Hillesden firm restores historic fence at National Trust property

Alex Moir from The Cleft Wood Company and Lisa Topham, of Charlecote Park put the final fence panel in place following an eight month fencing restoration project. Picture by National Trust/Nick White.
Alex Moir from The Cleft Wood Company and Lisa Topham, of Charlecote Park put the final fence panel in place following an eight month fencing restoration project. Picture by National Trust/Nick White.
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Fallow deer at a National Trust property are safe from straying thanks to a Hillesden firm.

The Cleft Wood Company, which is based at Church End, have been carrying out an eight month restoration project on fencing at Charlecote Park, near Stratford-upon-Avon.

The new fencing is based on a traditional design which uses wooden posts of different heights and thicknesses to confuse the deer and prevent them from trying to escape.

Charlecote Park has been home to a herd of fallow deer for centuries – perhaps as far back as the 1400s – and William Shakespeare is rumoured to have been caught poaching deer there as a child.

Alex Moir from the Cleft Wood Company said: “We were delighted to be involved in this project. It’s great to be continuing the work of the craftsmen who have been working here over the centuries using the same tools and techniques. Our fencing and gates often go into beautiful places but this one is very special.”

The Cleft Wood Company are traditional woodmen, cleaving wood to make fencing, gates and materials for building restoration.

Their workshop is near Swanbourne and oak is currently sourced from the woodlands of the Claydon Estate.

The restoration of the fencing was aided by an 80 per cent grant from Natural England.

Lisa Topham, park and garden manager at Charlecote Park, said: “Restoring the deer fencing using this traditional method, which is sympathetic to Charlecote’s beautiful landscape, was going to take us years to complete due to the costs involved so this grant has made a huge difference.”

To find out more about Cleft Wood, visit www.cleftwood.com