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NEWS RELEASE No: 1351721 APRIL 2010

Horsing around at Bedford Purlieus

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horse logging at bedford purleus

Silent, a 19 year-old rare breed Clydesdale horse, has been used on a logging project at the Forestry Commission's ancient Bedford Purlieus woodland, part of Rockingham Forest, near Peterborough. 

As a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), the woodland is home to some of the country’s finest examples of plant and insect species, so Silent’s nimble approach to moving the felled trees made him the ideal choice for the project. Unlike heavy machinery, Silent manoeuvres the logs without causing unnatural disturbance or damage to surrounding trees, fledgling roots and bulbs.

Forestry Commission community ranger Cheryl Joyce said:

“Over the past three days Silent has moved over 105 logs, weighing on average half a tonne each, which is no mean feat.  By using the practice of horse logging the Forestry Commission is able to minimise the impact of this essential work, while supporting traditional felling methods.”     

Planned tree felling plays an important role in sustaining the future of woodland areas.  It helps give younger trees the opportunity to germinate and grow - widening the age range of the trees, encouraging a wider variety of wildlife and fauna and creating diverse forests for the future.

Nick Sutton, Silent’s owner, added:

“Silent loves to work, which is a well known trait of the Clydesdale breed, it keeps him fit, healthy and most importantly of all occupied, which is so important for these beautiful animals.”

Not just an experienced logger, Silent has featured on the radio show ‘The Archers’, appeared on screen in the television series of Sherlock Holmes and showcased as a ceremonial jump horse in front of Her Majesty, the Queen.

For more information contact Sarah Walker on 01780 444920 or email

About the Forestry Commission
The Forestry Commission is the government department responsible in England for protecting, expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woods and forests, and increasing their value to society and the environment.  Forestry makes a real contribution to sustainable development, providing social and environmental benefits arising from planting and managing attractive, as well as productive woodlands.  Further information about the Commission can be found at

Northants Forest District runs from Grantham in Lincolnshire right down to Ampthill in Bedfordshire, taking in many beautiful and varied woodlands.

Bedford Purlieus Wood
Bedford Purlieus is an historic ancient woodland in the Soke of Peterborough. The wood was declared a National Nature Reserve by English Nature in 2000, in recognition of its importance as a species-rich semi-natural native woodland. The wood is home to more plant and insect species than most other woods in this country. Limited car parking facilities are available, and the wood is open for quiet recreation.

Bedford Purlieus National Nature Reserve is part of Rockingham Forest. Wansford In England is the nearest town or village. There is a car parking area on the farm track between the A47 and the Wansford to Kings Cliffe road, just off the A47, on the left hand side.