The Practical Handbook series was started in the 1970s, with most of the original titles remaining in print throughout, and new titles being added over the years. There has been a rolling programme of revision with most printed Handbooks now in their umpteenth edition. We welcome feedback at any time on all aspects of the Handbooks, whether the comments are general or detailed, practical or academic, complimentary or critical.


Elizabeth Agate

Elizabeth’s first book for TCV (we were then known as the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers (BTCV)) was the Footpaths handbook published in 1983. Many others followed, along with revisions of the other handbooks.

Elizabeth died in March 2015.

Sean Adcock

Dry Stone Walling Association Master Craftsman

Sean became involved with TCV whilst at university. Following his graduation in 1981, he decided to have a year off working as a full time volunteer at the (now closed) volunteer centre in Llanberis, North Wales, where he had his first experience of walling.

Sean also set up and instructed on a number of training courses for TCV on topics such as woodland management, tree care and maintenance, heathland management, fencing, various footpath-related topics and other general courses on conservation, in areas such as Anglesey and Snowdonia.

In 1998, Sean was contracted by TCV to update Dry Stone Walling. He spent most of the summer travelling around Britain looking at walls. With the help of Elizabeth Agate he rewrote the technical sections of the book and added some new chapters.

By the time of working on the handbook, Sean had already become a Dry Stone Walling Association ‘Master Craftsman’. He was still involved with training in North Wales for TCV, through which he met his partner of the last 18 years – TCV can have that affect on your life!

A regular walling competition winner, Sean has taught and lectured all around the UK, USA and parts of Europe.

Sean still writes a lot on generally more technical matters than those covered in Dry Stone WallingAll of that can all be found in the books section of his website.

Alan Brooks

Unfortunately, we know very little about Alan. He wrote the early versions of Dry Stone Walling, Hedging (the first handbook, written in 1975), Sand Dunes and Waterways & Wetlands. If you know anything about Alan, we’d love to hear from you.

Barbara Kiser

Barbara wrote and compiled the first edition of Tree Planting & Aftercare (originally titled Trees and Aftercare: A Practical Handbook) in 1991. This was revised by Barbara in 1996.

Barbara is a science journalist and editor – currently Books and Arts editor at Nature.

Additional contributors

Many individuals and organisations have contributed their advice and experience to these handbooks over the years. Special thanks goes to the staff and volunteers of The Conservation Volunteers who have continually contributed their advice and experience.

Other particular thanks to:

Dry Stone Walling

Nick Aitken, Steven Allen, John Bown, John Butler, Seamus Campbell, Roger Clemens, Philip Clark, Daryl Craig-Elliot, Philip Davies, Jeremy Gavins, Dave Goulder, Norman Haddow, Stephen Harrison, Garth Heinrich, Ivan Hewitt, Kathryn Hewitt, Sally Hodgson, Vic Hollings, Brian Hough, Richard Ingles, Gary Knipe, Richard Leishman, Roger Lewis, Richard Love, Simon Lund, Alistair MacDonald, Grant McFarlane, John Pengelly, Shaun Seaman, Jimmy Scott, Mick Sharp, Jacqui Simkins, Andy Stokes, Peter Tennant, Kirsty Thornber, Alex Turner, Trevor Wragg, Brenda Lewis.

Original illustrations by Elizabeth Agate and Linda Francis.


Sean Adcock, Rod Armstrong, Tom Bindoff, Alison Boden, Richard Bower, Jo Burgon, John Chilton, Pete Cloke, Paul Frost, Paul Forrest-Jameson, G Holland, Terry Howard, Tom Hynes, Christine James, Stephen Lees, Karl Liebscher, H W Pepper, Jeff Redgrave, Gerry Smith, Andy Stokes, L A Tee, Roger Trout, Tim Turner, John Unwin, William Waddilove, Kieron White.

Original illustrations by Elizabeth Agate.


John Baily, Neil Bayfield, Michael Beese, Jo Burgon, Countryside Commission for Scotland (now SNH), Bob Dawson, Tony Drake, Fred Dwight, Barrie Goldsmith, Don Gresswell, Robert Greig, Alan Hulme, Tom Huxley, Brian Jones, Andrew Kehoe, Simon Lappington, Karl Liebscher, John Mackay, Dave Mardon, Warren Martin, Paul Millmore, Nick Moon, Peter Nevell, Pat O’Kane, Andy Parsons, John Pateman, Pathcraft Ltd., Ben Perkins, Godfrey Phillips, The Ramblers’ Association, Michael Rhodes, Terry Sweeney, Dave Thomas, Mary Thomas, John Trevelyan, John Vanner, Paul Walshe, John White, Keith Wilson.

Original illustrations by Linda Francis, based on earlier illustrations by Anne Roper.


Nigel Adams, Alan Atkinson, Paul Blissett, Bert Clark, John H Connabeer, Michael R Coombs, G Crompton, Robin Dale, D J Davies, Dick Gaydon, Bob Hall, Jim Hall, Tom Harding, Roy Hawkins, M D Hooper, Jack Hough, E Alwyn Jones, Russell Lawson, Frank Malin, Roger Mellors, R O Miles, N W Moore, M McArevey, E Pollard, Allan Rogers, Ann Louise Rule, S F Sanderson of the Institute of Folk Life Studies, University of Leeds, Elfyn Scourfield, Welsh Folk Museum, St Fagans, Cardiff, Heather Swift, Arnold Whincup.

Original illustrations by Linda Francis.

Sand Dunes

R W Arthur, John Bacon, William T Band, Alistair Barclay, Graham Barrow, I R Bonner, L A Boorman, A D Bradshaw, John Breeds, Duncan Brown, Jo Burgon, Ralph Calvert, Bob Chestney, J Rees Cox, Peter Davis, Harold Dollman, David O Elias, Peter Evans, Pete Fordham, Ian Fullerton, Martyn Garbett, David Henshilwood, D G Hewett, John Houston, J C W Howden, Mike Hughes, D J Jefferies, Charles Johnson, Pete Johnson, Inigo Jones, Penney Jones, Dave Lewis, Archie Mathieson, J McCarthy, Frank Metson, R Mitchell, Martin Musgrave, David O’Conner, Bob Owen, Keith Payne, Brian Pickess, eric Pithers, Jennifer Pizzey, Jeff Redgrave, Iorwerth Ress, W Ritchie, N A Robinson, Mike Stagg, Roland Tarr, F P Tindall, James P F Venner, Andrew Warren, David Wheeler, Barry Wilkinson.

Original illustrations by Anne Roper.


Andrew Brown, Mick Coad, Dave Coleman, Allan Cook, Dan England, Simon Feathers, Patrick Hardiman, George Manley, Michael Preston, Paul Redway, Doug Spark, Andy Stokes, Tony Stoneley, Ian Wallace & Nigel Watson.

Original illustrations by Elizabeth Agate.

Tree Planting & Aftercare

Joan Ackland, Trevor Benton, Neil Hutton, Suzanne Iuppa, Stephen Lees, Pascal McCaughan, Anthony Mills, Tony Milroy, Peter Norledge, Sonia Percival, Mike Pratt, Davina Prescott, Fran Richardson, Andy Stokes, Paul Tarling, Andrew Taylor.

Original illustrations by Linda Francis.

The Urban Handbook

Introduction and Chapter 1 by Tean Mitchell.

George Barker, Karl Bartlett, Rob Bowker, Andrew Brown, Richard Butcher, Dave Carr, Patrick Crowley, Phil Dickin, Dave Dutton, Paul Forrest-Jameson, Nick Forster, Jenni French, Meg Game, James Graham, Dean Heward, Polly Hearsey, Mark Joslyn, Hazel Kirby, Noel Lowry, Tean Mitchell, Jo Mercer, Jim O’Shaughnessy, John Preston, Adele Ratcliffe, Melanie Rowe, Charles Rugeroni, Andy Stokes, Mark Spriggs, Marion Vere.

Original illustrations by Linda Francis.


George Darwall for contributing the section on hurdle making.

Original illustrations by Linda Francis.