froggatt where walls had been damaged by deer and livestock, and taught them how to rebuild and repair.

“Some of them actually knew the basics straight away. It was obvious they’d done it before,” he said.

“One of the men, Samson, said it was very similar to walls he’d made back in Eritrea.

“Samson and the team got a lot more done than I’d expected, and I think they really enjoyed it - they were singing while they worked.”

Refugees from British Red Cross helping repair a wall near Froggatt. National Trust ranger Mark Bull helping Saba Zaray (left) while Aziebe Yemane gets on with the work

Refugees from British Red Cross helping repair a wall near Froggatt. National Trust ranger Mark Bull helping Saba Zaray (left) while Aziebe Yemane gets on with the work

Another group from Sudan have also been helping rebuild walls.

The British Red Cross helps hundreds of people in South Yorkshire who either have refugee status or are awaiting results of asylum applications. The charity leads English classes and helps refugees learn about life in the UK and contribute to the community at a time when they are not allowed to work.

Sarah Sonne, from the charity, said: “They like to volunteer to use their time to do something useful. It’s also great to have that connection with the Peak District, which is very close to where many of the people live, but is often inaccessible to them due to lack of knowledge or confidence or resources.”

Refugees from British Red Cross helping repair a wall near Froggatt. National Trust volunteer ranger Rhodri Green (right) working with Yaqoob Adam (middle) and Omar Eid

Refugees from British Red Cross helping repair a wall near Froggatt. National Trust volunteer ranger Rhodri Green (right) working with Yaqoob Adam (middle) and Omar Eid