Stilt shepards

  • Hey Guest, We're having our annual Winter Moot and we'd love you to come. PLEASE LOOK HERE to secure your place and get more information.
    For forum threads CLICK HERE


Dec 6, 2009
Listening to R5 yesterday had a bit about shepards getting about on stilts in France ,sounded interesting anyone got any further info etc cheers.


This was on QI a few seasons ago, and they had a pole they took with them, so they basicly became a tripod!


Full Member
May 31, 2005
West Devon, Edge of Dartymoor!
Here you go :


From a book called "The Discovery of France" by Graham Robb.


Dec 6, 2009
Cheers for the pics apparently they could go faster than a trotting horse and used to deliver the post around those parts until the 1920s,QI also had a question about peasants in i think France who hibernated.

British Red

M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Dec 30, 2005
Sort of like flat wooden snowshoes. You have to really swing your legs wide to stop stepping on the other one

Consider specialty footgear, too. British watermen whose jobs often took them out on saltwater marshes and mudflats once used "splatchers," a sort of snowshoe-like mudshoe. (You'll find a description of this unusual footwear in Secret Water, a children's book by Arthur Ransome, the British writer who married Trotsky's secretary and also wrote about fishing and foreign affairs for the Manchester Guardian.) You're not likely to find splatchers in your local outfitter's shop, I'm afraid

My brother and I made some from marine ply a few years (decades) ago for use in the glutinous mud off starcross in the Exe estuary having read about them in the same book mentioned above as children. They were about the size of a round tray (we used one as a template) and secured by two buckles over the foot (cut down surplus belts from Endicotts in Exeter). You don't half have have to swing your legs wide to stop stepping on the other one and ending up face down in the mud (which has to be greeted by the line "Tastes like mud anyway" given the sewer outfall is upriver :rolleyes:). You can get up a fair turn of speed but it likes scree running - don't slow down whatever you do! :lmao:

Happy days


mr dazzler

Aug 28, 2004
I have been studying some of those excellent old vidoes from Finland showing rural life from the 1930's. There are some scenes on thhe boatmaking film where a man walks on a fen type place; they seem to be gathering reeds with a small sickle on a very long pole. He is wearing what look like snow shoes presumabaly to stop him sinking in the mud....starts around 5.08 on this clip (worth watching the whole thing though....!)
As for those stilts, handy to see a longer distance too but I would think but your flumoxxed if they go down a rabbit hole.
Last edited:


Aug 11, 2006
In a boat somewhere
I read something about it once... IIRC it was claimed they could travel at the speed of a trotting horse...

That's very easy to believe. I have a set of Dura Stilts, which I use while hedge cutting and pruning. On the highest setting of 40" your stride length is increased quite dramatically and hence speed over the ground when you've gained sufficient confidence.

Hultafors Outdoor knife for Sale

We have a a number of Hultafors Outdoor Knives with Firesteels for sale.

You can see more details here in this thread OUTDOOR KNIVES The price is £27 posted to the UK. Pay via the paypal button below.