Archive for Downsizer For an ethical approach to consumption

       Downsizer Forum Index -> Land Management

Coppicing: Courses On Making Traditional Wattle Hurdles.

Hi there,

I hope you don't mind me posting this here, but it's something that I think you lot would enjoy! I do (I love all this traditional stuff!).

Some of you may know from other posts on here that I work in forestry and arboriculture for Sparsholt College near Winchester, Hampshire (I manage and deliver all the short courses) - and I'm really excited about this course...

"Sparsholt College, Hampshire, is pleased to offer 2-day and a 5-day hurdle-making courses. Working out in the woods that are still being used in the traditional way, these courses allow you to create and take home a hazel hurdle. The instructor for the course has been managing coppice woodland for the last 20 years and was fortunate to learn from many of the 'old boys' who coppiced the same woodland. His experience and commitment to the traditional methods has meant that his work is in great demand and as well as television appearances, he has had his work displayed at the RHS Chelsea Garden Show (silver award) and been commissioned for work at several large estates.

The 2-day courses run over a weekend and will allow you a glimpse in to a traditional woodsman's craft. Whilst making your own hazel hurdle, you can benefit from the instructors experience, gained over 20 years of working in the woods. This course is aimed at anyone who wants to gain hands-on practical experience, no prior experience of wood-working is required. During the two days you will... given an introduction in to the materials and tools of the hurdle-maker; able to practice the art of splitting the hazel rods using the billhook;
...cover the basics of hurdle-making;
...make your own small hazel hurdle panel.

The fee for the 2-day course includes transport to and from the woodland from Sparsholt College, all tuition and tools. All materials used to create the hurdle will have been prepared in advance by the instructor. Fee: 164.00. The date of the first course is the weekend of the 31st May - 1st June 2008.

The 5-day courses will provide you with a real insight in to the whole production process of creating a hazel hurdle. This course is much more in-depth and you will be expected to prepare your own material in order to make your own hurdle. On this 5-day course, you will... given an introduction in to coppicing hand-tools and techniques;
...shown how to cut coppice and cover drifting and grading of materials; cutting your own products from the hazel coppice; practicing the art of splitting the hazel rods using a billhook; setting the mould for making the hurdles; creating your own 3' hazel hurdle to take away with you.

The fee for the 5-day course includes transport to and from the woodland from Sparsholt College, all tuition and tools. Fee: 248.00. The first 5-day course will run starting Monday 16th June 2008.

Please note the following:

You will need to supply your own food and drink.
You will be working out in the woods all day; please ensure you have appropriate clothing for inclement weather if forecast.
There are no special toilet facilities on site.
Please wear stout boots for this course.
Places are limited to 8 participants. For further information, or to book a course, please contact Sparsholt Registry on 01962 797213."

You can also contact me on here for more information if you're interested.

Thank you,

This is the kind of thing I'd love to do. I grew up near Alton and that part of the world is close to my heart. However, it's unlikley I'd be able to make use of the craft for a while yet but if it's running next year I will be very interested as I can start using the technique for building walls on the new house.

You're welcome to post about any courses you like

Thank you Tahir,

I wasn't too sure - a lot of other forums get funny about this sort of thing and I don't want to upset the moderators / admins by the posting.


This is just the first run of the course and there should be several run later on in the year, going in to next year. I have to be careful to work in conjunction with the coppicer as his busy period is through the winter, but there will be more.

By the way you can email me at if you want any more information, or just register your interest.


Yes, these sort of courses are fine to post about - very Downsizery, and of interest to quite a few folk on here.

Please keep us informed about this and similar courses.

Hurdle-making is something I want to learn and use very soon, but Sparsholt is a long way, and (to me) it's not cheap.

I am thinking of using coppiced willow for mine, rather than hazel - what do you reckon, vickersdc ?

What do you want to use your hurdles for? I'm not really sure that willow would last too long outside (unless it's treated), but it would make a nice room divider or similar.

I'm also not too sure about the strength of a hurdle made of willow, I guess you could make a small one though.

The most important thing about building a hurdle is that you use the right pattern, without that it'll just fall to bits!

vickersdc wrote:
What do you want to use your hurdles for? I'm not really sure that willow would last too long outside (unless it's treated),

Was intending to make hurdles to supplement a net and barb fence as a windbreak instead of hedging (takes up less space)

Gil, did you ever do this? I've a hazel and willow over stock, and a gap for two 6 foot fence panels, a warm, dry weekend, a keen 12 year old, a PS3 that needs turning off and a massive knifey thing. shall be my guide!
       Downsizer Forum Index -> Land Management
Page 1 of 1
Home Home Home Home Home