Natural England uplands staff recently took part in an industry-led free grouse moor training day at Snilesworth Estate on the North York Moors (02 August).
The event hosted by the National Gamekeepers Organisation aims to help improve land management and enhance local wildlife.
The day gave new Natural England upland staff an insight into the day-to-day management of a driven grouse moor to better equip them with the skills and understanding to work together with land managers, farmers and gamekeepers on the restoration of upland habitats. Organised by John Clarke from the National Gamekeepers’ Organisation and Simon Lovel from Natural England, the training was delivered by Snilesworth Estate head keeper, Jimmy Shuttlewood and his team. Natural England is now considering organising a future training day for hill farming later in the year.
The training looked at grouse moor management from an industry perspective, focusing on the life cycle of grouse, habitat management, predator control, medicated grit, which activities take place at different times of year, considerations keepers make in the siting of grouse butts and other infrastructure, and what happens on a typical shoot day.
Natural England uplands policy advisor Simon Lovel said:
Conservation is ultimately about people and by increasing our understanding of those who manage the land, the easier it is to find genuine shared outcomes that can be delivered utilising the local knowledge and traditional skills of the practitioners on the ground. We are planning upland ecology training for gamekeepers and farmers later in the year.
John Clarke from the National Gamekeepers Organisation added:
This has been a fantastic step towards working together in the future.
Those attending had a greater understanding of how driven grouse moors are managed and the associated range of environmental benefits, including the restoration of upland habitats.
Going forward, Natural England staff, gamekeepers, farmers and land managers will be able to work better together to achieve healthy and resilient upland ecosystems, that will support thriving local communities off the back of sustainable land uses.
Natural England’s Chairman, Andrew Sells, recently spoke at the Game Fair and highlighted the benefits for conservation of moorland from partnership working.
We are also seeing more estates coming into partnership agreements with Natural England, voluntarily finding ways to enhance the environment. These deepening relationships will be vital in joining up prime wildlife sites and achieving goals of the 25 Year Environment Plan.