Cleft Gate Hurdlemaking Course

Devon Rural Skills Trust is a charitable organisation formed to stop the disappearance of traditional rural skills in Devon.  They run courses (mostly on Saturdays) throughout the year.

I attended a cleft gate hurdle making course at the Parke Estate just outside Bovey Tracey.  Working in the woods with traditional tools and rigs our aim was to turn ash thinnings into hurdles.

 Hurdle Plan

Nice straight ash poles are cleaved using a traditional tool called a froe with the wood being held in a cleaving brake. Green wood can be cleaved, with a little know-how and practice, along the grain without the need for power tools



Keep cleaving until you have the size of timber that you need...


Components can be shaped use a drawknife on a shave horse

Shave Horse

Hurdle components laid out on the ground


Each course member chooses their desired size of hurdle


My hurdle at home ("Look what I made at school today mum!")


DRST membership is currently £15 per year.  Their courses are also open to non-members.

For more information about green woodworking see Mike Abbott's site.

For tools see Woodland Craft Supplies




For more information email Dave Dann. Sign in to see more contact details..