During the Neolithic period and long after, wall of roundhouses would sometimes be created by weaving wood together (the wattle) and covering it in a thick layer of mud mixed with straw and animal hair, inside and out (the daub). Flexible woods such as hazel were often used for this purpose. We are fortunate that our woodland boasts many historically coppiced hazel trees. Coppicing is a form of woodland management which involves cutting hardwood trees (such as hazel and willow) down to their base, causing the tree to grow multiple trunks, or rods, the following years. This provided the woodland owner with a plentiful supply of wood for a variety of uses (from fencing to walking sticks) and extended the lifespan of the trees that had been coppiced.
The children began by using loppers to cut thumb thickness lengths of hazel down to make the vertical pegs for their hazel fence. These were then hammered into the ground at regular intervals using a mallet. Next, they used secateurs to cut thin lengths of hazel to weave in and out of the vertical pegs. Rhianna and Usman began by making a low, straight fence to practice the technique. Next time, they intent to attempt the more technical roundhouse design and perhaps advance to daubing the walls and thatching the roof.