The Verwood and District Potteries Trust

Woven Wood

Area index

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.