Bushman’s Bridge

Two trees, one either side of a stream or ravine, are just crying out for a bridge to be strung between them. The Bushman’s bridge is easy to construct to cover any distance required.


  • 0.6m (2ft) staves (or large tent pegs) for rope ladder
  • 1 m (3ft) staves
  • 2m (6ft) staves for V supports
  • 2 x 20mm ropes for handrails – the distance between the trees plus minimum of 3m for tying off
  • 2 x 10mm ropes for rope ladder – each as long as twice the distance across stream/ravine
  • 3 x lashing lengths for each V support cord or sisal for attaching pegs to V supports
  • 4 pickets
  • sacking for trees
  • maul or sledge hammer


Using the 0.6m staves, prepare a rope ladder that will reach across the stream plus approx 2m (6ft). Use the marlin spike hitch and place the staves approx. 0.3m apart. Allow a long length of rope at either end of the ladder for tying off.

Divide the distance between the trees by 1.2m (4ft) to calculate how many supports are required.

For each support lash two staves together in a V-shape using a diagonal lashing.

Lash a 1m (3ft) stave across the V approx one quarter of the way up.

At the top of the V, lash a tent peg with a large rebate to either side. This will hook over the support ropes. It may be possible to find suitable branches to use instead. (diagram A)

The support ropes are tied off to the trees (which are protected with sacking) and pickets are sunk in on either bank – the rope ladder (base of the bridge) will be tied off to these.

Lay the rope ladder across the V supports then raise the supports and hook them over the upper ropes.

Tie off the rope ladder to the pickets, pulling it as tight as possible. Adjust the position of the V supports so that the base of the bridge feels stable.

Note: Since the design of the project the principles of Health and Safety have changed dramatically.
Caution should be exercised to assess the risks associated with this build and especially regarding possible falls from height, so handrails or belays and harnesses may be required.

To download the complete plan and design document please Click Here

Put your phone down and what are you left with? Just teamwork, courage and the skills to succeed.’
Bear Grylls, Chief Scout Bear Grylls