Old ways prove their worth with low impact horse logging

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20 MARCH 2013NEWS RELEASE No: 15889

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Forestry Commission Scotland staff working to restore a part of the Borders ancient woodland are enjoying some four-legged assistance as they return to the ‘old ways’ of working.

Angel the horse has been called in to help remove felled timber from the site - part of the Elibank and Traquair Forest in the Tweed Valley Forest Park near to Innerleithen – in a bid to minimise damaging native tree saplings, mountain bike trails and the surrounding ground.

The site – a mix of mature non-native conifers and native broadleaf trees such as ash, oak and sycamore – is being restored by removing the conifers, which were selectively hand felled by experienced local contractors 4Seasons Forestry. 

Charles Cuthbert, Conservation Ranger from the Forestry Commission said,

“Horse logging has been used for centuries to collect timber from woodlands because a well trained horse can use its power to pull large trees even over difficult terrain – even very steep and stony ground such as we have on this site – and deliver the trees to roadside with ease.

“The site is an Ancient Woodland site with a good range of broadleaf seedlings that will grow into the forests of the future. Ancient woodland sites are few and far between and we have a duty of care to do what we can to help sensitively restore them for generations to come.

“Removing the non-native conifers is a great start and getting Angel in to help will mean that disturbance of the small seedlings and other ground flora that form part of the historic Borders ecology will be kept to an absolute minimum.”

The Commission is working with Traquair based Homestead Horseloggers Company to get the trees off the steep banks. Dangerous trees have also been identified and taken down as part of the works.

Charles added:

“We’ve generally had a very positive response from members of the public who have been very understanding about the need for us to close short sections of public road and mountain bike trail while the work is going on.

“Ultimately, using the horse will mean far less problems for future use of the hillside – both for the public and the foresters - and will deliver long term benefits for the ancient woodlands."

Notes to Editors
1. Forestry Commission Scotland is part of the Scottish Government's Environment & Forestry Directorate www.forestry.gov.uk/scotland.

2.  For news, events and recreation information log on to
www.facebook.com/enjoyscotlandsforests For Twitter: www.twitter.com/fcscotland

3. Tha FCS ag obair mar bhuidheann-stiùiridh coilltearachd Riaghaltas na h-Alba agus a' riaghladh nan 660,000 heactairean ann an Oighreachd na Coille Nàiseanta, a' dìonadh, a' cumail smachd air agus a' leudachadh nan coilltean gus buannachdan a thoirt dha coimhearsnachdan, an eaconamaidh agus, ag obair an aghaidh atharrachadh gnàth-shìde. www.forestry.gov.uk/scotland

e-mail: paul.munro@forestry.gsi.gov.uk