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England's Woods & Forests
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Balance beams

A beam suspended between two points, such as logs, mounds or tree limbs, can create a balance beam or double up as a resting point.

How to build

  • Logs need to be relatively straight and of a durable species. Bark can be removed or left; though it is best to remove bark at junctions of timbers. If bark is removed the upper surface of the beam could be flattened roughly with a chainsaw and scored with a diamond pattern.
  • Do not place items across or immediately adjacent to footpaths or desire lines (minimum fall space required). When placing several elements in one area arrange them so that desire lines between items do not pass through falling spaces.
  • To avoid logs slipping off one another, fix by drilling through and inserting a long galvanised coach screw or hardwood dowel. If using a screw, countersink hole and use dowel to plug.
  • Make sure that all log ends have been chamfered to reduce likelihood of splintering.


  • Fixing to living trees is likely to cause damage to trees. It will be necessary to adjust for growth and corrosion to metal fixings from sap.
  • Refer to fall heights, falling space and entrapment in safety section of appendix.
Last updated: 8th March 2016

England's Woods and Forests are cared for by Forest Enterprise England, an agency of the Forestry Commission.