A heavy-weight with a difference set to visit Dovestone this half-term

Unfortunately the heavy horse event at Dovestone is cancelled as it is too wet for Big Lad to work safely. New date to be confirmed.


THERE IS plenty of work to be done at a Greenfield beauty spot this October half-term and luckily the RSPB will have a helping hand from a very special visitor…

A heavy horse named Big Lad is making a special trip to Dovestone Reservoir from Sheffield to be part of a woodland demonstration day on Friday 30 October between 11am-3pm.

p38 Big Lad working in woodland - credit Green Estates
Big Lad working in woodland (Picture thanks to Green Estates)

The RSPB has teamed up with Green Estate to organise the visit for the 10-year-old Clydesdale horse to help out on site.

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 to be 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 at Ashway Gap.

RSPB Visitor Experience Manager at Dovestone, 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 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.”

p39 Big Lad portait - credit Green Estates
Big Lad at work (Picture thanks to Green Estates)

Miriam added: “We are excited to have this chance to work alongside Green Estate, 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 Dovestone.

“Showing people how things were done in the past is becoming more important.

“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.”

Dovestone reservoir is owned by United Utilities who work in partnership with the RSPB, who manage the estate, to encourage public access while protecting water quality and wildlife.


One Reply to “A heavy-weight with a difference set to visit Dovestone this half-term”

  1. Hi
    I’ve been disturbed about the number of Canadian Geese that are missing from the mill pond in Greenfield. Also have been woken up in the night by disturbances which are distress calls from geese. I would like to know are they being culled?
    Regards Tracey.

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