VIDEO: Doncaster nature reserve calls in help of forest horse

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A forest horse has been called in to do some of the heavy lifting on a project for Yorkshire Wildlife Trust in Doncaster this week.

The horse is visiting Potteric Carr Nature Reserve, the Trust’s flagship site, today (Thursday) with owner Peter Coates, also known as the Airedale Woodman, to move five heavy wooden beams, which will be used to build a bridge crossing part of the site.

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Education Officer at Potteric Carr, Kat Woolley, who is leading the project, said: “Using a special horse to install the support beams of the bridge is not only great to watch, but also better for conservation, which is our primary concern on site, as the horse will cause much less damage to the nature reserve.

“I can’t wait to work with Peter and his horse later in the week!”

Horses are great in sensitive areas, creating much less damage than conventional machinery that would alternatively be called in to do the job. They are able to cope with steep ground if necessary and standing trees, picking their way around them with ease. It is hoped that Airedale Woodman and his horse will be able to move around the materials required for the bridge build with as little impact as possible, ready for construction.

Potteric Carr Nature Reserve is dissected by both railway lines and drains, including the Mother Drain, which is one of the main drainage channels linked to the River Torne. As a popular visitor attraction the trails around the site have to cross these obstacles at certain points to allow access across the nature reserve. The new bridge will replace an existing one that has fallen into a state of disrepair and help to link a new family-friendly area Yorkshire Wildlife Trust is creating on site to be known as the Discovery Zone.

Potteric Carr Nature Reserve.

Potteric Carr Nature Reserve.

The Discovery Zone has been under construction over the past few months, with the help of many volunteers lending their time and abilities to tasks ranging from path building to clearing vegetation, which was crowding out ground flora under the trees in this woodland area. Wooden sculptures with a wildlife theme have been commissioned so that children may delight in finding them along the way, allowing them to discover some of the wildlife using the site, even if they don’t come across them in the flesh. Funded by The Veolia Environmental Trust through the Landfill Communities Fund, part of the Discovery Zone is already open to the public, although there is still work to be done including the bridge replacement and extending the path further into the site.

Potteric Carr Nature Reserve is open 7 days a week and entry is free to Wildlife Trust members. To find out more about the site and visiting please visit Potteric Carr