Horses help on Butterfly Reserve

Pony dragging small tree trunk, with man behind him; the ground is very muddy
Pony dragging felled tree trunks. Photo: Martin Warren

Our Alners Gorse Butterfly Reserve had a lot of conifers on it when we acquired the land in 2005.We took out the majority of them in the first few years, and the last remaining trees have now grown to a great height and the time has come for them to be removed. Clearing them will create a mosaic of clearings in the blocks of scrub that we hope will enhance the Nightingale habitat on the reserve.

The photo shows Toby Hoad, from the Greenwood Workshop in Purbeck, using his Comtois forestry horse at Alners Gorse to extract the felled Norway spruces from amongst the willow, blackthorn and oak scrub. This was in January 2018 – the muddy season in North Dorset!

The Comtois is a breed from the Jura area of eastern France, particularly famous as a cavalry and artillery horse. Toby uses his two Comtois for forestry work in Dorset and for contracts elsewhere in the UK.


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