HORSE power has been deployed in East Dunbartonshire to help the environment during a multi-million pound water project.

Contractors working for Scottish Water have helped to improve land and promote the growth and regeneration of native vegetation on lowland heath areas, near Milngavie on a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in Mugdock Country Park.

Following a request from Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) to carry out the environmental improvement work while they were undertaking the £30 million Burncrooks water mains project nearby, the team went back to basics and used old-fashioned horse power to control bracken.

The two working heavy horses, called Tyne and Tanta, were used to clear the bracken in a more environmentally friendly and sustainable way than the alternative of using chemical sprays.

Operated by horse-logging contractor David Roycroft, the horses spent a day “bracken bashing” by pulling a roller with a serrated edge to break the stocks. This process will eventually clear the bracken and help native vegetation such as heather to grow in an area of the country park near the West Highland Way.

Sean Lavin, senior construction manager with Caledonia Water Alliance (CWA), who are delivering the Burncrooks water main project for Scottish Water, said: “Horses have a lower impact on areas such as woodland and heathland.”

The Burncrooks project will improve services to 54,000 people in parts of the Bearsden, Milngavie, Clydebank and Strathblane areas.