How to Make a Hurdle Fence

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The use of coppiced materials like willow and hazel were common through many periods throughout Europe, especially Britain.  This video illustrates the construction of how to make a hazel hurdle which would be used as portable fencing for bringing sheep to fold.  A similar method would be employed to make stationary fencing for garden walls  or for creating wattle and daub walls found in some forms of housing.  Although the tools to create such an item are relatively simple, the knowledge for manipulating the materials is seldom practiced today.  Extant wattle fencing is still sometimes found in wet archaeological context at sites such as York (Jorvik) and along the Thames in England.  The art of coppicing from which the materials are derived involves careful forest management; cutting back straight growing trees like willow, hazel, and sweet chestnut and harvesting the sprouts up to years later.  Though this involves a great deal of patience, the improved grade of the material is worth the wait.

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