TRADITIONAL horsepower is winning the battle against invading bracken at a North-East beauty spot.

Chris Wadsworth and Mark Turnbull, from the British Horse Loggers Association, have been working to improve the natural heathland habitat on the shores of the Derwent Reservoir.

The area is managed by Durham Wildlife Trust’s Heart of Durham Project, working in partnership with Northumbrian Water.

The Pow Hill site supports a range of plants, reptiles, birds, mammals and invertebrates, as well as diverse heathland plants.

However, the inundation of bracken over many years had become a problem, shading out the flora.

Using a horse-drawn metal roller, the bracken is bruised which weakens the plants.

Anne Porter, Heart of Durham Project Officer, said: “It takes four days to roll the whole site as Pow Hill Heath has many gradients and slopes but the heavy horses are well adapted to this kind of terrain, and it is a cost effective, efficient and environmentally-friendly way to manage the growth of bracken”.

She added: “We are really pleased with the results and will continue to use this method in subsequent years, whilst monitoring the growth and condition of the heathland flora such as bilbury, heather and other plants.”