Pioneering Poles / Pioneering Spars / Staves

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.

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 45mm to 75mm at the thin end with 120mm at the butt end usually a maximum. The most common Pioneering poles purchased are 75-100mm at the butt and 2.0m to 5.0m long. Conifers are preferred due to their straightness and are supplied both with the bark on or fully peeled and sanded. In both cases the branches are fully removed and machined to a smooth snag free finish at the knots.


Pioneering Poles - Quoting & Ordering

For Pioneering Poles we 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 use our experience to carefully select each tree to make the best Pioneering poles.


You can choose to have the poles fully finished, peeled, sanded and treated or just straight from the forest with the bark on. Most people prefer their poles ready to go, but some like the idea of peeling their own and we can guide you on how to do this . 


Pole Sizing Table (the approximate diameter of the butt under the bark) 

Our poles are supplied in the below stock sizes. Please email us on for a quote and state length, category (A,B,C) and how many of each and we will get a price over to you. If you would like something outside of this table, do get in touch and we can discuss your needs. 


  Thin Standard Heavy
  A B C
2m 45 - 63mm       75 - 90mm 95 - 105mm
3m   85 - 95mm 95 - 105mm
4m   90 - 100mm 110 - 120mm
5m   95 - 105mm 115 - 125mm     


Note: Staves would be size A, but if you would we can supply them them thinner if requested


Below is the same table but converted roughly to imperial measurements (please note that wood is cut in metric, this table is just to show the rough sizing in imperial):


  A B C
6'6" 45 - 63mm       3 - 3.5" 3.75 - 4.25"
10'   3.25 - 3.75" 3.75 - 4.25"
13'   3.5 - 4" 4.25 - 4.75"
16'   3.75 - 4.25" 4.5 - 5"    

Due to the variation in trees, there is some overlap between categories. 



Contact: Oliver Barnsley

Tel: 07920 056200 



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

As former timber merchants we have good knowledge about the variety of wood products available.  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 these uses compared to machined round wood that you may find available at a merchants. Machine round wood has been cut across the natural  woodgrain, which makes it less strong and more subject to warping and cracking in strong heat when compared with our natural tapered poles.


Machined poles have a uniform finish and these surfaces allow fixing ropes to slip more easily. Non machine round agricultural type 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.

Lastly our natural round poles are also much stronger for their size compared with square sawn timber, mainly because all the grain is still intact. 


WoodPoint are not qualified in engineering or design and therefore we are uanable to offer professional advice or recommend particular designs for pole structures. However, we are happy to share our observations and experience about the materials and applcations we have come across during our thirty years in the timber & forestry trade.


Delivery / Collection

Lead times vary throughout the year with Spring & Summer being the busier months (3-6 weeks). The lead time will also depend on the size of your order and the amount of finishing required on the poles. For example bark on poles may be up to 2weeks faster than peeled and saned poles. Stock sizes will always be quicker than special sizes although at busy times of the year our stock will become quite low. 


You can collect from us from our workshop near Southampton, or from whichever forest we are working in (currently near Reading, or Midhurst in Sussex). 


We can deliver to most locations in the UK on our own van & trailer combination which takes up to 2.5 tonnes of poles and can accomodate all poles up to 8.5m long. Delivery costs vary according to your location and if we are able to tie in with another order. We are happy to quote for both single specific delivery and shared delvery. Therefore the more notice we are given for an order the better the chance we can supply at the lower deliver cost. 



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 you are purchasing. It is most impotant to consider where you might store them. They will need to be stacked so that air can flow between each pole, rather than in a pile as this will help prevent surface moulds developing if moisture is present. 


Although surface mould rarely affects the strength of the poles and can be cleaned off it is important that poles in storage remain dry to prevent decay occuring. We advise that as well as having correct storage, the poles are treated with a perservative. There are many preservatives on the market that can help to stop this occuring and we will provide more detailed information at invoice stage. 

Remember that as a natural material straight from the forest, it is important to treat poles with care after you have used them if you wish to use them again and again for many years.



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. 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 or longevity of the poles - the responsibility to ensure the correct materials are used is with yourself.


Contact: Oliver Barnsley

Tel: 07920 056200 



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