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Who’s Who

Robert Benson

Robert Benson

Chairman – Cumbria and Lancashire regional representative

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Sporting tenant of a small moor, Robert also represents Lonsdale and Lowther Estates on their moors in Cumbria and helps manage a large upland Scottish estate in Peebleshire/ Selkirkshire.

He has considerable experience of sporting interests on commons and a variety of agri-environment schemes. A sporting agent, often hosting grouse let days, Robert is also present on most shoot days at Wemmergill.

With 40 years of sporting and moorland management experience, Robert has a strong understanding of key issues and Government agendas. These cover peatland restoration, climate change, burning, water quality, access, predator control, the huge benefits to biodiversity and socio-economics and the need for sustainable moorland management.

He is a board member of the Heather Trust, represents landowners on Cumbrian Commoners Federation and chairs the North Lakes Red Deer and Penrith Red Squirrel Groups.

A founder MA committee member and the Cumbrian regional representative since 1986, Robert became chairman of the Moorland Association in November 2012.

He says: “I am passionate about moorland management as a sustainable model for the future of our uplands – with driven grouse shooting as the lynchpin.”

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Amanda Anderson

Director

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Amanda Anderson is Moorland Association’s first director, appointed in January, 2014, after spending 14 years looking after the organisation’s communications through her own public relations company.

The directorship reflected ballooning interest in moorland and peatlands, through national and international wildlife and habitat designations, food security, climate change mitigation, flooding, water quality and supply.

Amanda helps steer MA’s ambitious aims of regenerating a further 250,000 acres of heather moorland, boosting populations of important birds, animals and plants. She sees communications as a pivotal part of her work, which includes liaising with Government and key national bodies.

With a master’s degree in aquaculture, honours’ degree in zoology, plus a further degree in post-16 education, her 15-year entrepreneurial career involved land-based marketing and communications, working with leading countryside agencies, companies and estates.

The public face of the organisation, Amanda regularly features in the media, promoting Moorland Association and its extensive work.

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George Winn-Daley

North York Moors

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A chartered surveyor and agricultural valuer, George inherited Spaunton Moor in 1986. He worked for a broad range of moor owners and sporting tenants while employed by Ingham & Yorke and Lowther Scott Harden – latterly Clark Scott Harden – and has had his own practice since 1997.

George has served on the MA committee since 1995 and has represented the association on North York Moors National Park Authority groups, including the Primary Land Users Group (PLUG), Fire Liaison Panel and Local Access Forum, which he chaired for six years.

Nationally, he has led MA’s bracken and wildfire interests through the Bracken Control Group and the England & Wales Wildfire Forum. He sat on Defra’s Best Practice Burning Group, attending numerous meetings since 2002. George is also on the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust’s Upland Research Steering Committee and was MA’s vice chairman.

He has also been chairman and vice chairman of CLA’s Yorkshire branch and was elected to the London Policy Committee for five years. George is currently trustee/director of Yorkshire Esk Rivers Trust and Ryedale Folk Museum and a council member of the North York Moors Association.

He says: “I passionately believe that the proper implementation of integrated moorland management is the most successful conservation project in the world and I am dedicated to helping MA get that widely understood and accepted, while continuing to work to resolve ongoing challenges.”

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Simon Gurney

Peak District

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A self-employed land agent, practising largely in the Peak District, Simon’s work is dominated by moorland management and environmental schemes.

Born on a remote hill farm above Grassington in 1960, he is a dedicated supporter of hills, moors and the beneficial impact of good moorland management.

Following formal education at Cirencester, he spent four years in Wales, gaining RICS and agricultural valuers’ qualifications before returning to Yorkshire in 1988.

He attended his first MA meeting at Bolton Abbey in 1989 and has been to practically every one since. Simon is a life member of the Heather Trust and subscribes to the CLA and GWCT.

A past Secretary of State appointed member of the Peak District National Park, Simon held office on the former Peak Park Moorland Owners and Tenants Association.

He has widespread practical experience of the many moorland issues, including moorland tracks, burning, bracken control, public access, restoration, water quality and predator control.

Adrian Thornton-Berry

Yorkshire Dales

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Adrian is based in Wensleydale, on a family estate in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. He also leases a small moor. As a chartered surveyor, he has worked on predominately upland estates since 1988. Farmoor Services, where Adrian is a partner, is responsible for a number of grouse moors.

His extensive experience includes Moorland Stewardship Agreements, heather seeding, restoration and reclamation from forestry, sustainable tracks, hen harrier licensing and feeding, black grouse regeneration including woodland work, louping ill and tick management. He has had effective dealings with Natural England, English Nature and Yorkshire Dales National Park.

Adrian represents MA on the Yorkshire Dales National Park Management Plan Group, Yorkshire Peat Partnership, North Yorkshire Wildfire Group, which he chairs, and Defra Blanket Bog Project Steering Committee.

He also helps with a sporting agency based in North Yorkshire, specialising in grouse shooting throughout Yorkshire and immediate areas.

He says: “I would like to ensure economically sustainable driven grouse shooting thrives for next 25 years.”

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James Scott-Harden

North Pennines East

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Involved in the day to day management of Newbiggin Estate on the Durham border, James has experience in all aspects of moorland management with grouse shooting being the key driver. His expertise spans agri-environment schemes, habitat management, bracken control, planning applications and the hosting and running of shoot days.

James has served on the MA committee for well over a decade and represents the association’s interests on the board of the Northern Upland Chain LNP, North Pennines AONB, Peatland Programme Advisory Group and Northumberland Wildfire Group.

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Sebastian Green

North Pennines West

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Sebastian was brought up in rural southern Ireland before attending the Royal Agricultural College in Cirencester, where he studied rural estate management.

A career land agent, he now runs his own land agency practice, Gloucestershire-based Greens Chartered Surveyors. Specialising in sporting estates, he looks after some of the most prolific grouse moors in country. He is passionate about the uplands and conservation and particularly proud of Weardale Estate for winning the prestigious 2012 Purdy Award for Game and Conservation for the restoration of heather moorland from former forestry ground.

Sebastian is a director of several of his clients’ estate companies and is an active supporter of the Moorland Association.

Ben Ramsden

Nidderdale

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Ben has a life-long association with the family estate in Nidderdale, and is almost fanatical about the dale, its heather moorland and its people.

From a business background, Ben works hard to seek opportunities to collaborate with all of the stakeholders in the uplands, be they country sports, the farmers, government bodies, utility companies or research institutes.

Drawn to the Moorland Association by its leading work at the national level, Ben is working to build local, ground-up initiatives demonstrating the benefits, to all, of grouse shooting and the moors, particularly the work undertaken by keepers in maintaining the quality of bio-diversity and rich uplands.

Ben works in collaboration with Yorkshire Water, the local Wildlife Trust, Natural England and the Nidderdale AONB and was instrumental in establishing the Nidderdale Moorland Group. He is the local representative for the Moorland Association, joining the board in 2016.

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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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