Step back in time on the Newtownabbey Way

Traditional forestry management techniques such as horse-logging are being used to regenerate the woodland along the Newtownabbey Way. INNT 09-512CON Pic courtesy of the Woodland Trust
Traditional forestry management techniques such as horse-logging are being used to regenerate the woodland along the Newtownabbey Way. INNT 09-512CON Pic courtesy of the Woodland Trust
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OVER the coming weeks, traditional tree-logging using a working horse will transform a stroll along the Newtownabbey Way to a walk down Memory Lane.

Coniferous forestry dominates sections of the path, particularly at Threemilewater Conservation Park, with many of the trees showing signs of damage and decay. 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.

To deal with the problem in a sensitive manner, a phased approach to fell decayed and damaged trees over a number of years is in place, ensuring continual woodland cover on the site for now and the future. The felling of trees has already allowed light to penetrate to the woodland floor and a variety of saplings and other plant species are becoming established.

The first phase of the plan commenced earlier this year. A substantial amount of timber now requires removal from the site and the traditional method of horse-logging will be implemented. Working horses will pull the timber to a designated site while also improving the opportunity for natural regeneration through breaking up the ground with their hooves.

Lindsay Matthews, the council’s Biodiversity Officer explained: “Modern methods of removing timber require large machinery.

“Using machinery in this area could cause a number of problems including the loss of more trees, compaction of the ground and potential pollution incidents, while also causing considerable disturbance to both people and wildlife in the area.

“Over the next few weeks, make sure to watch out for the traditional horse-logging along the Newtownabbey Way and witness the amazing working animal in action.”