Seeing is Believing – Led by our Patron, His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, “Seeing is Believing” is an initiative to organise working demonstrations throughout the UK to show the real benefits of working with horse in forestry.
All demonstrations are on working sites and show how horses work, what their outputs and costs are and what impact they make on the woodland.
As His Royal Highness urged in his speech in 2008, ” Perhaps we might see, here and there, a few experiments being made with horse logging in some of the woodlands that some of you manage.”
The original idea and the title, “Seeing is Believing” came from HRH The Prince of Wales when he presented the BHL Woodland Management Award in June of 2007.
England: Ladock Woods 2008
After much planning and preparation even the sun shone on us finally in Ladock Woods near Truro in Cornwall on Thursday 10 July 2008. Over 70 people attended, representing the major forestry and land management groups such as the Forestry Commission, National Trust and Woodland Trust, the major harvesting companies and many large estate owners.
Two demonstration sites were organised to show horses working with swingle trees, arches, small forwarders and a large forwarder with a loading crane. In addition, a work site was shown worked by a felling team, two Ardennes mares bunching for the forwarder and a very large Finnish forwarder with powered loading pulled by two Ardennes stallions.
A total of nine horses were on site and a good display of the range of harness and equipment used by modern horse loggers was displayed. The day culminated with speeches at the ‘camp’. The BHL was roasting a whole roebuck over a wood fire and the Duchy of Cornwall had organised amazing catering so we all felt welcomed and full!
The day was a huge success.
The BHL is deeply grateful to HRH The Prince of Wales and to all the Prince’s staff, both from the Duchy of Cornwall and from Clarence House, who helped to make this wonderful day possible. We are also grateful to our two FECTU colleagues who travelled over from Germany and Luxembourg to support us.
Work was commissioned on the day and several contacts have been made since. We hope that we will have persuaded those attending to consider horse logging when planning works in the future.
Wales: Llwynywermod 2012
Our second ‘Seeing is Believing’ event was held in HRH’s Llwynywermod Estate in Carmarthenshire on Tuesday 10 July 2012.
An intimate event held in two very typical, under-managed farm woodlands, the sites were ideal to show how careful management can lead to biodiversity benefits linked to profitable management.
Penhill Wood is a wet, mixed woodland with difficult access: a prime horse logging site. Penhill Wood was worked by the Duchy team including Megan and Mike in 2011. £3,500 of firewood was extracted and sold for a cost of £2,000. The work was able to highlight the net income linked to a buoyant firewood market and illustrated the ‘before’ and ‘after’ benefits of the previous management.
The Oak Wood was worked by Richard Eames, Kate Mobbs-Morgan and Steffi Schaffler.
The Oak Wood is a high conservation value coppice woodland. Felling had been carried out in the previous week by Ray Harris and his Duchy team ready for extraction by horse.
Cleft fencing products and firewood was produced and the longer-term management will produce timber of saw log quality as well.
Thirty or so guests from Wales were invited and there were strong expressions of interest in the role of working horses, especially in small farm woods.
Scotland: Balmoral 2013
Our third ‘Seeing is Believing’ event was held at Birkhall on the Balmoral Estate on Thursday 18 April 2012.
An intimate event held in a commercial block of conifers. Horses skidded pole length softwood poles down a steep bank to the landing.
Around 45 guests from northern Scotland were invited and there were strong expressions of interest in the role of working horses, especially in small farm woods, as well as some interest in re-training stalking ponies for horse logging.
Scotland: Dumfries House 2013
Our fourth ‘Seeing is Believing’ event was held at Dumfries House in Cumnock on Tuesday 22 October 2013.
This event emphasised the need for building rural skills, rural work and enterprise. Jointly promoting the Prince’s Trust “Get Into” schemes such as forestry, as well as horse logging and rural development in general, it was held in the Stable Block at Dumfries House and out on the farm and woodland managed by Morrison’s supermarkets in partnership with the Duchy Estates.
The horse logging event was held in a commercial block of conifers. Shortwooded timber was extracted to ride side using a two horse forwarder.
45 or so guests from Southern Scotland were invited and again there were strong expressions of interest in the role of working horses, especially in small farm woods.