Reed-beds are successional habitats, where if left unmanaged, will eventually return to scrub and woodland carr. Management of these habitats involves restoring beds to an earlier phase in its lifecycle, including opening up waterways, and removing scrub tree species. Traditionally, reed was also cut for thatching, which would maintain this habitat, and provide varied vegetation structure.
We are working our horses in managing reed beds, in areas that are less accessible to heavier machinery, extracting Willow and other invasive scrub species such as Blackthorn. As with our forestry, we maintain a philosophy of using hand tools / saws wherever possible, to reduce noise disturbance to wildlife. Where necessary, timber is extracted by the horses to a collection point, for burning, or removal on a horse-drawn flat-bed dray. Safety is paramount within these soft-ground habitats, so we carefully survey our working sites first. Our horse drawn hay-cutter is also adaptable, and able to cut reed.