THERE IS plenty of work to be done at Dove Stone and luckily the RSPB will have a helping hand from a very special visitor on April Fools’ Day – a heavy horse named Big Lad.
The RSPB are teaming up with Green Estate from Sheffield to welcome their 10-year-old Clydesdale horse to help out on site.
Visitors can enjoy watching the heavy horse in action as part of a woodland demonstration day on Friday 1 April between 11 am-3 pm at the reservoir in Greenfield.
Visitors will be able to see the wardens and volunteers working in the woods near Ashway Gap, assisted by Big Lad who will be dragging heavier timber to be used as path edging, benches and to create important habitat piles for insects and wildlife.
There will also be the chance for children to meet Big Lad and help lead him at various times during the day for a £5 donation.
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 moving timber in an area which is difficult to access with a machine, so it’s wonderful to have his help. At around 6ft tall, Big Lad will also be an impressive sight to see!
“The plantation 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 Sheffield.
“This event was originally planned for October last year but had to be cancelled due to bad weather so we hope April will be finer!”
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.
“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 more importantly, has very little impact on the environment.
“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.”
Dove Stone reservoir is owned by United Utilities and the water company works in partnership with the RSPB, to encourage public access and recreation, while protecting water quality and wildlife for future generations.