Conservation at Work

Blog & News

Time to thank those who have protected some of the rarest habitat on the planet

20th March 2024

The following letter from Andrew Gilruth was sent to the Telegraph in response to an article calling for grouse shooting and farming to be banned or significantly reduced in the UK’s National Parks.


Chris Moss appears unaware that the American national parks, showcasing nature alone, are an illusion (What our national parks can learn from the rest of the world, 18 March).

At Yellowstone 2,000 soldiers evicted the native communities that had cared for this land since the beginning of time.

More recently, George Monbiot described those advocating this approach in Africa as ‘colonial conservationists’.

It is bizarre that some feel it’s time to do the same here and remove upland farmers and gamekeepers from our own national parks. These are the very people that have best protected and maintained some of the rarest habitat on the planet – open heather moorland.

The Rio Convention on Biodiversity ratified the global importance of our beautiful heather clad hills, still visited by millions every year, because they support many plant communities only found here.

Moors managed for driven grouse shooting also support a unique collection of eighteen bird species of international importance.

Rather than criticising those that have been looking after these places for generations, it is time to thank them.

Andrew Gilruth

Chief Executive

Moorland Association



Did You Know?

75% of Europe’s remaining upland heather moorland is found in the UK – 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.

Stay in Touch with Us

Sign up to our newsletter


Read our Blog and News

Media coverage round-up – July 2024 Our PR team at Media House promoted our report in June highlighting our fears of a poor breeding season for moorland birds, including hen harriers – due primarily to exceptionally we weather. This resulted in several  mainstream media outlets picking up the story including these two examples below. 5 July Barnsley Chronicle Big setback for […]

BLOG: Surveillance – why are the police bypassing regulation? Most will remember the irony of RSPB staff falling foul of the courts in order to try and catch others breaking the law – and then expressing outrage when their evidence was thrown out of court here. In short, judges felt the police could not use others to circumvent the law on covert surveillance. Is […]