Dorset Rod Gates - a revival in North Dorset

An original Dorset Rod Gate at Hod Hill

Our North Dorset places are home to a few old, Oak, Dorset Rod Gates. These rustic relics are part of the character of the Dorset countryside and would have been a familiar sight to shepherds and farmers throughout the county.

Gates, like so many things today, are mostly mass manufactured and generic, putting the local distinctiveness of each region at risk. So, this is why we are restoring Rod Gates to our Dorset places.

A close up of the hinge incorporated within the rails of an original Dorset Rod Gate.
The hinge and rails of an original Dorset Rod Gate
A close up of the hinge incorporated within the rails of an original Dorset Rod Gate.

You can see the original Bakelite name plates on our gates, displaying the manufacturer as HG Leaf and Sons of Powerstock, Dorset. They are very likely to be at least 60 years old. The company is still in existence although no longer gate makers. These veteran gates have recently been repaired and are still functioning today.

Original makers Bakelite plaques
Old plaque on Rod Gate showing H Leaf & Son
Original makers Bakelite plaques

In North Dorset, our Area Ranger has been replacing modern gates with up-to-date versions of these functional, but beautiful, rod gates. 

Unlike the original pattern, which incorporated the hinge as part of the gate’s construction in the top and bottom rails, the modern versions hang on modern galvanized steel hinges.

A Ranger drilling the holes for gate furniture with help from Rosie the Collie.
A ranger is putting up a Dorset Rod gate, assisted by his Collie
A Ranger drilling the holes for gate furniture with help from Rosie the Collie.

Exposed to the elements, over time the Oak turns a subtle silvery grey. Oak, like Sweet Chestnut, has a natural preservative known as tannin which makes it ideally suited for exterior construction.

A Dorset Rod Gate being installed on Melbury Hill
A traditional Dorset Rod Gate on site at Melbury Hill
A Dorset Rod Gate being installed on Melbury Hill

The galvanized steel horizontal rods and gate furniture also mellow with time and will last for decades. A gate’s life expectancy can also be increased when the gates are hung on Sweet Chestnut or Oak hanging and clapping posts. By paying more at the outset, the life span of a traditional rod gate can exceed that of a modern softwood, diamond brace five bar gate by at least four times.

12ft and 5ft Dorset Rod Gates at Hambledon Hill installed in 2015
Two Dorset Rod Gates on site at Hambledon Hill
12ft and 5ft Dorset Rod Gates at Hambledon Hill installed in 2015

Look out for these beautiful gates when visiting some of our North Dorset countryside properties; you can find them at Hod Hill, Hambledon Hill, Win Green and Fontmell and Melbury Downs.