A heavy-weight with a difference set to visit Dove Stone this half-term
There’s plenty of work to be done at Dove Stone this October half-term and luckily, the RSPB will have a helping hand from a very special visitor – a heavy horse named Big Lad.
Thanks to the RSPB teaming up with Green Estate from Sheffield and welcoming their 10-year-old Clydesdale horse to help out on site, visitors can enjoy watching a heavy horse in action as part of a woodland demonstration day on Friday 30 October between 11 am-3 pm.
Visitors will be able to see the wardens and volunteers working in the woods near Ashway Gap, before watching Big Lad drag some of the timber up to the main path, where it will be removed and used for products such as fencing and benches. There will also be the chance for children to help to lead Big Lad along the main path at various times during the day for a £5 donation, alongside family-friendly activities to enjoy at Ashway Gap.
RSPB Visitor Experience Manager at Dove Stone, Miriam Biran, said: “This should be a really exciting day and a great opportunity to see traditional methods of woodland management in practice. Big Lad will be removing timber from an area which is difficult to access with a machine, so it’s wonderful to have his help and at around 6 feet tall, Big Lad will also be an impressive sight to see!
“The plantation that we are working on was planted some 30 years ago by United Utilities and has now reached maturity. Some of the conifers are being left in place, but the rest will be replaced with trees like oak, birch and rowan, to create a natural mixed woodland that will not only provide a wonderful home for nature, but a fantastic place for visitors to walk through.”
Miriam added: “We are excited to have this chance to work alongside Green Estate, a not for profit social enterprise who are working with communities to improve the environment in the Manor and Castle wards of Sheffield. We hope our visitors really enjoy the day, and especially seeing a heavy horse at work.”
Brett Nuttall, from Green Estate, said: “Big Lad really enjoys his work and is very friendly, so we are all looking forward to helping the RSPB team at Dove Stone. Showing people how things were done in the past is becoming more important. It’s about keeping traditional skills alive, carrying out positive actions combined with seeing a working horse in the middle of the countryside is always inspiring and, importantly for the environment, has very little impact. We hope as many people as possible come and say hello to Big Lad – he is a fantastic horse and we are very proud of him.”
Big Lad will be at Dove Stone between 11 am-3 pm.
Dove Stone reservoir is owned by United Utilities and the water company works in partnership with the RSPB, who manage the estate. The partnership aims to encourage public access and recreation, while protecting water quality and wildlife for future generations.