Meet Shaun Harvell

Professional hurdle maker

Shaun Harvell - Professional hurdle maker

Shaun Harvell is The Dorset Woodsman. Shaun's great grandfather was also a professional hurdle maker at the turn of the last century in Milton Abbas, Dorset. He proudly continues this family tradition of hurdle making and garden art, based from Shapwick, near Blandford Forum.

Shaun Harvell coppicing at Bear Wood

Shaun, otherwise known as The Dorset Woodsman, is a member of The Dorset Coppice Group. Shaun's great grandfather was also a Dorset hurdle maker based in Milton Abbas early in the last century. He produced hurdles to be used on sheep farms and gardens using exactly the same skills and techniques as Shaun does today.

Coppicing at Bear Wood

Shaun is currently helping us manage the 40 acre woodland at Bear Wood on the Kingston Lacy estate. This woodland is largely made up of hazel trees which Shaun has been coppicing - an ancient form of woodland management that involves cutting back the hazel to ground level on a seven year rotation to encourage growth.  

As well as being a sustainable way of generating timber, coppicing the woodland also lets in more light which allows many woodland plants, especially spring-flowering ones, to flower periodically without becoming overwhelmed by more competitive species. This, in turn, helps the diversity and health of the woodland allowing more species of flora and fauna to establish themselves.

Using the harvested timber on the estate

Amongst many other things, Shaun is using the timber harvested from Bear Wood to make hurdles that will be seen on the South Terrace at Kingston Lacy this summer and will also be on sale in the Kingston Lacy shop. We hope that longer term some of his sculptures may appear around the Garden at Kingston Lacy, helping to bring the woodland into the garden and showcasing this traditional craft.

Firewood, hurdles and garden canes, just some of the products and that be made from the coppiced hazel
Coppiced products at Kingston Lacy
Firewood, hurdles and garden canes, just some of the products and that be made from the coppiced hazel
" I am excited to be working with the rangers at Kingston Lacy to bring the woodland back to how it once was. It is especially satisfying to know that we are using all the natural materials we coppice on the estate. Every piece of wood has a use - it's just a case of being creative enough to see it. "
- Shaun Harvell