NYMMO at Danby ParkFest

What a great day out we had at Danby ParkFest yesterday, an event which marks the start of National Parks Week.  NYMMO joined Levisham Moor Hawking and Conservation Group, who are one of NYMMO’s Founder members and the Danby Moor Environmental Stewardship Scheme

Brian Sweeney was representing the Danby Moor Environmental Stewardship Scheme, which is funded by Natural England and managed by local upland farmers and the Dawnay Estate staff.  The scheme is hoping to improve the quality of the moorland landscape, increase biodiversity, and offset the impacts of climate change.  The project involves the sensitive management of moorland to provide a diverse mosaic of habitats that benefit wildlife, sheep and Red Grouse.  Brian brought a good selection of examples with him for everyone to see, ranging from traps used in predator control, to fox nets, sheep fleeces and he even brought his very lovable dog Flynn a 2 year old working Cocker Spaniel dog.

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Nick Dearing was representing Levisham Moor and brought along 2 stunning birds, a Peales Peregrine Falcon (the dark coloured bird) and a Gyr Falcon crossed with a Peregrine Falcon (the white bird).  The birds were a brilliant attraction with lots of visitors coming to see them, some people were even brave enough to touch them.  Grouse hawking is a spectacular sight to see, both male and female falcons are used and it takes much serious time, dedication and training to achieve the end result.  Grouse hawking is worked with a waiting-on style of flight, when a grouse is located on the fell, the falcon is released, they will then rapidly mount high above the falconer and their working dogs.  Once the falcon has reached their pitch the falconer will then release the dog to flush out the grouse and let the falcon take over.

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There was lots of entertainment for all, childrens face painting, bike riding skills, archery, woodland walks and even some wine tasting.  A fun filled day with plenty to see and do.

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Please come and join us next week where we will be attending MoorFest at the Sutton Bank National Park Centre,  please see link attached for more details.


Butt Building on Bransdale Moor

Thanks to Charlie for an excellent sequence of photos illustrating the building of a new Butt from start to finish on Bransdale moor.

These first 2 pictures show the start of the project, the first course of stone getting lined up and bedded in, making sure that each individual stone is stable, no movement and fully level with the stones next to it as this sets up the foundations for the whole butt, it then gets back filled with soil.

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The next picture shows the butt getting built up, course by course, taking special care to overlap each gap with the stone above, exactly the same technique as used in dry stone walling.  As the butt gets higher each course has key stones (throughs) put into it, these protrude out into the soil heap so as to brace it, the back filling with soil is repeated on every course, the layers progress and the butt begins to take shape. 

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We can now see the completed stonework of the butt with all the back filling done.  The Bilberry turfs are then added on top of the completed butt, through time they’ll become established and they will then just need strimming each year to keep them looking tidy.

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The majority of butts seen on the fell are not fenced, however the sheep seem to really bother the butts around this area, climbing on them and disturbing the turf, the fence will hopefully reduce the need to re turf regularly.  The last photos shown are the finished product, painted fence, butt number painted on, strimmed around the back and sides and the newly laid turf has even had a slight trim so as to give the desired shape.

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A lot of hard work but what a great result, a definitely impressive butt!!!






NYMMO at The Great Yorkshire Show

What a fantastic 3 days we’ve had at this years Great Yorkshire Show, we’ve met lots of new people, been involved in a brilliant demonstration and all of this helped by the fact that the weather was kind to us.  NYMMO joined the NGO, Gamekeepers Welfare Trust and Elanco in the marquee and we enjoyed meeting lots of new people and chatting to lots of old friends.  We are pleased to say we also had a great chat with the local Conservative MP Kevin Hollinrake (Thirsk & Malton), nice to see him coming into see us and find out more about NYMMO.

“A year in the life of a grouse moor” was the great showpiece that NYMMO was proud to be a part of, a performance delivered twice daily on each of the 3 days within the Country Pursuits arena , which proved a resounding success

An excellent informative performance delivered by the impeccably smart dressed John Cavana dressed top to toe in tweeds, the renowned look associated with the Game Keeper.  The very informative script took us on a journey through the gamekeepers tasks from Autumn right through to the first day of the grouse shooting season on the 12th August.

Within the performance there was a heather burning display which saw plumes of smoke from the controlled fire that had been lit, float through the sky as John conveyed to the captive audience the benefits that controlled burning had on the environment, wildlife and animals that reside on it.  There was a game keeper riding around the arena and checking traps, John was delivering an excellent talk, but the real eye-catcher to the vast audience that was gathered at every display was the arrival of the beaters.  Richard Walton and the 2 NYMMO game keepers gathered from the audience children, to join in and simulate a working beating line, there were so many volunteers there wasn’t enough flags for everybody.  The beating line began at the top of the hill outside of the arena and the audience were transfixed as the flags were waving, loud voices, a lovely straight line appearing working its way down to the arena heading towards the grouse butt.  Shots are heard from the butt as a plume of feathers hits the ground, more shots, the horn, another barrage of shooting and then the long horn to announce the end of the drive.  The black labrador gun dog scurries across the arena to collect the “birds” and John delivers a brace of grouse to the gun after a very successful drive.  The children are rewarded with a badge and a medal for their efforts and leave with a big smile on their faces, the clapping resounds round the whole arena and the display has been a great success.

To sum up, the display was informative, eye-catching, something new, but ultimately we think it gave a brilliant insight into a keepers life and why we do things and this is without doubt a good thing.  The audience went away happy, and each of them hopefully took something positive away with them if not only the pride and passion that a game keeper has for his work.  There were even people requesting to have their photographs taken with our keepers, this has got to be good for us, people will spread the word and hopefully get to know about us for the right reasons.

We need this type of display, we need to inform people into what managed moorland is all about and the massive benefits it has to the environment and wildlife.  It is the not knowing that scares some people, we need to spread the word, and this display alone I am confident has given people more of an insight into the huge positives that grouse moors can give.

A massive thank you to the Countryside Alliance, NGO, Hull Cartridge, John Cavana, Richard Walton and our NYMMO Keepers (Charlie & Murray from Bransdale, Ben & Will from Rosedale & Westerdale and Jimmy and Rob from Snilesworth) for developing, producing and executing a great display.  Hopefully we can look to get this reproduced at future shows and carry on the good work.

To sum up “A Year in the Life of a Grouse Moor” was a great success and overall The Great Yorkshire Show in general has been a really good advert for managed moorland and game keepers.

Please also look to support John Cavana and Richard Walton as they are putting on their finest sporting attire to take on a mammoth 100km Frontline walk to honour gamekeepers, hunt staff and field sports enthusiasts who paid the ultimate sacrifice during The Battle of the Somme 100 years ago.

John and Richard are raising money for the Army Benevolent Fund and would hugely appreciate donations for such a great charity.        https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Richard-Walton8


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NYMMO : Newsletter No. 1…..

An informative look at the past, present and future headline happenings of NYMMO.

We hope you like what you’ve seen so far on our facebook and website pages and we are looking to continue moving forward.  Our aim is to promote the benefits of  managed moorland and hopefully from the work we’ve done so far we are starting to achieve this!

Highlights So Far:

  • Working with Natural England to successfully ring 2 broods of Merlin chicks on  Bransdale & Westerdale, a great bonus for the area as the Merlin is Red Status (Highest Conservation Priority).
  • The estates have also been working closely with the BTO (British Trust for Ornithology) who ring various birds and from this, careful monitoring can be done to collect information about their movements and hopefully assist in the survival of species’.
  • As part of the 90th birthday celebrations for the Queen, the 7 strong team of keepers from Rosedale & Westerdale completed a full clean of the moor, not the nicest of jobs but certainly worthwhile, helps keeps the moors looking their best!
  • NYMMO held their first ever charity event on Saturday 11th June at Spaunton Quarry, a clay shoot in aid of the Air Ambulance.  A really great day with a good turnout of entrants, consisting of 23 teams and 27 individuals.  The event was extremely well supported with excellent prizes up for grabs, a fantastic raffle and a bar which all helped contribute to the £2,386.50 that was raised for the charity.

Looking Forward To:

  • NYMMO attending the Great Yorkshire Show on the 12th/13th/14th July working alongside the NGO.
  • NYMMO Charity Auction, helping us to raise money for the Air Ambulance, we have a massive 31 lots on offer with the auction running up until the 12th August.

For full details of all of our media articles, events and the full list of our auction lots, please visit our website and follow us on Facebook

Merlin Ringing with Natural England on Westerdale Moor

Here we have another Merlin success story, this time the ringing of the 5 chicks that were located on Westerdale Moor at the end of May.  The Merlin is the U.K.’s smallest bird of prey and there are only 900 to 1500 breeding pairs in the U.K. but the North Yorkshire Moors can proudly say that Merlin numbers in this area are looking good.

Today Wilf from The Natural England Merlin group of volunteers came out to Westerdale and successfully ringed the 5 Merlin chicks, the ringing process includes measuring, weighing and sexing the chicks, this is done because the Merlin is an endangered species and therefore it is essential to try and gather as much information on them as possible.  There were 4 hen birds and 1 cock bird, which hopefully should increase the chances of further breeding and to help secure the future of these birds in this area.  

Todays visit by Natural England was their second visit to the nest, it was first inspected at the end of May where it was confirmed that the chicks were there.  Strict licenses are given by Natural England to try and keep disturbance to  the Merlin nests to an absolute minimum and this is because of their Red Status (highest conservation priority).

Years of study and careful management by the moor owners and their keepers makes the North Yorkshire Moors an extremely important place for the Merlins to live and this is a real positive for the area as the numbers here are fairly stable.  

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