Grouse moors

A large area of the UK’s upland moorland landscape is intensively managed for the purpose of shooting red grouse for sport. Between 12 August and 10 December, shooting parties are held on these moorlands which involves wild red grouse being flushed by beaters towards a static line of shooters. To enable this to happen grouse moor management has intensified to increase the availability of large numbers of red grouse, which requires shooting estates to incorporate three core pillars into their regimes focused on maximising the red grouse population: 

  • Habitat manipulation: rotational heather burning and / or intensive heather cutting to produce a mosaic of younger, more nutritious heather for grouse to eat and older, taller heather to provide nesting cover and protection from predators.
  • Lethal predator control: the eradication of foxes, weasels, stoats, crows, magpies and sometimes the illegal persecution of birds of prey.
  • Disease and parasite control: the non-therapeutic medicating of grouse with a veterinary drug dispensed via medicated grit and direct dosing, and also the mass culling of mountain hares, deer and other animals that may host some parasites.

Intensive management of moorland for grouse shooting can not only place pressure on protected wildlife, but the ecology of an area, the landscape, as well as in some cases giving rise to wildlife crime. It is widely recognised that the increase in intensive management of uplands for grouse shooting over recent decades has resulted in dramatic environmental changes with high ecological costs, many of which have been associated with negative impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem function.

Join us in advocating for responsible land management, promoting nature conservation and fighting against climate change and biodiversity loss. Together, we can protect the ecological integrity of our moorlands and foster a more sustainable approach to leave them in a better state for the benefit of future generations.