British Moorlands

Getting more from the moorlands

British Moorlands Ltd is dedicated to improving the conservation standard of our uplands by developing and promoting modern innovative techniques to support sound gamekeeping practice on grouse moors, thus improving the financial performance of moors so that the cost of conservation work can be met from grouse shooting revenues.

Within the prime grouse producing areas of the UK,  productive grouse moors are managed to a very high standard which greatly benefits other wildlife, particularly some rare ground nesting bird species such as waders, a fact proven by Game Conservancy science at Otterburn.  However, within the British Isles, there are large areas of moorland less favourable  for grouse.  The challenge is to restore these rare habitats to financially viable grouse moors or risk losing them to another wave of afforestation as happened in the 1960’s and 1970’s.

In the subprime areas there is only a very small number of thriving  grouse moors. Their success is due to a combination of highly committed owners and very talented and hard-working keepers.   Most other moors are in poor conservation condition and produce  few grouse.  Some have been left derelict since they became uneconomic 30 – 40 years ago.   You will hear many reasons and excuses for this sad decline but the fundamental problem has been the failure of  managements to cope with the big changes in real costs of employment, weather patterns, large scale conifer afforestation, increasing tick abundance, increasing populations of predators and increasing legal restrictions on controlling predation.

Clearly some of the traditional moorland management techniques are not  sufficiently effective in today’s sub prime areas and being labour intensive means high costs. They are also often too difficult for staff to operate. Very few keepers today are 100% grouse keepers. Most of them  also work on pheasant shooting and deer control and stalking, maybe fishing too. Tasks which are too arduous, hazardous, uncomfortable, inconvenient or boring may be skimped or put off repeatedly so they never get done.  Workers in farming and forestry do not work in such outdated conditions, so why should the grouse keeper ?

On this website you can see how British Moorlands management gets the job done right, on time, with ease and within budget using modern technology for mechanised habitat works and automation to handle boring repetitive tasks.  This is not fancy theory from a consultant’s desk but practical solutions which have a 15 year track record.  Our own moors produced enough grouse for driven shooting within 3 years of start-up and we have shot on every moor every year.

Grouse moor management does not have to involve large amounts of cash, commitment or hard labour.  On our own moors we demonstrate the value of combining science, good keepering and modern technologies to achieve good production at much less cost than standard traditional methods. Our work is based on helping land managers to get the job done by supplying equipment, technology and contract services.

heather management by cutting

Easy work with grit carried in the tubs and placed at grit sites as the tractor passes.

Grouse moor owners benefit from our new techniques which pay off well in increased grouse bags. We can help the keeper who is struggling with predation control and heather management because his acreage is so large. Moors which produce little or no grouse can benefit from our fully costed rejuvenation programmes.

Our useful services include:

  • Heather Management – see “Management Plan for Grouse”
  • Predation Management – see “Better Predation Control”
  • Provision of grit onto moorland with careful selection of the best places to site grit points.
  • Provision of wells and drinking water holes and rain catchers for dry moors
  • Blocking of grips and drains to create boggy areas
  • Habitat enrichment on blanket bogs
  • Removal of unwanted trees from moors
  • Construction of tracks and roads for access
  • Fencing for sheep management
  • Constructing or renovating permanent or temporary grouse butts

Approved contractors carry out the works to British Moorlands standards.  Digging work is done by  a 360 slew machine or a back-hoe digger mounted on a dualwheeled moorland tractor.

Projects may qualify for grant aid.

Free surveys and estimates are offered to moor owners.  We only recommend works where the cost can be covered by the extra sporting income.

Lowland Projects

British Moorlands is glad to be involved with any wild game conservation activity. e.g. The predation control systems are ideal for grey partridge schemes and wild pheasants.

Outlook

British Moorlands personnel have many years experience of analysing avian problems and developing cost effective solutions which work under modern conditions. We continually seek specialist advice and data from within the world of gamebirds and also from outside, so this can be passed on in systems which are regularly improved and updated to benefit from new technologies.

We aim to work closely with conservation advisory services such as A.D.A.S, S.A.C., B.A.S.C., G.W.C.T., H.T. and M.A..

Dick Bartlett

Email: dick@britishmoorlands.com
Mobile: 07836 264 440

British Moorlands