Horse logging is the extraction of timber using horses as ‘base machine’ with a wide range of traditional and modern implements. Horse loggers work through the whole range of timber produced in British woodlands; from small coppice poles and firewood, through thinnings in soft and hard woods up to final crop – large saw logs in soft and hard woods.
Horse loggers are currently employed throughout Britain. They work on private estates, in our state forests, for the woodland and wildlife trusts, for our statutory agencies, national and local bodies and authorities, voluntary groups and for private owners of large and small woodlands. There are successful horse logging contractors working throughout Scotland, England and Wales.
Horse logging has considerable benefits. It is the ultimate low impact extraction system and is especially effective in sensitive woodlands. Horse logging allows for a highly selective sylvicultural management of our woodlands resulting in a high quality of woodland management and woodland care. Horses can extract timber effectively and safely through standing timber without causing any damage to the standing crop, compacting the soil, or causing damage or disturbance to the flora and fauna.
Horse logging can appear to be expensive, superficially. It is highly skilled and complex work and demands a premium. When the quality of the work is taken into account along with the low impact, the lower reliance upon expensive infrastructure, such as stoned roads, and the lack of costly reparation, the cost equation evens out.
Horse logging is not an outdated and outmoded relic of a previous age. It is a vibrant and continuous tradition that has an important niche in contemporary forestry and does not threaten or challenge more conventional systems, seeking rather to complement and enhance those systems.
Horse loggers perform other important services in forestry. Controlling bracken, brambles and other invasive weeds, scarifying to encourage natural regeneration, moving fencing materials, tools and equipment as well as working in establishment.
The BHL have a range of Members offering Horse Logging services. Firstly our Professional Register gives access to BHL Committee approved contractors. Their application to the committee must be supported by a detailed portfolio of evidence including proof of current and adequate insurance, emergency planning, the completion of a competent contractor questionnaire and references for work completed.
The standard demanded is high. Those accepted have a proven track record over a period of years. This means that those on the Professional Register have demonstrated their ability to work to the highest professional standards and their work is recommended by the British Horse Loggers.
Secondly we have Working Members who are available for work but who have not applied or been accepted as members of the Professional Register and landowners using this list must make their own judgement as to the ability and experience of those listed.
Those accepted onto the BHL Approved Contractors Register have a proven track record over a period of years. This means that those listed below have demonstrated their ability to work to the highest professional standards and their work is recommended by the British Horse Loggers.