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Nidderdale MP enjoys informative moorland visit

4th August 2017

Last week saw Julian Smith, MP for Skipton and Ripon, take part in an informative outing on to Middlesmoor in the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Beauty.

The MP, who is also Deputy Chief Whip in the House of Commons, was briefed by local gamekeepers and estate owners on a wide range of issues associated with the maintenance of the heather moorland and its treasured upland ecology.

Julian Smith MP said: “I enjoyed meeting these landowners and some of the people who support these businesses and manage the land. These types of estates make a valuable contribution to our local economy.”

(left to right): Stephen Ramsden (owner of Middlesmoor Estate), Roy Burrows (Head Keeper on Summerstone Estate and Chair of the Nidderdale Moorland Group), Simon Bostock (owner of Dallowgill Estate), Gary Duffus (Head Keeper on Middlesmoor Estate) and Julian Smith MP.

(left to right): Stephen Ramsden (owner of Middlesmoor Estate), Roy Burrows (Head Keeper on Summerstone Estate and Chair of the Nidderdale Moorland Group), Simon Bostock (owner of Dallowgill Estate), Gary Duffus (Head Keeper on Middlesmoor Estate) and Julian Smith MP.

In addition to discussing the multitude of environmental and socio-economic benefits attributable to grouse shooting, the keepers were happy to show Mr Smith several moorland management initiatives first hand including grip blocking, peatland restoration and native tree planting on the moor edges.

Simon Bostock, owner of Dallowgill Estate said: “Julian Smith was very good to take time out of his busy programme to visit Middlesmoor. It gave us as land managers and gamekeepers an excellent opportunity to show him what we do to preserve and enhance our valuable heather uplands and their wildlife, and to demonstrate how grouse shooting benefits the lives of those who live and work on and around the moors. We were also able to show how, in conjunction with DEFRA, Natural England and other interested parties, moorland owners are working to improve deep peat soils to better filter drinking water for free and mitigate flooding as well as combat climate change.”

Middlesmoor is one of the three sites where York University are conducting a £1m research project into the relative merits of best practice cool burning versus mowing.  The work is funded by Defra and has the backing of water companies, landowners, gamekeepers and environmental bodies. The project partners are working closely with the York researchers in an effort to find solutions which address environmental concerns while protecting water supplies, farming interests and sustainable driven grouse shooting.

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Did You Know?

75% of of the world’s remaining heather moorland is found in Britain – but this area declined alarmingly over the latter part of the last century. The Moorland Association was set up in 1986 to coordinate the efforts of moorland owners and managers to halt this loss, particularly in England and Wales.

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