Hazel, willow, beef and storytelling from Bedfordshire

A hazel tunnel

Hazel tunnel under construction

Hazel tunnel under construction

A couple of weeks ago I built a four metre long tunnel using hazel poles. This was for a client who is developing a great garden and wants to grow more veg. She spent the day helping which was great too.

The idea is to create something that will carry climbing plants – lots of beans and other edibles which will produce within reach of the owner. It was therefore designed to have a radius just longer than the owner’s reach – 80 inches (204cm). Using very simple hurdle/basket making techniques we managed it in a day which included plenty of tea and a very tasty lunch – thanks!

The main elements of fourteen arches were formed using pairs of  straight and flexible rods of nine feet plus. These were set in the ground and horizontals run in to both sides up to about shoulder level. Once up to that height, the arches were tied in and the last two or three horizontal lines of hazel threaded in.

It was dark by the time we finished so I’ve only got these pics taken early on in the process. I’m really looking forward to seeing it dripping with runner beans come July.


  1. jo smith jo smith
    May 4, 2013    

    can this be left as a feature in the garden to use every year? im working with a children’s gardening group in london and think this would be great across the path between 2 raised beds- or should it be made with willow?would really appreciate your advice. thank you jo

    • May 5, 2013    

      Hi Jo,
      This was designed to be left in place and is now in its second year. I saw it a couple of weeks ago and it looked good still. It could be made from willow but this client wanted hazel as it is slightly stronger (it is less flexible than willow though). There’s a picture of it in July last year here http://www.wassledine.co.uk/products.html#arch
      Hope that helps – come back to me if you need more information.
      Best wishes,

      • jo smith jo smith
        May 9, 2013    

        decided we’d like to go ahead but then looked at the site and saw the warning that postage could be v.expensive- how much would it cost to send 12 hazel rods? or perhaps you do big deliveries to london and could add some for us?-we are a charity -old oak community and childrens centre-the gardening project has just started and the children are loving it. warm regards and thanks for your help

  2. May 11, 2013    

    Hello Jo,
    Sorry – I’m going to disappoint you. We’ve just about run out of hazel now and don’t courier long rods as we haven’t found a company that will carry them at a reasonable cost.

    I am thinking about trying to contact gardening organisations next winter to see if they might like to club together to buy materials. If that were successful, it could make it worthwhile for us to deliver.

    Sorry that’s not very helpful, but good luck with your garden.


    • jo smith jo smith
      May 11, 2013    

      sorry you’re not able to supply us with hazel, but thank you so much for responding – and for wishing us good luck- good luck to you too. happy summer,

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