The Verwood and District Potteries Trust

Len Lane

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Walter Leonard Lane 1906 - 1988

"Len" Lane was active making Hurdles well into the 1970's. He travelled around the area looking for suitable coppices to source his materials and, while working, discovered Rockborne Roman Villa.

The picture shows Len working on a hurdle in the winter of 1936/7. At this time hurdles cost 6d (2½p) each, and were used in their thousands for penning sheep. The hurdle he is working on has a gap known as a twilly hole to make it easier to carry. Recent hurdles don't need a hole, and don't usually have it. The main tool for hurdling is the bill-hook, seen here parked on a stump. The hurdlemaker's boast is that he can make one faster than anyone else can pull one to pieces.

Len Lane at work hurdlemaking, creating a panel of woven wood.

Twilly Hole: A gap near the top of the hurdle by which the hurdle can be carried relatively comfortably. The word 'twilly' may refer to the twill or twist in the whole sticks woven in at the top of the hole. These whole unbroken branches with their bark still in place were much more comfortable to hold and less likely to produce painful splinters. Mechanisation means that hurdles are more often carried in the back of a vehicle nowadays and twilly holes are no longer common. back to text.