Established in 1982, Classic Canes is a British family business, specialising in traditional and contemporary
walking sticks, folding canes, seat sticks and umbrellas.
In the late 1970s, Ben and Diana Porter bought Warren House, a romantic but ruined property set deep in a neglected Somerset woodland. They fell in love with the location, gradually rebuilt the house and discovered that the surrounding woodland was suitable for growing the raw material for walking sticks. In 1982, a small range of sticks was offered to local shopkeepers, who soon demanded a wider selection. The family business grew steadily to include more products, employ more people and serve increasingly far-flung customers.
Today, Classic Canes supplies a range of over 700 products to retailers in more than 40 countries. Ben and Diana’s daughter, Charlotte Gillan, is now the managing director. Her parents are still actively involved in the day-to-day running of the business.
Production of walking sticks at Classic Canes Classic Canes uses the centuries old coppice with standards͛ forestry system. This produces the raw material for walking sticks from native British hardwoods such as ash, hazel and blackthorn. Beneath an upper canopy of maturing timber trees, smaller trees are grown to a minimum of 10cm (4”) in diameter. They are then cut off at a height of approximately 120cm (4”). Each plant produces new shoots, which are just above the nibbling height of the woodlands population of roe deer. Over three to four years, the shoots grow to the correct length and diameter to form the raw material for walking sticks. The wood is cut each winter when the sap in the trees is down. It is then dried for a minimum of one year before being steamed, straightened and finished in the Classic Canes workshop.