City of York Council prepares to embark on city walls conservation project

Image: © City of York Council Explore York Libraries and Archives Mutual Ltd

Conservation work on a significant stretch of York’s renowned city walls is due to begin next month, with City of York Council hoping to safeguard one of its ‘most treasured historical assets’ for the long-term.

The city’s walls, built by the Romans around 1,950 years ago, are a key visitor attraction for the local economy, with over one million people engaging with the structure in an average year.

“York’s city walls are the most complete and finest in England, making them one of our most treasured historical assets. That is why it is incredibly important that we continue to maintain and repair the walls so we can all enjoy them for many years to come,” says Cllr Keith Aspden, leader of City of York Council.

“By carrying out this project we will be able to conserve this key part of York’s historic environment, civic identity and cultural offering. This is a really important conservation scheme to protect an internationally important scheduled monument.”

Condition of the arch at Station Avenue in July 2020

The Council’s dedicated team of stonemasonry specialists are preparing to start work now that a structural evaluation and consultation with Historic England have been concluded.

The in-house stonemason’s team will be “replacing worn and damaged stone cladding but also creating something a little different – a new active water management system to help slow further decay”, explains Dr Louisa Hood, city walls manager.

“Carrying out conservation work on the city’s walls is an essential part of the team’s role and something we’re all really proud to be involved with,” she adds.

The conservation scheme, designed by the Council in partnership with Mason Clark Associates and PPIY+ Architects, begins on Station Avenue in a matter of weeks. A small section of the walls will be inaccessible to the public for the project’s duration, with others the subject of partial night closures.