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Have your say: Talking about the impact of the loss of heather moorlands

We are sure that readers of this blog will not need to be made aware of the fact that there is conflict, in the uplands, between traditional grouse moor management, and those who want to remove both grouse shooting and the related management systems, and replace them with… Well ‘with what?’ remains the question. Various land uses are often put forward, from rewilding to sheep grazing or reforesting the uplands. As the recent report from the University of Northampton found when examining the sustainability of driven grouse shooting and the various alternative uses often put forward, grouse shooting delivers the most sustainable form of moorland management.

In order to conduct some more research into various proposed alternative uses, the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust are planning a series of case studies based on personal testimonies to compare existing grouse moors with alternative land uses such as sheep grazing, commercial forestry, rewilding/natural regeneration.

The GWCT would, therefore, like to hear from anyone who has seen the loss of heather moorland first hand and witnessed the environmental and economic impacts of change of use, both good and bad.

You might be a current or retired gamekeeper, estate manager, an ecologist, birdwatcher, local historian, retired school teacher or simply an interested member of the local community, who can remember the change yourself or the memories of parents or grandparents. They are looking for examples of:

  • Outstanding upland sites (driven grouse moors or otherwise) for seeing wildlife.

  • Former grouse moors that you feel are now in better condition thanks to change of land use

  • Former moors that you feel are in worse condition thanks to change of land use

  • Examples of communities impacted adversely by the loss of driven grouse shooting

  • Examples of communities that have benefitted economically from change of land use

Please contact Joe Dimbleby on if you would like to share your experiences.

The more examples we can provide for policymakers of the benefits of grouse management and the negative consequences of abandoning it, the stronger the case for it continuing. Please do spread the word and pass this message on to anyone who might be interested.


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