13 MARCH 1953, Page 17

Drystone Walls Where there are drystone walls there will always

be vermin, a keeper told me once, and of course the remark is so true that it hardly needs to be made. The drystone wall is the most solid shelter for all small creatures. Mice inhabit the cracks and crannies of a wall to live on beetles and other insects; the weasel lives in the wall, and explores the tunnels and runs for the mouse. When a rabbit is hunted, it bolts into the wall, and small birds often escape the hawk in the same way. Even the snake is fond of the stones. When I was a boy, I often watched the vermin that the keeper sought so relentlessly. The countryside was criss-crossed and divided by countless miles of drys-tone wall, and the only way that creatures could travel, apart from going through the gates was through the walls themselves. I have seen weasels- htgning the wall from both sides, working along most thoroughly while their quarry stole ahead, in and out of the stones, certain to be overtaken and killed in the end.