Over 25,000 days of seasonal employment provided in the Yorkshire Dales
With this year’s grouse season having officially ended today (December 10th) the local Yorkshire Dales community is reflecting on what was a successful year with most estates having witnessed busy programmes of days on offer right the way through the season.
A recent survey conducted across 25 estates in the Yorkshire Dales Moorland Group (YDMG) found that a total of 500 driven days were hosted throughout the four-month season on these estates across the region.
On average, each grouse moor employed an extra 50 members of staff on each day, which includes beaters, loaders, flankers, pickers-up, house and catering staff.
This equates to an estimated total of 25,000 workdays of additional employment having been provided throughout the 2019 grouse season, benefiting local youngsters, pensioners and migrant workers.
This seasonal work is in addition to the 75 full-time gamekeepers employed year-round by estate members of YDMG to manage the moors to encourage wild red grouse.
Sonya Wiggins, coordinator of the YDMG, said:
“Our moorlands matter and they have been in hot demand. We welcomed a good influx of international visitors from across Europe and the US, as well as a lot of repeat bookings from UK-wide parties to the Yorkshire Dales who continue to enjoy the sport we have to offer and our beautiful countryside. These visitors are a vital boost to the local economy supporting rural businesses during the tourism off-season.
“Managing moorland for red grouse is vitally important to fragile and remote rural communities in terms of economic, environmental and social benefits and is a lifeline for many local businesses in the Yorkshire Dales. Yet these communities are vital to maintaining the moorlands as an oasis for wildlife, natural landscapes and places to visit. Thankfully we managed to bounce back this year having witnessed a very poor season last year due to unfavourable weather conditions. A good season is significantly more beneficial to the area and is dependent on how well the wild red grouse breed in the spring.
“Offering local employment opportunities for youngsters right up to retirees and even professionals who all enjoy the feeling of wellbeing after a day out on the moors together is one of the most anticipated social events of the calendar. Being able to generate over 25,000 days of seasonal employment as a result of the four-month grouse season is essential for the survival of our small villages in the Dales.
One local business reliant on a good grouse season is local North Yorkshire gamedealer, L&A Dent.
Andrew Dent of L&A Gamedealers said:
“Coming off the back of a poor season in terms of grouse numbers in 2018, we have witnessed a slight rise in the amount of wild red grouse for the plate this year and are up around 20% on business. However, it was a bit of a mixed bag, one moor broke its all-time record whilst some moors had no shooting at all.
“There is a huge international market for grouse and this is without doubt the most important market to our grouse shooting industry. The export market for the ‘old’ grouse was strong this year and it was nice to be able to supply this market as last year very few birds reached export channels.
“The domestic grouse market is predominantly a ‘young’ bird market and it was pretty much standard this season. We supply outlets throughout Yorkshire as well as national butchers and top restaurants in London. It would be fantastic if every pub and restaurant got the opportunity to put grouse on their menu as it is delicious and healthy and during a big season we need as many outlets as possible to sell it.
“Not only is a good season great for our business it bolsters the local economy. We have a loyal workforce many of whom have been working with us for over seven years and being able to offer permanent employment to local residents in our remote corner of Yorkshire is vitally important.”
Red grouse is one of only a handful of birds native solely to the UK and lives on moors. Gamekeepers managed the habitat all year for the birds to thrive and harvesting the grouse by shooting takes place only where there is a sustainable surplus.
Moorland owners and gamekeepers of the Yorkshire Dales Moorland Group carry out vital conservation work on more than 226,000 acres of precious heather moorland across the area, much of which is designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)
Photo Credit : Mr T Streeter