New owners to ban gamebird shooting on infamous Kildrummy Estate

In June it was reported that Kildrummy Estate in Aberdeenshire had been sold to an American couple with a track record in supporting environmental and animal welfare projects (see here).

Kildrummy Estate is infamous because its gamekeeper became the UK’s first (and so far, only gamekeeper) to receive a custodial sentence for raptor persecution in 2014 after his conviction on four counts, including the illegal killing of a trapped goshawk which he clubbed to death on the estate in 2012 (see here and here).

It’s been reported in today’s Sunday Times that the new owners, Chris and Camille Bently, have a much greater vision for Kildrummy and that vision doesn’t include grouse, pheasant or partridge shooting.

The mapping report referred to in this article was one of two published on Thursday (see here) by the League Against Cruel Sports, as part of the Revive Coalition for grouse moor reform. The study suggested that every year, up to a quarter of a million animals are killed in traps and snares on Scottish grouse moors, and many of them in the most hideously brutal circumstances, as evidenced by one of the reports’ front covers:

The progressive-thinking Bentlys join a growing number of decent, intelligent landowners who are prepared to ditch the Victorian dystopia and instead invest in a bold vision of regeneration and restoration. It’ll be good in future to be able to recognise Kildrummy Estate as being at the forefront of something so positive.

The times they are a-changin’.


If you’re sick to the back teeth of illegal raptor persecution on driven grouse moors, please consider participating in this quick and easy e-action to send a letter to your local Parliamentary representative (MSP/MP/MS) urging action. Launched just a week ago by Wild Justice, RSPB and Hen Harrier Action, over 44,000 people have signed up so far.

This means that over 44,000 pre-written letters complaining about illegal raptor persecution and the environmental damage caused by intensive grouse moor management, are winging their way to politicians of all parties across the UK. If you want your local politician to receive one, Please join in HERE

Thank you

38 thoughts on “New owners to ban gamebird shooting on infamous Kildrummy Estate”

  1. Congratulations to Chris and Camille Bently for taking a negative estate and turning it into something positive. I personally wish them all the very best of fortune in their future endevours. I hope that enviorenmental and conservation bodies take note and award them with whatever acolades they can muster.

    1. If we do a count of all the species on their land now we can cross reference it in 5 years time against a current count and use the figures to show what effect leaving nature to look after itself

      1. [Ed: I realise from the content of your comment that you’re not a genius but simply re-posting the same abusive comment isn’t going to get it published. Do it again and your IP and email address will be published]

  2. The Bentlys are to be applauded. But I imagine their biggest reward will be in being the custodians of a rich, bio diverse and truly alive, beautiful parcel of Scotland. Looking forward to seeing it’s progress.

    1. Sometimes people put on fake laughs to hide their fear and desperation. ‘Your lot’ are losing and you know it don’t you Richard?

    2. Suck it up, Dick. The very fact that this pisses off you and your ilk gives decent people tremendous pleasure. So hahaha yourself.

    3. Richard, please explain why we are delusional. Is it because we understand land management better than you, or because we understand science, facts and research? is it because we understand social change? Or is it perhaps because we don’t arrogantly bury our head’s in the sand and regurgitate false claims, false figures and misinformation while pretending everything can carry on exactly the same forever?
      Please expand on your seemingly deluded comment.

      If you really enjoy your country pastimes, the best thing you can do is wake up and accept that without compromise and progression you will be helping to put another nail into this out-dated hobby.

  3. My heartfelt thanks to Chris and Camille Bently for their stated intentions for their new home – I’m sure that it will bring you much pleasure and will reap benefit way beyond your own property boundaries too. Don’t be discouraged by crass comments from the Richard Towers’s of this world.

  4. This is very good news, to be welcomed obviously, but, being ultra cautious, I have one question relating to the long term future of land in Scotland which knowledgeable, legally minded folk out there might be able to shed some light on: What’s to stop a new landowner reverting back to grouse shooting should the Bently’s decide to up and sell? Are there laws in place in Scotland to prevent such anachronistic practices? Or can a landowner simply decide on personal whim whether to revert or no when they’re in possession of land?

    [Ed: Andrew, as grouse shooting is still a lawful activity (for now), then of course any landowner is free to do it]

    1. Andrew, clearly a landowner can decide how to use land they own, subject to the rule of law. This is why licencing of grouse moors is such an important measure.

    2. In the past I have suggested it might be possible to buy tracts of land or estates and then insert all-time no-blood sports and other conservation minded clauses into resale contracts thus allowing the land to be sold (perhaps at a reduced price) and the money raised used to purchase and resell more land on a similar basis. I wonder if there is anyone reading this who knows whether or not it might work or if it could easily be overturned by a court ruling in favour of future new owners who want to revert to Victorian values?

  5. This has to be the best news on the subject for a long, long time. Thank you to the Bentlys for making such a bold move; let’s hope its successful and becomes the thin end of a very thick wedge.

  6. A good (new) start at Kildrummy.

    Now, what does the long term strategy/plan/objectives look like?

    Where are the new owners getting advice?

    But definitely, a good new start.

  7. It is wonderful to read of the enlightened attitude of the new owners of this estate. The blue bloods who get their sick and twisted pleasure from seeing red blood and the slaughter of wildlife, should hang their heads in shame. Have they never advanced from Victorian times? May be it is all the inbreeding.

  8. Isn’t it absolutely bloody brilliant when people with money show a social and environmental conscience, there are some amazing examples as opposed to those that run 747s as private jets. Chris and Camille thank you, hope you have a wonderful time in Scotland. Hopefully this really does represent a change of attitude among more new landowners where a genuine, informed appreciation of rewilding beats the pish about huntin, fishin, shootin making you part of the ‘elite’. This is another great step forward, but simultaneously it underlines that we still don’t have a single sporting estate in the north of England that’s transitioning towards a better ecological and economic model. That’s frustrating, we could really do with a wedge starting to break up the Yorkshire/Peak District/Forest of Bowland block of grouse moors. From Langholm to Alladale there’s a lot happening in Scotland compared to sweet FA in the northern half of England. The Fieldsport Channel has just done its propaganda piece about the 12th there so it would be really good if there could be an alternative to driven grouse shooting there too to provide a fly in the ointment.

  9. Wonderful news! Heartwarming in fact. I just wish this was the norm! I have sent Chris and Camille a short thank you message via the Contact page on their foundation’s website. After sending emails to Nicola Sturgeon, Roseanna Cunningham and my local (Tory) MP (who has previously responded to a letter I sent by saying he enjoyed going shooting with his friends!) it was a joy to write a positive message! Thanks for all your hard work in keeping us updated with these blogs too! 😊

  10. At last a ray of sunshine in what up till now has been one sad story after another regarding raptor persecution in the last few months.

    The Bentleys deserve a big thank you for having the vision to manage the land in what hopefully will be a sanctuary for wildlife and proper conservation.

    The fact that it takes an American couple to buy up an estate and then make a pledge to manage it for conservation, in the way we would expect British landowners to do, is perhaps testament to the failings of so many of the indigenous landowners, who seem only able to view wildlife and land management down the barrel of gun.

    Hopefully, Kildrummy will become a good indication of just how much wildlife can exist on the moors if they are managed properly for conservation, and then questions can be asked as to why grouse moors manged for shooting don’t have the same diversity – which hopefully will throw into question “why grouse moor owners where shooting takes, are in receipt of conservation stewardship grants, if they aren’t producing similar results”?

  11. In Scotland (not in the rest of the UK) we have Conservation Burdens (CB) that can be attached to the land in perpetuity. Even upon sale, it remains on the title of the land. In the CB it can be stated (within reason) what you wish to conserve.

  12. Wow…. My feelings of perpetual anger and frustration on RPUK blog have just turned into feelings of complete Joy. The good publicity from this project will be a massive stepping stone for positive change. And, somewhere for all of us to focus our hearts and minds on when our hearts get crushed by “21st century wildlife killing zombies”. All of us with intelligence and compassion would do the same if we had the means to do so. But we must congratulate the Bentleys.

  13. The management of Raptors & Predators is paramount if you want to see a healthy wildlife population of Ground Nesting Birds, Waders & Song Birds, time will tell, the country side has & is losing many wonderful species some may disappear altogether in the not to distant future esp. Scotland’s most iconic bird the Capercaillie & more until Raptors & Predators numbers are control’d.

    1. Dear oh dear. We can only thank Mr Sleigh for revealing the true imbecilic attitude, and pig ignorance that’s rife among those who enjoy abusing wild animals. Despite the various cynical attempts of the tweed disease to portray themselves otherwise, we can always rely on at least one ill-educated simpleton among their ranks to let the cat out of the bag.

    2. Who do you think managed the animals before people like you came along with your blood lust?

      Perhaps it is incredulous to you that all the native animals survived, whether they were prey or predator. There was a natural balance.

      Prehistoric man did driven quarry in order to feed their tribes but then came agriculture! With agriculture they then had reliable food for when it was needed.

      The prehistoric people didn’t do driven quarry to have fun and then waste it, like modern driven game killers. Where the brag factor is how many I killed and not that will feed my community for months.

  14. there has been no game bird shooting on kildrummy for nearly 5 years…and there was very little if any grouse shooting on kildrummy..before that…it was mostly pheasants and deer..

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