Currently viable crafts


Net making


The making of nets, an open textile in which threads are fused, looped or knotted at their intersections, historically for fishing and trapping animals.


Status Currently viable
Craft category Textiles
Historic area of significance UK, especially rural areas
Area currently practised UK
Origin in the UK
Current no. of professionals (main income)
Current no. of professionals (sideline to main income)
Current no. of trainees
Current total no. serious amateur makers
Current total no. of leisure makers
Minimum no. of craftspeople required 50, because of its distributed and localised nature.



Historically nets were used for fishing and animal trapping. Today, hand-knitted nets are are rarely used for fishing (instead, industrially produced sheet netting is used), a notable exception being the hand-knitted nets used by the Black Rock Lave Net Heritage Fishery in Wales. Hand-knitted nets are still used for pest control and for sport, such as ferreting for rabbits. Today, there are very few commercial net makers – but there are many makers knitting nets as a hobby and for their own use.

Purse net making in particular is strong and popular, carried out on a small scale by many people for their own use and local sales. No large scale commercial hand making. Long net making is less common.




Local forms



  • purse nets (for rabbits)
  • fox nets
  • gate nets
  • long nets
  • lave nets


Issues affecting the viability of the craft

  • There has been a marked reduction in rabbit populations over the last couple of years – if this continues many net makers will stop.
  • Availability of materials.
  • Viability of the sport these nets support, i.e. ferreting.
  • A change in the law could end it.
  • The internet and YouTube have been a huge help in documenting and transferring the skills.


Support organisations

No formal organisations – but plenty of Facebook sites and YouTube channels


Craftspeople currently known


Other information