Gun and shot grouse on a butt. Credit D. Mason
Red listed Ring Ouzel
Grouse moor managers work with bird enthusiasts to step-up predator control around ring ouzel nests to boost survival.
Nightjar with young
Vulnerable to predators, this chick has a three times better chance of fledging on a grouse moor than on moorland with no keepers.
Merlin chick. Credit Steve Round
Merlin chick being ringed. Merlin are four times more likely to nest on moors with grouse moor keepers than moorland without keepers.
Merlin breeding records have doubled on moors managed for red grouse, but half halved elsewhere.
Adult Merlin Portrait
Black grouse lekking
Lapwing Chicks and Egg
A hen harrier nest
Hen Harrier chick
A grouse chick; tiny and vulnerable to cold, wet and predators in the breeding season.
Grouse chicks feed on insects for the first 10 – 14 days of their life before moving on to the adult diet of fresh heather tips.
To help grind up and release the nutrients from the tough heather that grouse feed on, they ingest grit. A wormer can be added to the grit to treat parasites.
Grouse moors support important populations of breeding Golden Plover. This one has chosen to nest in a recently burnt patch of heather.
Red grouse are totally wild and fly at upto 80 mph.
Female Hen Harrier over a grouse moor
Before the grouse can be harvested, the grouse population is counted using highly trained dogs to flush the birds. This helps determin how many shooting days there should be.
Grouse shooting in August. North York Moors
Female curlew and chick in heather. Curlew are more than three times more likely to fledge their chicks on moors where there is predator control.
A red grouse in winter. Credit David Mason.
A red grouse on a recently burnt patch of heather. Credit Nick Unwin
A calling curlew in flight. Credit Nick Unwin.
Two lekking black cock. 96% of Black Grouse in England are found adjacent to moors managed for red grouse thanks to habitat creation and predator control.
A female Hen Harrer feeds her chicks with a fresh kill. Many nests of harrier chicks in one area can have a big impact on the prey species such as curlew, lapwing and red grouse.
A red grouse takes flight.
A male red grouse. Credit Neville Turner.
Red grouse portrait. Credit Neville Turner
Grouse shooting in the North Pennines.
Often rare, nightjar favour the feathered edges where native woodland meets heather moorland.
Four times more breeding records for merlin on moors managed for red grouse
Hatching in late May/early June, fully fledged grouse are on the wing by mid August
Lapwings are in steep decline nationally, but are upto five times more abundant on moors managed for red grouse
A covey of grouse in August
Grouse shooting days employ dozens of local helpers throughout the season.
Stuart Maughan, Head keeper on Whitfield Estate. Credit Marie Gordon
Simon Lester lays out alternative food for breeding Hen Harriers
Moorland Association Chairman, Robert Benson, discusses moorland management with RSPB CEO, Mike Clarke
To ensure proper access to the moors without damaging underlying vegetation or hydrology, Natural England, Moorland Association and North Pennines AONB Partnership are conducting a floating track trial.
One of the fledged Hen Harrier chicks from Bowland’s grouse moors in 2014 held by grouse moor shooting tenant, Phil Gunning.
Slowing the flow, reducing erosion of peat and introducing Sphagnum moss has improved water quality on this water catchment site also managed for grouse and sheep grazing.
James Scott-Harden. Moorland Association Regional Representative for North Pennines East.
Adrian Thornton-Berry. Moorland Association Regional Representative for Yorkshire Dales and Nidderdale
Traditional sunken grouse butts blend in to the lansdscape.
Moorland gamekeepers help train firefighters to tackle wildfires which are on the increase.
Falconry clubs and enthusiasts both manage heather moorland and visit it to pursue their sport.
Bee Keeper and Grouse Keeper. Heather honey and grouse are wonderful food products from the heather moors.
Bay Rescue volunteers lend a helping hand and resources in Lancashire for wildfire training.
Springer spaniels used to pick up shot birds on a grouse shooting day.
The beaters set off.
Moorland Associaton Chairman and Cumbria Representative on Shap Moor
Traditional countrysdie skills kept alive.
Local birdwatchers enjoy wildlife found on grouse moors
Hefted Swaledale are the most numerous sheep on moorland managed for red grouse
Farming and grouse moor management in the uplands keep traditional skills alive
Grouse shoot beaters and dogs on Danby Moor - please credit Brian Sweeney
Yorkshire Dales in the snow
Skylanterns are a wildfire disaster waiting to happen on moorland.
Moorhouse NNR floating mesh track trial
Gully blocking and bare peat revegetation may slow the run off from the hills by up to 7% – or 20 minutes.
Northumberland heather moorland
Heather in bloom close up
An English pointer flushes a covey of grouse during counting before the season starts.
Every inch of grouse moors in England are Open Access and enjoyed by all.
Bare peat releases carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. Reprofiling the edge and re-vegetating the surface reduces erosion by wind and rain.
Grouse moor managers are at the forefront of many peatland restoration programmes e.g. mending damage from an historical wildfire.
Trained gun dogs are essential for finding fallen birds in the heather on a shooting day.
Cotton grass occurs on wetter moors where it can be part of peat formation. Its seed heads in February/March are full of protein and give a boost to sheep and grouse at a tough time of year.
‘Heather moorland’ is in fact made up of many different types of plant depending on the conditions.
Government agricultural policy in the 1950 – 60s insentivised moorland drainage. Grouse moor managers have been blocking them up again for over a decade re-creating wet conditons and restoring the peat.
Bare peat erosion caused by a gull colony in Bowland.
Mapreading on Barden Fell, Yorkshire Dales. Credit YDNPA (Mark Butler)
Grazing pressure on the left of the fence has denuded it of heather – a priority habitat that The Moorland Association seeks to safeguard.
Grouse moor management helps maintain some of our most beautiful countryside
Grouse moor managers control bracken keeping it off the open moor.
Ticks can carry Lyme and other diseases.
A Swaledale ewe.
Heather moorland distribution in the UK
Brandy whole roast grouse
Stuffed grouse breast
Sliced grouse breast
Moorland Associtaion logo
Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service have invested in off-road fire fighting kit to tackle moorland wildfires.
Multi-service wildfire training on a Lancashire grouse moor.
Most grouse moor estates have a fire fogging unit to keep managed burns ‘cool’ and under control and help fight wildfires.
All grouse moor managers are encouraged to follow guidance on due diligence for wildlife law.
Sympatheticly designed and well sited tracks are essential for accessing the moor without damaging the ecology and hydrology for farmers, walkers, shoot day participants and the emergency services.
Springer Spaniel ready for work.
With the increased risk of wildfires on inaccessible moorland, Fire and Rescue services are having to invest in off-road fire fighting vehicles.
A sheep that failed to outrun a wildfire on the moor. Wildfires are devestating to wildlife and livestock.
The Moorland Association supports University of York/Defra research in to best practice moorland management and peatland restoration.
Re-wetting and reducing grazing pressure on some moors has resulted in poisonous Bog Asphodel (yellow flower) appearing and killing sheep and lambs.
Although brand new, this stone sunken grouse butt blends in with the surrounding moorland.
Bay Rescue’s ‘go anywhere’ vehicle is used as a vital link in Lancashire’s combined resources for wildfire fighting.
Airlifting materials to re-vegetate bare peat in the Peak District.
Labrador gun dogs ready for work.
A mixed team of Labradors waiting for the day’s events
Controlling the invasion of bracken on the open moor is a big, expensive and long term job.
A 4×4 fire engine developed to tackle increasing wildfires on the moors, especially so where there is no management of the vegetation by gamekeepers.
Pointers are used to 'count grouse' before the season starts
Yorks peat project extensive grip blocking stags fell. Credit Robert Goodison Natural England
Yorks peat project gully blocks and reprofile above grimwith. Credit Robert Goodison, Natural England
Yorks peat project brash spreading on bare peat above grimwith. Credit Robert Goodison Natural England.