Making Cleft Chestnut Gates

Part of the Fishpool Valley Project is the intention to introduce sheep back into the valley to graze and therefore help keep the vegetation under control. This will require a large part of the valley to be stock fenced. Wherever the fencing crosses a track or path in the valley we are going to erect Cleft Chestnut gates. The Croft Castle Ranger Volunteers have been making them and the process started back in February this year 2018.


The area where the construction was to take place was identified and in June when we began to prepare our work area.


The work was to take place through out June and knowing what summer is like in Britain we needed a sheltered work area.

Having erected a work area we next needed to make a cleaving break to enable us to split the lengths of chestnut.

The Logs that were cut in February were brought to the work are where they had to be split, all done with hammer and wedge and a considerable amount of muscle.

The lengths of split chest were then shaped on a shave horse using a side axe and a drawknife. It was something of a production line  producing all the components but eventually we arrived at a point where we could begin to assemble them.


Gate number one , approaching final completion. Just a dozen or so more to go!


Over the 12 days in June we will be making 6 ft, 8 ft  and 12 ft gates. I can’t remember just how many but its quite a few.

As of June 2019 they are now installed and they have transformed the character of the Valley; I think for the better!

One of the 12 ft Gates. made by Ranger Volunteers.




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John Parsons