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Half Term at Gibson Mill

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

The National Trust’s Hardcastle Crags and Gibson Mill team are preparing for a fun-filled half-term week.

Every day, starting from Saturday 16 until Friday 22 February, a child-friendly activity will be taking place at Gibson Mill. There will also be a special opportunity to see trained horse logger Peter Coates and his trusty Clydesdale, Nathan hard at work.

Hardcastle Crags

Woodland Friends takes place Saturday 16 – Sunday 17, 11am – 3pm, and follows the 'I-Spy' picture trail along the estate track and then it’s back to the nature room for a free activity. Starting on Monday 18, every day at 12 – 3pm, Woodland Creatures encourages children to let their imagination run wild and make their very own pet or puppet.

Sara Parsons, learning and access officer, said: “The school holidays are really popular at the Mill so we always try to host activities that will entertain the children while providing an educational element.”

Those who choose to visit on Tuesday 19 February can witness Peter and his Clydesdale horse, Nathan, helping staff and volunteers move the heavy timber around the site to continue the necessary woodland improvements at the estate.

Nabil Abbas, countryside manager of Hardcastle Crags, said: “Peter and Nathan recently helped us at Hardcastle Crags, with Nathan’s horse power we are able to extract logs from steep areas where heavy machinery cannot go, and Nathan doesn’t leave any damaging tyre tracks.”

The Trust has continued with its woodland plan to fell non-native trees and the thinning of larch and pine plantations. This helps species like the Northern Hairy Wood Ant, by allowing them to build new nests. As a protected species, the Northern Hairy Wood Ant can benefit greatly from felling. According to many experts the density of the oak, birch and pine woods is affecting the species' ability to collect sap, felling the necessary trees at Hardcastle Crags will help the ants with this process. It also provides open areas for bats to forage for food and encourages woodland birds by creating better nesting habitats.

For more information please ring 01422 844518 or e-mail