Archive for the ‘Minnowburn’ Category

Horses for courses

February 11, 2011

Jutland draft horse Samson at Minnowburn. ©National Trust

The use of heavy machinery in areas of woodland can disturb the drainage, compact the soil and cause damage to flora and trees. There is an increasing trend to use horses to provide a traditional, gentle and green way of moving logs.

Stone bridge at Minnowburn. ©NTPL/Rod Edwards

Horse logging has now returned to Northern Ireland as well, where the National Trust has reintroduced the practice at Minnowburn, in the Lagan Valley south of Belfast.

Noel Donaghy working with Samson. ©National Trust

Noel Donaghy of the family-run Total Tree Care Company had recently imported a pair of Jutland horses from Denmark, called Samson and Goliath. The National Trust Belfast team were keen to be the first to use them. The horses are driven with reins and voice control, and are used to draw thinned larch logs to the roadside.

Countryfile presenter Matt Baker with Stephen Donaghy and Samson. ©National Trust

Visitors to Minnowburn are enjoying seeing these horses do what they were bred to do. The BBC has done some filming there for its programme Countryfile, with presenter Matt Baker having a go at working with Samson – due to be broadcast on 13 February.