The mighty Ardennes

Yesterday we were out filming in the Brecon Beacons again.  We stopped for a snack at one of the Forestry Commission picnic areas. Yes I know it’s meant to be called Natural Resources Wales, but I’m working on the assumption that it will change it’s name soon to something more appropriate to looking after the environment rather than exploiting it!  Anyway, up in the mature larch trees there were large flocks of small passerines.  There were siskin, redpoll, goldfinch, chaffinch, brambling and other species calling and feeding away up amongst the cones.  But we weren’t there to film that, we were heading towards Myddfai where a beautiful woodland is being carefully managed for sustainable hardwood production.

Part of working the woodland necessitates protecting the fragile soil structure and do to that sometimes it is better to use horses than tractors.  This fantastic looking animal is an Ardennes or Ardennais, one of the oldest breeds of draft horse.  They originate from the Ardennes area in Belgium, Luxembourg and France. They are heavy-boned with thick legs and are used for draft work such as extracting trees from woodland.

It was one of those non wildlife cameraman days, but the whole crew agreed that it was something special to watch horse and owner at work in such tight partnership.  The sequence will be on BBC One sometime early next year.