Strong grouse season brings hope for trade

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A flush grouse season is predicted in Nidderdale for the coming weeks, bringing a huge boost to the local economy.

The Moorland Association has said this year’s shooting season - starting on Monday with the “glorious twelfth”, looks set be a strong one.

And, as months of hard work and moorland preparations come to a close, the association has hailed the knock-on benefits to conservation and the local economy.

“Conditions for all birds, including wild red grouse, have been much better this year in most areas,” said Adrian Thornton-Berry, of Farmoor Services in Leyburn.

“Weather blighted the two previous breeding seasons. But we are hopefully looking at a very good season for most, helping to recoup costs.”

The English grouse shooting industry brings £67m to the country’s economy, employing 1,500 people and supporting vital eco-seasons.

“With the prospects of a better season ahead, associated spin-offs will be in excess of £15 million,” said Mr Thornton-Berry. “Essential earnings in these challenging economic times.

“So many people benefit, from the food industry to hoteliers, clothing manufacturers to dry stone wallers, the list is endless.”

Simon Bostock, owner of the Dallowgill Estate, said they make every effort to support the local economy. Up to 35 people, mainly local, are employed for every day of shooting, he said, and they source all food in the area.

“Guests at our lodges, or staying at others like the Sportsmans Arms in Wath and the Yorke Arms in Ramsgill, spend money in Pateley Bridge, Ripon and Harrogate,” he said. “It does benefit the economy.”

Mr Bostock said keepers have been preparing the moorland in the build up to next week’s start, adding that he too is confident of a strong season.

“Each summer we walk the ground to count the number of grouse we see,” he said. “Then we can compare that to the number flushed out the previous season.

“We have got one more walk to do but we are predicting a good, even a very good, season at Dallowgill.”

Shooting days will be held on Moorland in Nidderdale from August 12 up until December 10, except on Sundays.

Through this time some areas are closed as a safety precaution, and walkers are asked to check the Natural England Open Access website for updates over the coming weeks.