On Sunday, 18th March, the Working Horse Trust (WHT) will be holding their popular annual work day in the award-winning 62-acre Wilderness Wood in East Sussex. Visitors will be able to admire heavy horses hauling out wood as it was done in the days before tractors, with the opportunity to meet and photograph the gentle giants as well as learning to drive a horse around a short course.
Then back to the beautiful timber-frame Barn café for a delicious Sunday brunch, roast lunch (including organic roast chicken with cauliflower cheese, savoy cabbage and roast potatoes plus vegetarian options) or refreshing tea, coffee, cakes and ice creams.
This year’s team are Hamish, Dylan and Ellie-May. They are Ardennes horses, a stocky breed well suited to manoeuvring between trees. They are popular for woodland work as they are strong, compact and sure footed – much more nimble than the average bloke in a tractor! They will be pulling coppiced poles of sweet chestnut and birch out of the woodland so they can be conveniently collected with the tractor and trailer.
While the horses take breaks from their work, visitors will be able to get up close and make friends with the horses (and take photos of course), and learn from the WHT volunteers about the horses and the work of the Trust. And for the first time visitors will also be able to try their hand at driving a horse around a short course.
Wilderness Wood Director and green living expert Joanna Yarrow said: “We know spring is just round the corner when the horses come to work each year. We’ve got loads of wood that needs taking back to the yard to be made into poles, fencing, trellises and furniture, but tractors can really churn up the ground and damage the bluebells. So the nimble-footed horses are perfect for the job!”
Visitors can also enjoy an early spring walk through the woods, with catkins, birdsong and bursting buds and let off steam in the woodland adventure playground.
Wilderness Wood is open from 10.00 to 5.30 and the horses will be working from 11.00 to 4.00 on Sunday 18th March.
Entrance charges for the day will be £5.70 for adults, £4.90 for concessions and £3.60 for children. Prices include admission to all the facilities of Wilderness Wood (including nature trails, adventure playground and Barn café) and a donation to the WHT.
Wilderness Wood is on the A272 in Hadlow Down village, between Uckfield and Mayfield.
For more information: www.wildernesswood.co.uk / firstname.lastname@example.org / 01825 830 509
Published 14th March 2012
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