Horses help out at Fosse Meadows nature reserve

Horses help out at Fosse MeadowsA traditional technique to remove timber from woodland using horses is taking place at Fosse Meadows nature reserve, near Sharnford.

Horse extraction, a process rarely used nowadays, involves sympathetically extracting timber from forest or woodland, in consideration of the sensitive nature of the wildlife.

Unlike mechanical equipment, horses are light, quiet and manoeuvrable, minimising damage, avoiding compaction to the woodland floor, and producing no exhaust or noise pollution.

The horses are being used at Fosse Meadows in order to protect significant trees in the Arboretum, and to have the least amount of impact possible on the wildlife, such as otters that are visiting the site.

Stuart Freeman, a qualified horse logger, will be carrying out the work using his two horses Breeze and Queenie.

He said:

“Horses have been employed to pull timber from forests and woodland in the UK for centuries, but this declined after the Second World War due to rising costs of labour, and an increasing demand for timber led to the mechanisation of extraction.

“Whilst mechanised systems have reduced the direct cost of forestry operations, the potential damage it can inflict on woodland resource and the environment has become an important issue.

The horses are both trained to work in all aspects of horse extraction and we operate a range of implements.”

The work is taking place from Wednesday 12 November and is expected to take around a month.

All the timber from the site will be used locally.

For more information, and to find out about volunteering opportunities at Fosse Meadows, contact James Poynton, Green Space Engagement Officer at Blaby District Council.
Email:  james.poynton@blaby.gov.uk or call 0116 272 7704.

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