Horse power provides a natural show of strength
Horse power of an entirely natural kind is being used to sensitively manage woodland on Dartmoor.
Hembury Woods, near Buckfastleigh, is ancient semi-natural woodland and designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Special Area of Conservation and work needs to be carried out with the minimum impact.
However, a dense plantation of beech is shading out all the undergrowth except the native bluebells which flower in the late spring before the trees are in leaf.
Thinning the beech improves the biodiversity of the undergrowth and releases a number of big oak trees into the light.
Mick Jones, the National Trust's head ranger for Dartmoor, has called in horses to carry out the work instead of modern day machinery, despite the additional costs.
Will Hampton, who runs Dartmoor Horse Loggers based in South Devon, is carrying out the work using his Ardennes horse William to retrieve the timber from the woodland.
"Using a horse rather than heavy machinery is a much better option for us as we want to keep damage to the ground cover to a minimum," Mr Jones said.
"Hembury is an important area for our native bluebells and we don't want to damage them.
"In the short term the area will not look great but, in time, we will enhance its long-term conservation value."