Green Woodwork by Dan Holmes
SussexGates is based deep in the Sussex countryside specializing in individually designed hardwood gates and woven fences. I also make bespoke plant supports, garden edging and much more. With 20 years experience of coppice crafts and green woodworking I now run courses for those who want experience making something using a traditonal craft
Cleft Chestnut gates, sunburst motif
Working in my own woods with simple hand tools my gates are typically made from Sweet Chestnut trees that have been coppiced for hundreds of years. Coppicing is an ancient practice where trees are cut close to the ground in winter every 7 to 25 years. The trees then grow back, throwing up many shoots from the stump. This makes each gate I make very sustainable. I use traditional methods such as splitting logs down their length, following the natural grain making every gate unique and also lighter and stronger than something similar made from sawn timbers.
My gates are durable; the heartwood of Chestnut is comparable to Oak in its ability to resist rot. They will last for many years with no further treatment.
I sometimes use different hardwood species in my gates such as Ash, Oak and Hazel for different effects, each gate being designed to the customers specifications.
Cleft Chestnut gate with Ivy details and height change to match woven fence
I have made many wattle panels from Hazel and now am able to offer a service producing non standard size fence panels and screens.
Odd sized wattle screens
An alternative to panels is continuous woven fencing. Constructed on site by putting in upright stakes and then weaving long round rods of Hazel between them. An in-situ woven fence can serve as a screen or by making it lower it becomes flower garden edging or the sides of a raised bed. Advantages of this kind of fencing are that it allows curves to be incorporated into the design and the entire structure is one piece from end to end when completed making it strong. Because it is woven this kind of fence will resist the wind effectively.
See the gallery pages for all my other work including:
Made from sturdy rods of Hazel with willow weaving, they last for several years.
Arbors and Trellis
Made from Sweet Chestnut poles. Many designs are possible to suit your garden