National Trust set to initiate new grouse shooting leases in Peak District National Park

In April 2016 we published a video of an armed man crouching next to a decoy hen harrier on Ashop Moor, which is part of the National Trust’s Park Hall & Hope Woodlands Estate in the Peak District National Park.

That video footage sparked outrage and significant public pressure was placed on the National Trust to take action against its shooting tenant (believed to be Mark Osborne).

As a direct result of that public pressure, in June 2016 the National Trust announced that it was pulling the shooting lease four years early and the shooting tenant had been asked to leave by April 2018. The National Trust was widely applauded for its action.

In 2017 the National Trust announced it was seeking new tenants ‘to work with us to create a new exemplar model delivering outstanding moorland nature conservation with grouse shooting’. Not everyone agreed that grouse shooting should continue on these National Trust moors and a local campaign group, Moorland Vision, was established to encourage the National Trust to consider rewilding these moors. This group delivered a petition to the National Trust last summer and had the support of 15 local environmental groups.

Yesterday, the National Trust released a statement to say that it had selected three new shooting tenants under a five-year lease:

After a thorough interview process the National Trust has selected three new shooting tenants to work as partners on the High Peak Moors in Derbyshire. A fourth area of land will not be let.

The tenants will have the opportunity over the next five years to work in partnership with the Trust to demonstrate that less intensive forms of grouse shooting can be compatible with the charity’s High Peak Moors Vision.

Andy Beer, Regional Director for the Midlands said: “We’ve made our decision based on what we think is best for nature. The High Peak is a managed landscape and we have chosen tenants who have committed to work with us to carry out land management which is good for the birds, plants and insects. With regards to hawks, falcons and owls we’ve made it very clear that the High Peak should have more of these birds, and we expect to see an increase in their numbers over the next five years.

This partnership is a new way of working, one which operates transparently, works to the highest standards, and helps us deliver our conservation aims of the High Peak Moors Vision“.


This public statement doesn’t provide much detail at all but Mark Avery managed to glean a bit more from a discussion with the National Trust (see here). Of particular interest was this:

  • some land, on the Kinder plateau, will be taken out of shooting altogether
  • another parcel of land (the Back Snake – north of the A57) will be run as a walked-up shoot by a local farmer/gamekeeper
  • another parcel of land (south of the A57 area of the Hope Woodlands) will be run as a driven grouse shoot by a consortium of GWCT members
  • a fourth parcel of land (known as Park Hall) will be shot by the age-old method of shooting over dogs

Here’s a map of the estate as published by the National Trust when they advertised the tenancies. The red area is the Hope Woodlands site (with the A57 running through it) and the blue area is Park Hall. The town to the north west is Glossop:

As Mark Avery commented, it looks like the National Trust is trying to appease everyone by incorporating different types of grouse moor management (and in one area, no grouse shooting at all), but not everyone is impressed. If you read the response written by Moorland Vision (here), the group makes some persuasive arguments and describes the new grouse shooting leases as “a lost opportunity”. And it’s not as though the National Trust had no other option but to allow grouse shooting – according to the Moorland Vision blog the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust had also submitted a bid to help manage some of the moorland around Kinder Scout and Bleaklow, but the National Trust appears to have dismissed this an an option.

There’ll be more detail to come about these new tenants and we’re particularly looking forward to finding out more about the ‘consortium of GWCT members’ who will be running the driven grouse shooting south of the A57. The GWCT knows all about this area (Ashop Moor) – a day’s grouse shooting here was a GWCT raffle prize last year – donated by William Powell (co-owned by one Mr Mark Osborne, the current shooting tenant whose lease has been terminated).

These moors are also part of the long-failing Peak District Bird of Prey Initiative – will the new tenants help to increase the number of breeding raptors on these moors? Rest assured, this will be closely monitored.

11 thoughts on “National Trust set to initiate new grouse shooting leases in Peak District National Park”

  1. One wonders if the “consortium of GWCT members” are a screen for Mr Osborne to continue to run driven shooting here?

  2. Well done NT in standing up to the twitter & blogger spheres. Some people in real positions of responsibility have to make decisions, sometimes difficult ones, in the face of computer armed campaigners and activists. I for one take my hat off to them. Good luck to all of the new incoming tenants. They too will be watched and scrutinised, unfortunately in part by people who are already determined to damn them.

    1. In reply to WTFoster…it is the whole regime of driven grouse shooting, including burning, use of lead shot, use of medicated grit and artificially boosting red grouse populations until they get diseased [and not just the criminal “vermin” control] which is being damned by right thinking people on sites like this….if the incoming tenants just repeat the same old damaging processes then they will, quite rightly be criticised.

  3. I had made my representations to the NT online and had a long exchange with just two posters, who were supporting driven grouse shooting. I was verbally abused by one of them as a result, to the extent that the moderators had to warn the poster to follow guidelines. The posts included the assertions that driven grouse shooting actually increases the number of hen harriers! I agree that the NT have tried to be all things to all people, but I am sure that this area will be subject to intense scrutiny and that ay transgressions will be reported.

  4. Initially I was very disappointed in the NT proposals but when I thought again, yes I am still a little disappointed but they have taken some steps however small in the right direction. It to me is still a shame they chose to keep some of the estate as a driven moor with presumably all the bad things that entails. A consortium of GWCT members is in this instance meaningless, it is meant one supposes to reassure that all will be ” above board” but some of the worst operators in DGS are GWCT members.
    At least the tenancy periods are relatively short if they fail to deliver an improvement on the past.
    The only measures of success that matter are that the new tenants stay within the law, stick to good practice and that raptor numbers improve substantially

    1. I’ve thought about this as well, Paul – There may be circumstances where the NT are obliged to maintain the “tradition” of shooting where an estate is bequeathed to the NT, with conditions. We have no way of knowing this without some disclosure from the NT. Different situation, of course, if the estate is bought by the NT, where there are no conditions.

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