Horsepower returns to woodland

RANGERS in Ipswich's Orwell Country Park turned their back on technology and chose a more traditional method to clear logs from a wooded area.Richard Sharpe and colleagues at the park brought in Moonie the horse to haul logs from confined areas of Bridge Wood to prevent heavy machinery from damaging its sensitive ecosystem.

RANGERS in Ipswich's Orwell Country Park turned their back on technology and chose a more traditional method to clear logs from a wooded area.

Richard Sharpe and colleagues at the park brought in Moonie the horse to haul logs from confined areas of Bridge Wood to prevent heavy machinery from damaging its sensitive ecosystem.

The horse caught the eye of many in the park and seemed to enjoy the chance to be put to work, according to Mr Sharpe.

“We normally do it with a big machine,” he said.

“The horse is less disturbing to the woodland and they can get into better places so we don't' have to cut so many trees down when we're thinning an area out.

“Using the horse is so much less disturbing to the ground flora which is so important to the wood.”

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The trees carried out of the wood by Moonie were felled in January and February and were being removed in time for summer when locals flock to the park.

“We had a lot of kids come up to see the horse,” Mr Sharpe, who works for Ipswich Borough Council, said.

Meanwhile owner Jason Roberts also took his horse to clear pine and birch trees on Blaxhall Common and Sutton Heaths, which are managed by Suffolk Wildlife Trusts.

David Mason, Sandlings manager at Suffolk Wildlife Trust, said using horses is a more environmentally friendly way of extracting timber from sensitive wildlife habitats and causes minimal disturbance to plants and animals.

Trees are being removed at the site in order to conserve the unique heathland habitat which in the past was so characteristic of the Suffolk coast.

Mr Roberts said: “Horses can extract felled timber effectively and safely through standing timber.

“Horse logging is not an outdated relic of a previous age. It is a vibrant and continuous tradition using the traditional skills of life long horsemen and women alongside contemporary equipment.”

Are you keeping traditional techniques alive? What do you think? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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