Willow and hazel fencing hurdles are a centuries old method of fencing, still used in both traditional and modern garden landscapes to introduce a natural, rustic backdrop. Handwoven from coppiced willow or hazel, these sustainable and versatile panels have a multitude of applications in the garden.
What are willow or hazel hurdles?
Willow or hazel hurdle fencing has been in use for hundreds of years, originally as a moveable fence to contain livestock in open farmland. The panels are constructed from long willow withies or hazel branches which are harvested from coppiced trees, a sustainable source as the coppiced tree regrows new shoots after harvesting.
The withies or branches, up to 8 feet in length, are harvested when the wood is green and flexible meaning that they can be handwoven to produce a rigid panel.
Because of their traditional, handcrafted manufacture and reliance on a steady supply of regrown coppiced wood the availability of hurdles can be variable. However if you do source them they will provide a sturdy, beautiful screen that will last for at least 10-15 years.
What can I use willow or hazel hurdles for in the garden?
Hurdle fencing is extremely versatile, in addition to being maintenance free and easy to install. Some uses in the garden include:
- boundary fencing - thicker hazel hurdles are particularly suitable for a boundary
- screening - use hurdles to hide unsightly garden features such as a compost heap or a bin area
- partition walls - use hurdles to create dividing screens within a garden landscape
- support for climbing plants - hurdles provide an excellent alternative to timber trellis
- support for tall herbaceous plants - if you have tall plants in a border which tend to sag when it rains, support the lower stems with small willow fences
How do I install willow or hazel hurdles?
The usual method for installation of hurdles is to use wooden spiked fence posts driven into the ground, to which the hurdles are then attached with strong wire or nails. Because hurdles have a relatively open structure they allow winds to pass through, meaning that it's not usually necessary to fix the supporting fence posts in concrete.
Hazel hurdles, because of their construction from thicker branches, form a heavier panel and hence may need additional support. A 6 foot hazel hurdle can weigh up to 25kg, hence will require the same support as a timber fence panel.
Hurdles can be cut to size although this is a laborious process and may weaken the structure of the hurdle. We recommend overlapping hurdles to fit, rather than attempting to cut them.
Ask the experts
For further advice about your fencing project don’t hesitate to speak to our friendly and knowledgeable experts at your local AVS Fencing & Landscaping Supplies branch. Willow and hazel hurdles are available from stock subject to seasonal availability, click and collect from your local AVS Branch or delivery within our AVS Branch delivery area.