12th August 2017
The Glorious 12th signalled the start of the grouse shooting season today and Middlesmoor in Yorkshire’s Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty resounded to the sound of the first shots fired.
A six-strong shooting party from Suffolk were on Lofthouse Moor to bag an early brace. The shooting party also stopped in at the ‘shooting box’ on the moor where the first freshly shot grouse of the day was plucked and cooked up on a hot grill.
Ben Ramsden, Moorland Association member and owner of Lotfhouse Moor said: “Today is a great opportunity to show a wider audience what grouse shooting is all about and hopefully dispel a few of the myths that surround the subject. I passionately believe that grouse shooting produces substantial benefits, not only to unique upland wildlife and the environment, but also to the local economy where it is a much-needed shot in the arm for remote rural businesses.”
Peter Woolley, shooting party leader said: “Today offers a great opportunity to explore the beautiful dales, work my dogs in this unique habitat, appreciate the diversity of ecology and most importantly enjoy a sociable day out with friends.”
Caroline and Malcolm Whitaker, owners of The Crown Hotel in Middlesmoor, which is playing host to shooting parties this season, said: “Each year from August onwards, we welcome many grouse shooting parties which accounts for a significant proportion of our annual revenue. Being a destination place we very much rely on sporting parties, for both grouse and pheasant.
“We are very fortunate to have such beautiful countryside on our doorstep managed for red grouse and it is great to see so many people from home and abroad attracted to this part of the country. We get a lot of repeat business as a result of grouse and pheasant shooting with all visitors enjoying a warm welcome.”
Lofthouse Moor is one of 11 grouse moors in the Nidderdale Moorland Group; an organisation dedicated to promoting the positive benefits of moorland management and conservation.
Nine estates recently surveyed by the Nidderdale Moorland Group show that they alone will be hosting 150 driven shoot days throughout the four-month season with many more expected to run on other estates across the North of England.
It is estimated this will result in nearly 1000 overnight stays in Nidderdale hotels and the shoot days will directly contribute more than £100,000 to local hotels, restaurants and pubs throughout the season.
The survey also revealed that each grouse moor will employ around 35 people per shoot day, including local youngsters. Throughout the forthcoming season, an estimated 5,000 workdays of additional employment will be provided for those assisting on shoot days, including beaters, flankers, loaders, pickers-up and caterers.
The Nidderdale grouse moors are also at the heart of conservation work including preserving heather moorland and peatland restoration under the Moorland Association banner.