Horses and their role in sensitive woodland management.

Traditional Forestry Management on the Newtownabey Way 2

One of the many gems of along the Newtownabbey Way is the valley carved by the Three Mile Water.

This section of the path is dominated by coniferous forestry on both sides of the river.  While these trees have certainly served their purpose providing habitat and shelter for a variety of wildlife, they have now reached maturity and require maintenance with many of the trees showing signs of damage, decay or have been blown over in the wind.

To deal with this problem in a sensitive manner, maintenance will be carried out in a phased approach.  Phase 1 commenced in January 2013 and involves the felling of any dead or windblown trees and the removal of fallen trees.  Once felled, it is necessary that the timber is removed from site.  Horse-logging is a traditional practice of removing felled timber from a forest using horses.  Horse logging not only removes any pollution risk of using heavy machinery on a site so close to the river but also reduces the impact on the forest floor.  The horse’s hooves break-up rather than compact the ground, improving the opportunity for natural re-generation.

Watch out for this work which will be carried out throughout January and February – you will be able to see the horse in action across the river from the safety of the Newtownabbey Way via the Manse Road entrance.