Wattle Fence

Wattle is woven wood fencing. Hurdles are woven wattle fencing panels. Historically moveable hurdles were employed for pasture and livestock rotation. We have been wattle making (wattling) since Neolithic times.

How To Weave A Wattle Fence

The upright stakes are sometimes called “sales” and the saplings called ‘weavers’. Hazel, willow, sweet chestnut, plum, forsythia or any supple, long, straight, slender saplings make good weavers. Newly cut, green wood is best and easiest. Willow is an exception as it can be soaked to become more supple. Use thin, long branches -or- larger saplings that are cut down the center (cleft) as ‘weavers’. (See video below on how to cleft a sapling.) The saplings you choose should be long enough to weave around at least three stakes (preferably more) for stability. The weavers are woven around the ‘sales’ like basketry. The simplest weave would be to weave each row of saplings alternating around the stakes, the next row is woven on the opposite side of the stake from the sapling below it. Each sapling row should be firmly pressed down.

Hard wood is a good choice for the sales. Beware if you use willow as stakes as your fence just might take root and come alive, it will turn out strong, but you would need to trim it each year.

Wattle work is still a viable small industry in the UK, each company maintains a sustainable coppiced woodland to harvest weavers or withies. If you do not have access to woodland, you can order willow cuttings (withies) online

Wattle Fences Around The World

wattle fence

A charming loose weave wattle fence in Vermont.
By Katrinka, www.flickr.com

wattle fence
Six foot high cleft (split) hazel fence with gate and archway leading through an existing hornbeam hedge. The gate is pine with hazel infill. The cut side of the hazel wood is facing the viewer. burwashwonderwood.com

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Wattle fence and gate integrated into a stone wall, Stara Planina, Bulgaria. nashdom-bg.com

wattle arch
Wattle arch of hazel. Hazel is the most common wood used for wattling in Europe. naturalfencing.com

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Wattle fence and gate at an 18th century house in New Hampshire. Constructed using an old hand tree saw, bill hook and knives only–just as they would have been done hundreds of years ago. Many more photos: anhistoricallady.blogspot.com

wattle fence
A continuous weave wattle fence with an oak framed gate that contains a hazel weave infill. The hazel rods have been split with the grain as opposed to sawn, thus retaining its inherent strength and therefore creating a denser fence. Video below on how to cleft a sapling. By Tim Radford. burwashwonderwood.com

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Rustic wattle fence by Dan Holmes, UK.

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Stevens the Hurdle Maker. Located in rural Hampshire, UK. The cleft, or split side of the wood is facing us, bark side faces interior of yard. wattlehurdles.com

wattle fence
According to Mick, “a well made hurdle should have uprights 9 inches apart. The top 6 – 8 inches should be made from whole rods of a small diameter, and the remainder, from split rods. It is very important that at least 3 rods per foot go round the end post and back into the hurdle. There should be no nails!” micksticks.co.uk

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Wattle fence with windows by Mick, UK. A fence built on site will last much longer than a premade hurdle. Unless the hurdles are movable and brought inside for the winter months. micksticks.co.uk

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Wattle fence around a camp. Perfect!
Photo by Lynn Spitz. flickr.com

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Wattle fence at Walnot’s Farm, Sussex Weald, UK.

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Wattle fence of hazel wood on Walnut’s Farm, East Sussex, UK. walnutsfarm.co.uk

wattle fence
Wattle hurdles on top of brick wall. Stevens The Hurdle Maker offers Wattle Hurdles, Continuous Weave, Stakes and Binders, River Faggots, Rose Arches, Pea Sticks, Spar Gads, Sweet Chestnut Posts and Rails and welcomes any special enquiry you may have. Hampshire, UK. wattlehurdles.com

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Hazel framed hazel hurdles by Natural Fencing, UK.
6ft x 6ft, £68.00. naturalfencing.com

wattle fence
Wattle fence at an 18th century house in New Hampshire. Constructed of saplings from property. Wattle fencing was very popular in the early days of colonial America. Many more photos: anhistoricallady.blogspot.com

wattle fence
Wattle fence at an 18th century house in New Hampshire. Constructed using an old hand tree saw, bill hook and knives only. Many more photos: anhistoricallady.blogspot.com

wattle fence
Wattle fence hurdles connected by 4×6 posts.
No source: media-cache-ak1.pinimg.com

wattle fence
Continuous weave wattle fence (bark side facing us) by Green Man Woodcraft. greenmanwoodcrafts.co.uk

wattle fencing
Wattle fencing at the Weald and Downland Museum, West Dean, UK. wealddown.co.uk Image: theoldwashhouse.info

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A short continuous weave wattle fence containing medieval style windows. By Tim Radford. burwashwonderwood.com

wattle fence
Wattle hurdles in Brooklyn, N.Y. support blackberries and rambling roses.
Image via Vogue magazine.

wattle fence
Wattle fence hurdles made of hazel wood.

wattle fence
Cleft wattle screen with roof (protecting bee skeps) at the Weald and Downland Museum. wealddown.co.uk

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A wattle fence at Sanok-Skansen outdoor museum in Poland. wikipedia.org

wattle fence
Colony of Avalon, Ferryland, Newfoundland.
Looks sturdy enough for goats and cows.
Vicky Taylorhood. flickr.com

wattle fence
Wattle Fence made from saplings and branches collected from the wooded area of owner’s yard. Woven like a basket between 4 foot re-barb driven 1 foot into the ground. By Cliff Gilliam. www.yardshare.com

wattle fence
Continuous weave wattle fence, herringbone design with wood shake top.
Maramures, Romania. Image by Myra Lea. flickr.com

wattle fence
An open trellis in the panel gives privacy with a feeling of openness.
By Simon Fowler. peaktraditionalfencing.co.uk

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Upright wattle fence in Lithuania.
Copyright: Gdaiva. flickr.com

wattle fence
Attach wattle to a pre-existing rail fence. ‘Another idea’ – weave saplings into a chain link fence painted brown. Jason DoubleGrande. flickr.com

Wattle fence
Wattle fence has ancient origins in Africa as well. A reconstruction of the traditional King’s palace at Nyanza, Rwanda. en.m.wikipedia.org

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Wattle Fence in the 1400’s.
Les Tres Riches Heures du Duc de Berry.

Wattle Fence Resources

Online Resources


More Ideas

For live willow sources see our Living Willow Hedges post.


The more protected, the longer lasting. Lasts much longer if covered in vegetation. Annual application of linseed/turpentine: bramptonwillows.co.uk

Premade Hurdles

Alan King makes a hurdle and shows the stages involved. woodlands.co.uk.
Another short video (using thin branches) to start you off: youtube.com

Also see our Wattle Edging post.

Related Posts

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Author: Keiren

Keiren is an artist who lives in New York City. A lover of animals, nature, science & green building.

  1. Hazel is best for long term durability. But willow also works well as weavers. You can purchase willow ‘withies’ in quantity for a large project. Other young late spring saplings could work…but some species (if taken too thin) might get brittle over time, so good to test their long term strength. Thick-ish, green and pliable are best. I do not have a list of the most pliable U.S. saplings, sorry!

  2. I would like to purchase some wattle panels for my garden and would appreciate knowing if you supply such to small quantity buyers please.

  3. Dear friends:

    This is Emma form Zen Xin International Trade Co,.,LTD of China.

    We are specilizing in willow garden products and have professional designers to meet your your various requirements.

    Very glad to know your company is doing garden products. Write to you to built business relationship in the long term .

    Any information pls contact me.


  4. I really like wattle fences….After moving into my new home in North Palm Beach, the last item on my list of projects was the fence. I got six different quotes and chose Fence Crafters not just because they were affordable but also I got a good vibe from them during the bids process. My gut feeling paid off. Their team completed my fence professionally, efficiently and affordably. I would highly recommend this company for any fence job, large or small.

  5. Hi I teach a little 1-on-1 medieval archery and wanted to buy some wattle-pannels. About 12 or 15 to protect others in our garden. Any idea where I can source in Ireland or Britain?

  6. do you supply split hazel hurdles 6ft x 6ft twisted ends, how much (probably about 6 required) and how much extra for delivery to tn5 6 area

  7. Pingback: Wattle Edging • Nifty Homestead

  8. Pingback: Future Plans — Fences – Low Technology Institute

  9. Pingback: English Garden Inspiration For Your Yard • Nifty Homestead

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