Traditional Parkland Management at Croft Castle

Man using black horse to flatten the bracken

Here at Croft we’re working hard to maintain the ancient woodland and keep it as both a sustainable habitat and a special place for everyone to enjoy.

Up in the wood pasture, on Croft  Ambrey the Iron Age hill fort and on Bircher Common, we have lots of bracken that needs controlling or no other species of grass or flowers can survive. Controlling this in turn creates more bio-diversity for insects and bird life. Each and every one of these species are crucial to protect and so to ensure that we can both control the ever growing habitat and maintain the healthy lifestyle of its wildlife, we have adopted a more traditional approach.

Man in woods rollingdown the bracken with horse

This year Jason Wood, our head ranger, has employed a horse man by the name of Crunchie and his 2 mares to roll the bracken for us. This is a great environmental way of controlling bracken by the horses towing a large roller that crushes the stem in many places, by doing this the bracken releases cyanide to protect itself from further damage. As the bracken is crushed multiple times along its stem its releases lots of cyanide and basically poisons itself, which results in stunted growth the following year. This is an ongoing process and we expect Crunchie will be coming back for at least 5-10 years before the bracken is eradicated.

Man using horse to flatten Bracken in a over grown field

This process supports everything that the trust encourages with the use of environmental, conservation friendly and long term methods. What has already been achieved looks extremely effective and exciting and we are looking forward to seeing the future results, so roll on Crunchie and keep up the great work.