Horse ploughing demonstration in Ireland aims to help promote traditional farming methods

An environmental project run by the Irish government is inviting the public to watch a demonstration of horse ploughing with Clydesdales.

The event, which takes place at the Roe Valley Country Park in Limavady in Co Derry, is part of an ongoing project at Miltoun field, which the organisers say “seeks to use traditional farming methods to encourage wildlife adversely affected by modern farming methods”.

Michael Conway, education officer at the park, said: “Ploughing with horses provides people with a chance to link with the past when the rhythm of life was slower and we were more in contact with nature.

It will make a great spectacle, hopefully in the spring sunshine.”

The demonstration is being given by Derek Espie from Cookstown, who will use his Clydesdales to prepare the field to grow two traditional crops – oats and flax. They will not be harvested but will be left to feed birds in the winter.

The project has also planted a hedge to encourage birds to nest, plus a large pond for aquatic life.

An areahas also been set aside for rare farm breeds and a meadow is being developed to encourage wild flowers to grow.

The ploughing demonstration begins as 11am and continues until 3pm on Saturday 23 March.