Introduction: Simple Pioneering - Build a Monkey Bridge From Wood Poles

About: Hi, I'm Tim. I work on the railways during the day, run a scout troop and have a blog (see above website link) where I discuss my allotment and projects!

In my last pioneering project we built a simple swing

In this instructable we're going to use exactly the same knots, numbers of poles and methods to build a monkey bridge.  Like the last one we're using the same tree and concreted metal fence posts to anchor.  You could use three-two-ones however to anchor it down.

You will need:

Six poles (3.5+) in length
Rope - we used numerous lengths:
  • 6x6 foot lengths for lashings.
  • 3x loooonnnngggg lengths for the handrails and one thick bit for walking on
  • lots of small 2.5-3ft lengths to join the foot rail to the hand rails.
A ladder comes in handy too!

Step 1: Prototyping

Below is what we're attempting to achieve - with garden canes.  Without the river.

Step 2: Laying Out the A-Frames & Lashing

The a frames will look like below - we're reducing the height the initial lashing will be as compared to the simple swing we did before.  This is because we'll be lashing the hand holds to the top of the a frame (now more like an X frame with a support 'strike through').  This'll all become clear.

Step 3: Roping the Hand Holds and Footrail

Get your a-frames into position and roughly work out how long the rope will be between them.  Use similar lengths, but leave enough at each end to tie to your anchors.

Hand holds are loosely tied to the top of the a-frames using something simple like a cloves hitch.  These can be tightened later, especially if you have a handy ladder.

The foot rope just lays on the a-frame.  This has to be very tight so it's the last to be lashed.

Step 4: Tightening Up and A-frame Position

It's important to make sure that the a-frames are at an angle leaning towards your anchors.  When we stress the foot rope this'll pull them up, but they shouldn't be totally vertical as seen below.

The foot rope has to be tight.  When you step on it, it's going to sag, so you need it VERY tight.

Step 5: Joining Up Footrope to Handrails

The foot rope is joined to the handrails using whatever knot you fancy.  I just use clove hitches or whatever I fancy at the time.  It's just to stop the foot rope stretching too far from the handrails so the kids can still reach them.

Step 6: Enjoy!

We got this up in about an hour, spent about 25 minutes playing on it and got 5 minutes to tidy up.

We sent our lot up in order of approximate weight so the foot rope wasn't too stretched which will happen the more people use it.  You can keep tightening it up, just make sure you don't release it when someones on it ;0)