Grouse shooting noted as positive for uplands

Backing: Moorland group's Amanda Anderson.       Picture: Guzelian
Backing: Moorland group's Amanda Anderson. Picture: Guzelian
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GROUSE MOOR management on two Yorkshire moors has been hailed in a major study of the uplands.

A national drive to care for and protect the country’s most beautiful and vulnerable high ground is highlighted in the ‘Better Outcomes for Upland Commons’ report by the Foundation for Common Land.

The study, which looked at how five upland commons are being managed, is aimed at informing improved long-term working relationships between all those with an interest in moorland environments.

A key finding of the report was that “pragmatic people are paramount to reaching multiple successful outcomes for all interested parties”, and that this was particularly demonstrated in the two case studies involving moorland management where grouse shooting is prominent - the 4,742-hectare Danby Moor Common in the North York Moors and West Arkengarthdale Moor, which extends to 3,510 hectares on the east side of the Pennines in North Yorkshire.

Executive director of the Foundation for Common Land, Julia Aglionby, said: “The report shows that managing the uplands for grouse, alongside other objectives, can be successful for all.

“It is this respect for all outcomes that makes these two case studies excellent examples for others to learn from.”

Amanda Anderson, director of the Moorland Association, said the findings showed that people valued grouse shooting and wanted it to continue.

“Key lessons from the two moors included supporting upland farmers, trust, communication and respect for people’s interest in the common,” she said.

“The Yorkshire case studies pointed to tangible gains to the economy and vital land management issues. These include predator and bracken control, well managed sheep flocks and wildlife habitats, as well as maintaining or improving the quality of the Sites of Special Scientific Interest.

“In both cases there is evidence of good numbers of the precious curlew, lapwing, golden plover and merlin species.

“Importantly, it concluded that 20-plus years of public investment in better outcomes could be rapidly lost if farming or grouse shooting declined,” Mrs Anderson said.