Riven Ash Hurdle Making Course

Learn a traditional skill by having a go at using a draw knife and a shave horse to create traditional riven ash sheep hurdles.

One-hour sessions – at Hay Castle, outdoors on the lawn

This workshop is for people who are interested in sustainable woodland management and would like to know how to make useful products from coppiced and other woodland material.

Riven ash gate hurdles were traditionally used for folding sheep and pigs, in 1730 Viscount “turnip” Townshend devised the Norfolk four course rotation (barley, turnips, clover and wheat) a system that allowed farmers to feed their stock through the winter, also improving the health of their stock and increasing the fertility and condition of their land. You will be helping us create ash hurdles for use at our farm campus, Troed yr Harn, Talgarth.

You’ll learn several skills such as using a shave horse, billhook and draw knife to de-bark, riven and cleave timber and will construct the gates from prepared timber. This taster workshop follows our Introduction to Coppicing course from February and our Making a Split Hazel Hurdle course from May.

What will I do and learn?

  • An introduction ash timber products
  • Discover the billhook, an essential tool of a coppice craftsperson
  • Use the draw knife and shaving horse
  • Learn to cleave the wood into a beautiful and sturdy product.
  • Assemble a riven ash gate hurdle

Key Information

Date: Saturday 16th July

Times: We will be holding five 1-hour-long sessions at the following times –

  1. 10am – 11am
  2. 11am – 12pm
  3. 12pm – 1pm
  4. 1.30pm – 2.30pm
  5. 2.30pm – 3.30pm

You should book a ticket for the time you would like to ensure you receive the spot you want. Drop-ins are welcome and you are also welcome to stay on for a second session providing there is room!

Location: Hay Castle, on the lawn

Price: We welcome donations of any amount for this course

To bring: Wear suitable, weather-dependent clothing including gloves and boots Bring a water bottle and a packed lunch for a picnic, buy on-site at the Hay Castle Café. If you are arriving by car, please park in the main Hay-on-Wye carpark and walk to the castle.


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