Harrogate waller turns stone into Chelsea gold

Harrogate dry-stoner waller works on a demonstration piece.

Harrogate dry-stoner waller works on a demonstration piece.

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A dry-stone waller from Harrogate – who gave up his desk job just six years ago – has helped a charity’s garden win a Gold Award at the Chelsea Flower Show.

Neil Beasley was one of three Yorkshire-based dry-stone wallers involved in creating the Arthritis Research UK garden, which was designed by TV gardener Chris Beardshaw.

He said: “It was a great experience to be involved with the Chelsea Flower Show and helping to transform Chris’s designs into reality was a real privilege.

“It was a labour of love in the end, as we shaped nine tonnes of stone, each one sculpted by hand, into Chris’s vision for the end of the garden forming part of the contemporary glass retreat.

“To be part of the Centenary Show at Chelsea and to be part of a garden that has won Gold was amazing.”

Mr Beasley has been walling for 10 years, but only gave up his job as a research manager for Sports England to set up on his own six years ago – a decision he describes as “the best I ever made”.

He accumulated experience working under a master craftsman and is now a Dry Stone Walling Association (DSWA) Advanced level waller and qualified instructor.

His work includes small field repairs, new walls, bespoke garden features, large-scale landscape work and specialist commissions.

He also supports the Harrogate-based charity Horticap, providing dry-stone features for their nursery.