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The value of grouse moor management

The Countryside Alliance and National Gamekeepers' Organisation have united to produce this guide on the value of grouse moor management.

Paradoxically, it is due to shooting that the red grouse is not on the endangered species list, and that the numbers of many of the birds which share its habitat during the breeding season are at the high levels that they are. On grouse moors, the management continues whether there is a sufficient surplus of grouse to shoot in a season, or not, and with all the factors that can adversely affect their population, there can be some years when no shooting can take place. The income from shooting is used by landowners to help offset the cost of that management, which benefits not just shooters, but also birdwatchers and all those that love to visit our heather moorlands.

Stark findings in Berwyn

In the 1990s, driven grouse shooting and habitat management stopped in the Berwyn Special Protection Area in North Wales, leading to a serious fall in bird species.

Research into changes in upland bird numbers and distribution between 1983 and 2012 revealed stark findings.

The complete loss of lapwing and serious and rapid declines of many other red listed birds were highlighted. Hen harriers dropped by 48 percent, golden plover by 90 percent, curlew by 79 percent, ring ouzel and black grouse by 78 percent and red grouse by 54 percent.

The Berwyn report demonstrates with great clarity the consequences of losing grouse shooting as a land management tool. The report shows the hugely important work of MA members in their care for 860,000 acres of heather moorland in England and Wales. Without this work, the precious land would revert to scrub and forest and the heather moors lost forever, along with the loss of many red listed birds.

Where have all the waders gone?

The tragic loss of lapwing and massive reduction of important waders such as golden plover and curlew are highlighted in a study published in the Welsh Ornithological Society’s journal Birds in Wales.

The study, which cites the loss of driven grouse shooting as being a possible reason behind the declines, together with afforestation, changes in upland farming and climate change, identifies that a reduction in vital moorland management for red grouse has been associated with changes in numbers of upland birds.


MPs targeted in myth busting mission

TWO leading conservation organisations have united to deliver a series of messages to MPs following flawed and damaging claims about grouse moors and flooding. The British Association for Shooting and Conservation and the Moorland Association have produced Briefing Note - Grouse Moors and Flooding.

Stark consequences of no shooting

The British Association for Shooting and Conservation has put together a graphic infogram showing what would happen if there was no shooting. Check out the stark contrasts in Consequences-of-non-shooting BASC infogram

The Facts of Rural Life

Charlie Pye-Smith’s new book makes the case for the need for better wildlife management.

Peatland Restoration - Landowners rising to the challenge

Poster presentation to the Upland Hydrology Conference in Leeds

Moorland Infrastructure

Natural England's guidance to land managers for applying for consent for butts, scrapes and grit stations.

Q&A on hen harrier conservation on grouse moors

Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust

Analysis of Merlin Breeding Records

Penny Anderson Associates

2008 - 2011 Breeding Merlin Distribution

Of the 10km squares containing breeding Merlin records between 1968 and 2008, around 80% of the records are now located within keepered moorland (Data source: BTO Atlas)

Waders on the Fringe

Upland Predation Experiment. Why waders thrive on grouse moors. GWCT research.

Management for red grouse and breeding wader numbers

Lapwing and golden plover are five times more abundant and curlew twice as abundant on moorland managed for red grouse compared to moors with no gamekeepers. RSPB and GWCT research

The Countryside Code

Defra publication

Code of Good Shooting Practice

Shooting is under constant and detailed scrutiny and we must demonstrate that we conduct it to high standards. The Code of Good Shooting Practice brings together those standards and makes them easily available to all who participate. It embodies fundamental respect for the quarry species, and care for the environment.

Moorland Association submission to Natural England wildfire evidence review, Nov 2016.

The Moorland Association (MA) has answered the eight questions posed by Natural England for this evidence review on wildfire and provided five case studies to illustrate what worked and what did not in mitigating wildfire damage. The MA has drawn 12 observations and conclusions to help the future protection of our precious dry heath and blanket bog from the projected increased threat from wildlife. This threat is now recognised as an urgent climate change risk to natural capital by the Committee for Climate Change Adaption sub-Committee (see page 5.)


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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Heather burning and the need for all to be on the same page The Moorland Association welcomes continuing debate about heather burning and the opportunity to present the facts and address misconceptions. An article in the Shooting Times by retired head gamekeeper Lindsay Waddell, a former chairman of the National Gamekeepers Organisation ably describes the consequences of a ban on heather burning (‘Upland Keeper’, Wednesday 15th March). However, […]

Onwards and Uplands The campaign to ensure a brighter future for England’s uplands marches on. Recently, over 80 people gathered from across the north of England at Newton Rigg College, Penrith under the banner of the Uplands Alliance. The purpose was to discuss building a future for the Northern Uplands post Brexit. The outcomes from the January meeting […]