How hurdles work
Coppice wood is young, thin and flexible. When green, hazel can be bent into
circle and thin, growing shoots may be tied in a knot. Once the wood has
seasoned it is tough and much less flexible, it takes a permanent set.
The hurdlemaker slits his wood lengthways and weaves it between a
number of vertical poles which are temporarily held in place in a bored log.
On completion the hurdle is set aside and nature completes the process. In
a short while the thin exposed wood dries and seasons, the whole hurdle
becomes much stiffer. The resulting panel is light, tough, portable and
will give several years of use.
Hurdles were used extensively as temporary fencing and for fold
construction. They are still used on some farms but most hurdles now
are bought for garden use.