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Heavy horse a “bygone” feature of managing woodland ?

Tom Wood of the National Trust recently worked with Will Hampton of Dartmoor Horse Loggers  http://www.dartmoorhorseloggers.co.uk/ to roll the bracken covering the Iron Age Hill Fort of Wooston Castle. The rhizomes of the bracken can potentially be damaging to the archaeology as they penetrate deep into the soil. We have been looking at ways of controlling the vigour and spread of the bracken without the use of herbicides and to try achieve a balance between the archaeology but also some early spring butterflies whose larval stage lives in the bracken thatch early in the year on spring violets. As always there a balance between counter objectives…..

Tom talked with Will about the site which is covered in old stumps which means machine access is very tricky so a horse it was…..if fact it turned out to be an efficient and cost effective way to roll the bracken so this will be an annual occurrence on the site from now.

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Horse power making short work of the rolling and not falling over stumps….

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Specially designed roller, the blade bruise the bracken rather than cut it, this weakens the subsequent growth in the following year.

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Will and horse in perfect harmony…….

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