When I see Wattle fencing, I feel the moist British fog clinging to my skin, and a wistful smile crosses my face. And now, you can feel that too! I’m going to show you how to make handmade Wattle Fencing in a simple process.
Wattle Fencing came on the scene around the Middle Ages and was a favorite construction method for animal and land management. The Wattle hurdle (a section of fencing ranging 5-7 feet long) was and still is, heavily used on sheep farms in the British countryside.
One of the benefits of using Wattle panel or hurdles is the encouragement of animal rotation that helps prevent overgrazing and also significantly reduces worm loads in animals by regularly moving them to new feeding areas. I used them for our ducks and it worked very well, they enjoyed new grazing areas and it was easy to set up with the light wattle panels.
Concerns About Making Wattle Fencing
When I first thought about making Wattle hurdles, I had three main questions:
How strong could a bunch of sticks really be?
Aren’t these hurdles going to be insanely heavy?
And lastly, how long were they going to last?
Well, after building and most importantly, using these hurdles with animals over an extended period, I feel I can answer these three questions.
- To the first concern of how strong could the wattle hurdles be? Let me tell you I no longer doubt, wattle fencing once dried is a strong and sturdy form of fencing.
- On to the second concern about the overall weight of the hurdle. You must remember, that when building the hurdles, all the materials must be “green” or freshly cut. The green material can handle the stress of bending in different directions. The weight of green materials will shed off after the hurdles are put to work through a warm summer and have thoroughly dried. You will have a sturdy, but light hurdle panel.
- And to the third and most important concern, how long could the wattle panels last or better said, are they worth the time it takes to build them? In answer to this, six years have gone by with many of the wattle hurdles only needing minor repairs. The only noticeable sign that time has passed is the falling off of the bark giving the wattle hurdles a warm sun baked look.
How to Make Wattle Fencing Step by Step
So, let’s start… how to make wattle fencing step by step. Here is our pictorial guide in which we use our local and abundant resource, thousands of Bull Pine Trees. But, use whatever YOU have that is pliable and green. For some that is willow, pliable branches of any tree ( which makes a beautiful rustic weave) I’ve even seen bamboo split in half and used!
- First, gather yourself a large armful of your local material and make two piles. The stake pile needs to be everything 1 1/2” in diameter or larger. The wattle pile should be 1” or less.
- Take your bundle of tapered stakes to a hurdle jig, made of anything laying around. ( ex. log, 2×4, 4×4, scrap lumber) Nail or screw outriggers on both ends of the jig to keep it stable while building the hurdle. Drill 1 1/2” holes in the jig about 16” to 18” apart. The distance the stakes need to totally depend on the size of material you are using for the wattle. The larger the wattle material, the further apart the stakes will need to be.
- Now you know how to make wattle fencing step by step!
Wattle is a beautiful and practical approach to fencing, and with these newly found skills, funny things could start happening. You just may find yourself spending a silly amount of time admiring the newest addition to your garden or livestock fencing, with a warm beverage in hand. Waiting for that British fog to roll in.