Horsepower helps bring bracken under control

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHORSEPOWER was called upon to bring bracken under control and protect the historic heathland on Chailey Common Local Nature Reserve.

Horses from the Working Horse Trust in Eridge spent three days at Chailey Common helping to pull rollers through the bracken in three areas.

Jo Heading, senior ranger at East Sussex County Council, said: “It is important that we control bracken growth on Chailey Common through our Higher Level Stewardship agreement with Natural England. The plant is very invasive and, if left to grow unchecked, can block footpaths, smother other heathland plants and destroy the habitats of the diverse insect and bird communities which are an integral part of the Local Nature Reserve.

“Bracken rolling crushes the stems of the plant and weaken its growth. Not only can the horses access areas which heavy machinery cannot, the process causes less damage to the ground than if we were to cut the bracken.”

Work took place on Pound Common on Friday, August 29, on Romany Ridge on Saturday, August 30 and Memorial Common on Sunday, August 31.