Rewilding Scotland’s grouse moors: a discussion

Scotland’s Moorland Forum is hosting an online discussion between several key individuals about whether rewilding is compatible with other moorland use such as grouse shooting.

Of particular interest to readers of this blog will be the discussion about the impact of intensive grouse moor management on species such as golden eagles, white-tailed eagles, hen harriers, red kites, peregrines, buzzards, short-eared owls etc.

Members of the public can attend, free of charge, and participate in a Q&A session.

Here’s the advertising blurb from the Moorland Forum:

Join us for a lively and timely discussion.

Moorland Forum Chairman, Hugh Raven, will be in discussion with Steve Micklewright, Trees for Life & Convenor of the Scottish Rewilding Alliance; Magnus Davidson, Research Associate at UHI, Director of Community Land Scotland, a Trustee of Thurso Community Development Trust, founding member of Scotland’s 2050 Climate Group; and Andrew Painting, Assistant Ecologist Mar Lodge Estate & Author of ‘Regeneration – The Rescue of a Wild Land’.

This event will delve into fundamental issues such as whether moorland can ever be seen as compatible with rewilding ambitions. For example, could moorland be wilder and still produce grouse shooting and farmed livestock? And, can we have rewilding sitting alongside modified landscapes or do they compromise each other?

A key concept which will be explored is how people fit into a rewilded landscape, and how rural communities’ fare. Rewilding causes concern for some in terms of the diminution of existing industries which are reliant on moorland such as grouse shooting and upland farming (and the supplier businesses that feed into these activities), in favour of newer opportunities from rewilding. We will discuss these opportunities, the relevance of existing rural skills are and whether earning potential remains comparable. We will also touch on the new Green Lairds – as they have been termed – and their role in Scottish rural communities.

The discussion will also touch on debates about wildfire risks and the impact on moorland species of different management regimes.

The format

The evening will fall into to two parts, with the first half of the evening given over to Hugh Raven in discussion with our speakers, while the second half of the evening will see Hugh pose questions asked by the online audience.


Places are free, but we ask that you register in order to gain access to the link for the evening and other preparatory information.

After the event

Scotland’s Moorland Forum is running a series of topic-based discussions both as part of its regular schedule of meetings, and as online public events. This event is the first of our public online events.

We plan to explore two major topics that have a relevance to the future of moorlands in the wider context of Scotland’s uplands each year.

After those discussions, a paper will be developed which provides an objective synthesis of the discussion and opinions gathered. The discussions and the resulting papers will be relevant to Scottish ministers, policy-makers and stakeholders, and all with an interest in Scotland’s moorlands and upland areas. The output will become publicly available on Scotland’s Moorland Forum as a resource for all.

Points to note ahead of joining a discussion event:-

Each topic will be considered in terms of its relationship to moorland or moorland in the context of the wider uplands.

The aim of the discussions is to capture opinion in whatever way it exists, and it is important that participants come to the events with the understanding that all opinion is valid and should be given space to be heard. Indeed, we hope that an important part of the value of these discussions will be that they allow a safe space for the exchange of ideas amongst people and organisations that have differing views. In this way the broader conversations about the use and management of Scotland’s moorlands and uplands might move forwards.

Participants must be respectful in their communications and mannerisms.

The papers that will come from these discussions will not make a judgement on the rights or wrongs of a given topic or viewpoint. They aim to provide an objective synthesis of the various opinions that exist, highlight consensus where it exists, but also capture opposing views. They will aim to identify ways in which discussion can continue to move forwards – this might be through the Forum or by other means.

We look forward to welcoming you on 9 February.


To register for this event, please click here

5 thoughts on “Rewilding Scotland’s grouse moors: a discussion”

  1. Hello, it’s great to see these topics being discussed however rewilding and hunting wildlife for pleasure by paying money to landowners are two incomparable sides of a money go round coin that never have the interests of nature, the welfare of communities or the greater good as there core values.

    While rewilding is a cause I believe in, the only reason estates will even contemplate this course of positive and affirmative action is if they are paid or subsidised, this of course is still while persecuting all other lifeforms to protect their income from all hunting and fishing that their estates can support.

    In a time of great change to our planets ecosystems due to the impact of humans surely the goal is to stop killing for the sake of killing and start to let nature try and recover as well as helping to fix the mess we have made, this may take ruffling some lords and lairds feathers by not asking but inforcing change. Rewilding will take 30 years before any true measure of improvement to scottish nature or the supporting environment will be seen, most of us will likely not be around to see if rewilding has worked but our children will, let them see that we did more than have discussions.

    It’s time for big changes not small gestures for financial gain, green tax credits or a better carbon footprint for your brand or company.

  2. Get a life , your very name let’s you down , as a wildlife manager for fifty years, there needs to be a balance in everything , your approach is mislead , and dangerous to other species, which were plentiful when grouse moors where in there heyday.
    Take the anti shooting, attitude out , and common sense back in from people that understand these matters, the wild life will return with no problem.
    The biggest danger to wild life is contant disturbance, from the uneducated, and urban ignorance .

    1. “there needs to be a balance in everything”

      There is certainly no balance in your opinions.

      “dangerous to other species, which were plentiful when grouse moors where in there heyday.”

      You mean ‘plentiful’ BEFORE your ‘wildlife management’ killed off all the predators and destroyed the peat bogs?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s