Powys Forest Horses: sustainable woodland management
We are a small business based in Powys which specialises in using horses for forestry and land management. With over 30 years of experience in woodland and landscape management, we aim to work closely with our clients to help them preserve and get the most from their woods.
Why use horses in forestry?
While appropriate in many cases, forestry vehicles can cause enormous amounts of damage to woodlands. Our aim is to help those who wish to avoid this by using real horse power to shift your wood and timber, leaving the woodland floor largely undisturbed.
See us at work on YouTube:
photos courtesy of Linda Johnstone
Why manage your woodland?
To maintain their wildlife value, woodlands need to be managed and not just left to their own devices. Well managed woods are healthy woods, with varied habitats, greater bio-diversity and a higher heritage value.
It is a sad fact that the majority of the UK's woodlands have been neglected or under-managed for decades. In many cases this has led to over-mature woodlands with a very dense canopy and a limited variety of habitats, loss of bio-diversity and tall, spindly trees - often dominated by a single species.
A sustainable approach
There are many reasons to use horses for forestry work. The biggest plus is that a horse can get to places which would be difficult for vehicles. Unless ground conditions are unusually perfect, a forestry vehicle or even a quad-bike can create extensive damage to the forest floor as soon as it leaves a surfaced track or road. Deep ruts and ground compaction are common problems and mean a long recovery time for your woodland or even the need for reinstatement. Using horses will keep the damage to an absolute minimum and enable you both keep your woodland healthy and harvest valuable resources.
Another big advantage is that horses can use footpaths or simply steer between the trees to get into the wood and take out the timber; the use of vehicles can often mean the unnecessary felling of trees just to create the access needed.
We believe in using the best of both old and new technology to work efficiently while doing the minimum damage to your wood; so, while the horse may be regarded as a traditional method of working woodlands, we combine this with modern equipment developed in Sweden, America and the UK.
While chainsaws can be the best way to fell or coppice trees, using horses to extract the timber significantly reduces the use of fossil fuels and cuts out most of the noise, pollution and damage often associated with forestry work.
In order to get the get the best results for you and your wood, and to make the best use of our horses and skills, we will work with you to identify the best options for you and your wood.
Who should be using our services?
While we are very pleased to work with anyone interested in our services, those who want to use horses for forestry and land management often have a particular interest in: sustainability, nature conservation and supporting rural heritage activities. These include, large land-owning trusts and charities, small woodland owners, local authorities and nature conservation organisations.
However, private estates, water authorities and other private and public organisations are increasingly finding that forest horses can provide the kind of sensitive and sustainable service that they need.