Monday, December 7, 2015

Old Farm Fences

Still exploring the Hope Haven woodlot, I finished checking the trail we had laid out, and headed through to the corner of the woods.  I was headed back to the farm buildings across the fields.

As I got close to the corner of the woods, both this line of mossy boulders, and the old cedar rails of a collapsed fence became apparent.  Someone had done a lot of work here at some point 100 years ago.

One little section of the old snake-rail fence was still standing, being held up by this tree.

Then I went around the corner, and there was more cedar rail fence, this stretch standing up fairly well.

After just a short distance, this merged into an old stone fence.  I've seen a lot of jumbled old stone fencerows, but this one looked like it was built up in a very straight line.

 I scrambled up on top to get the picture, and discovered it really was more like a built-up dry stone wall than just a linear pile of boulders.  And with an extra strand of barbed wire on top just to make sure.

It was a good 2-3 feet high, and extended all the way down the fencerow.  Amazing the work that must have gone into building stone fences like this.  I had noticed the lines of stones when I was here before in late September, but not until the leaves fell did I realize what a good example of a stone fence I was seeing.

Looking backwards, I could see the stone fence extending far back into the corner of the woods.  I've only seen built-up stone fences like this in three places since I've been exploring the valley up here.  They're really dry stone walls more than stone fencerows, and certainly not tumble-down lines of boulders!


Walking time with the dog today 50 minutes.


  1. I enjoyed all your recent posts on the trail and the farm. This post about the old cedar fence and the stone wall fence intrigued me and made me sad for the old history behind building these fences. The stone fence is quite a feat!

  2. This is an amazing amount of work, and it makes me wonder if there is any way to find out who actually did all that work. You are quite the sleuth. :-)

  3. Lovely photos. I do like all the moss on the stones / boulders very interesting looking . The history of it all if it could only talk what stories it could it tell . Thanks for sharing . have a good evening !

  4. Fun to stumble across remnants of a bygone era!

  5. I lived in Gloucestershire for 5 or 6 years and got to know dry stone walls very well, and my step-daughter lives in the Peak District (Derbyshire) where they also have many dry stone walls. But I never heard of stone fences before. Is this a Canadian thing?

  6. Good morning, awesome series. The rock fence is gorgeous. I love the moss covered rocks. Great find! Have a happy week!

  7. I just came from another blog that looked back in time. I guess this is something we do, wondering if we will leave something behind or will our lives here be a lost mystery when we are gone?

  8. When one starts looking for those signs, they can still be found. I know in the earliest days of settling, lots of fences like that were built up by farmers clearing land from boulders deposited by glaciers retreating thousands of years ago, and which they found in the soil.

  9. Great photos of those historic artifacts.

    It's always interesting to see the various techniques used to enclose fields and how you can find them on one farm. Often you can roughly date the time the field was cleared by how it was enclosed. First came the various wooden fences when plenty of wood was available from clearing the field. Then, when the wood ran out and the wooden fences decayed, stone was used to build walls. After barbed wire became widely available in the late 1870s-early 1880s it was much easier to string wire than to build walls, so wire was used with fenceposts or nailed to trees. With wire fences, stones were just a nuisance and stones tended just to be dumped over steep banks or along the wire fences.

  10. . This sign is heavy...and those strips work. I've been using them on everything and I've not had anything fall yet. safety fence