Pioneering Poles / Pioneering Spars

We have been felling and producing Rustic Poles that are often purchased for use as Pioneering Poles or Wooden Spars for several years and have sold and delivered to numerous Scout groups across the UK.

We recognise that rustic poles (basically forest fresh "green wood") is often a niche product to source so we are more than happy to guide you in this world and answer any queries that you may have about untreated timber. We are one of the small number of businesses that utilise wood from commercial woodlands by manual thinning to be produced into products. As we are strong advocats of the great outdoors (Oliver never goes anywhere without his Trangia Stove), and utlising materials from around us, its something we are extremely proud to be involved in. We will refer to the below as Pioneering Poles - however we do not modify them at all for this purpose, they are just rustic poles with your choice of having them peeled, or peeling them yourself.  


What is a Pioneering Pole?

Pioneering Poles are used by the Scouts and other outdoor groups for making structural projects. Sizes range according to the age groups of the participants and are typically from 1.5m to 6.0m long. Diameters range from 50mm to 70mm at the thin end with 120mm at the butt end usually a maximum. The most common Pioneering poles purchased are 65-70mm at the top, 75-90mm at the butt and 3.0m to 5.0m long. Conifers are preferred due to their straightness and are supplied both with the bark on or fully peeled and sanded smooth. In both cases the branches are fully removed and machined to a smooth snag free finish at the knots.



The information supplied is for guidance only and does not form part of the contract of supply or a guarantee that any particular poles are suitable for any particular end use or structure. The information is offered from observations based on thirty years of experience in wood products as help and advice in choosing natural wooden poles where, due to their inherent variation in properties and appearance, description and specification can be hard to define. We therefore do not offer any advice as to the load or weight bearing properties of these natural materials. 


The Wood

What type of wood do you use for Pioneering Poles & why?

For Pioneering Poles we usually use softwoods, including Scots Pine, Douglas Fir or Norway Spuce, sustainably sourced from UK woodlands, selected and hand felled by us. We use this type of wood because it is straighter and more uniform than hardwoods, which makes building structures a lot easier! We carefully select each and every pole, using our experience, we know which trees will be most suitable for Pioneering poles. You can also get the added bonus of choosing whether to receive them with the bark on or would prefer them already peeled and sanded. Most people prefer their poles ready to go, but some like the idea of peeling their own and we can guide you how to do this safely if this is what you choose to do. 


What are the benefits of using natural round wood over machine round or fence posts?

As former timber merchants ourselves our knowledge about the variety of wood on the market is vast. As such we know the benefits and limitations of each material type, and what they are typically used for. We love working with natural wood, particularly for uses such as Pioneering, Scout structures, Tipi Poles and Pergolas - it is ideal for this, compared to machined round wood that you may find available at a merchants. Machine round wood has been cut across the natural grain of the wood, which makes it less strong and subject to warping in strong heat. They are not particularly suitable for using for structures as their uniform nature means that ropes can slip on them more easily. Non machine round fence posts can very rough, and many of them are not straight. It is also difficult to find poles over 2.5m long and the choice of diameters are limited.


Natural round poles are stronger for their size compared with square sawn timber, mainly because all the grain is still intact. WoodPoint are not qualified to recommend particular pioneering designs though we are happy to share our observations and experience about the materials.


Sizes of Pioneering Pole / Pioneering Spar

What do you mean about the diameter range of the tree?

When you think of a tree, it is common to think of it as straight up and straight down, but this is not the case. When dealing with natural wood, we have to talk about diameters! The diameters of the tree will be thinner at the top than they are at the bottom, this makes them ideal for building structures, but its something that not everyone considers when buying. The most common Pioneering Poles purchased are 60-70mm diameter at the top ( thin end) and range from 70-85mm at the thick end.


What do people usually get?

Popular lengths are 2m, 2.5m, 3m 3.5m, 4m, 5m. However, we can cut any length and diameter found in the forest. For example thin lightweight poles could be 1.5m long x 40-50mm diameter at the top to 6m long beams at 100-150mm diameter! 


Any diameter from 20mm to 200mm is available within normal lead times. Larger diameters can be sourced given enough notice.


Prices of Pioneering Poles

The price will depend on:

a) Order size

b) Finish on the poles e.g. bark on or peeled

c) The size mix e.g. standard or outsize specials

d) How quickly the poles are required

e) If delivery is required or the poles are collected


Get in touch to find out more!


Delivery / Collection

Lead times vary throughout the year with Spring / Summer being the busier months (3-6 weeks) - it also depends on the size of your order as all trees are cut to order rather than stock items. You can collect them from us from our workshop near Southampton, or from whichever forest we are working in (currently near Reading, or Midhurst in Sussex). Delivery costs vary according to your location and if we are able to tie it up with another order - we currently deliver most orders internally due to the costs of couriers, so if you are able to collect it may be a shoter lead time.  



It is important to consider how you look after your poles should you wish to store them and use them again. We will advise on this when purchasing, but do consider where you might store them. They will need to be stacked so that air can flow between each pole, rather than all on top of each other as this will help prevent surface mould if moisture is present. There are also many preservatives on the market that can help to stop this occuring. The bottom line is, as a natural material, straight from the forest, it is important to remember to treat them with care after you have used them if you wish to use them again. We will provide more detailed information at invoice stage. 



Disclaimer: Whilst we can help you with what you might be looking for alongside what is available to us we cannot advise you with any guarantee about weight bearing, structure building or any other particular use - the responsibility to ensure the correct materials are used is with yourself. We supply rustic poles only which are used for purposes of your choice and the independant titles on each page are for reference only - there are no adapaptions to the different named poles. It is advised to read up on the properties of untreated wood so you understand them for what they are and how they may be different from "machined", "treated" poles that you may be used to seeing in timber merchants - this responsibility also relys with yourself. We hope that you do find them to be suitable for what you are looking for, and we hope you also appreciate them for what they are - much as we do. We are not a mass production manufacturing company - and this is not seen as a "product" - more as a natural material which needs to be treated and understood as such.  


Contact: Oliver Barnsley

Tel: 07920 056200 



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