Moorland Burning – A Common Sight at this Time Of Year

If you’ve been out on the moors in recent weeks then you’ll undoubtedly have seen plumes of smoke from the Moorland burning which is currently taking place.

This is an absolutely 100% common and legal procedure for this time of year, do not be alarmed or worried and please refrain from calling the fire brigade, should a situation ever arise where they are needed then the gamekeeper will make the call. If we can encourage others to adhere to this advice we can hopefully help to reduce the unnecessary callouts which are financially draining to the service and also make sure if a real emergency arises then there are crews available to attend.

The burning season runs from 1st October to 15th April as this is the period when there is the least chance of damaging wildlife. These cool controlled burns remove the flammable canopy, leave the ground surface untouched and create vital firebreaks to reduce the chances of devastating wildfires.

NYMMO at The British Shooting Show

NYMMO attended the British Shooting Show at the N.E.C. in Birmingham for the very first time this year and WOW it was certainly a big event.  We were helping out on the N.G.O. stand and it was certainly very busy, however we did managed to find time to go out and speak with several companies and individuals who were exhibiting and we look forward to unveiling some very good auction lots this year.

The UK and Europe’s premier trade and retail shooting show.  Visitors can see a vast range of shotguns, rifles, pistols, air rifles, airsoft, optics, night vision and thermal imaging equipment, hunting knives, bushcraft, wildfowling, gundogs, game-keeping hall, country clothing & footwear.  There is also ammunition and reloading equipment, historical arms collection, gunsmith and engraving demonstrations, arena displays, shooting associations and schools.

The Great British Shooting Show is well established as “The Jewel in the Crown” of the shooting show calendar; bringing together the shooting industry and the shooting community under one roof.  The warm and friendly atmosphere created has made this Europe’s largest and most popular event of its kind.

The finest industry brands are showcased across three enormous exhibition halls.  Visitors are offered every conceivable shooting related product and covering all disciplines.  With over 600 manufacturers, distributors and retailers servicing the requirements of shooting enthusiasts worldwide!  It really is a truly magnificent Shotgun Show, Rifle Show and Airgun Show all under one roof.

If you have never been to this truly great show then put it in your diary for 2020, it is well worth a visit.



An Unfortunate End for the Juvenile Hen Harrier

Unfortunately this type of information rarely makes the press  so I thought I’d share for you all.

Hen Harriers are listed as a Schedule 1 species under The Wildlife and Countryside Act and they are classed as Red listed, meaning they are of the highest conservation priority.

The males are a pale grey colour whereas the females and immatures are brown with a white rump and a long, barred tail which give them the name ‘ringtail’.  They fly with wings held in a shallow ‘V’, gliding low in search of food which mainly consists of meadow pipits and voles.

It is very sad to hear that this juvenile Hen Harrier has met with an untimely end but the actual mortality rate of young Birds of Prey because of unfortunate accidents is high.

Quote from Graham Featherstone “It has been confirmed that the bird which I found on Glaisdale moor was a juvenile Hen Harrier.  It had flown into power lines in a snow storm on 3rd Feb. A sad ending to a beautiful bird”.

National Nest Box Week – Time To Get Building

Today marks the start of National Nest Box Week, a week long event running from the 14th to the 21st February, where focus is given to nesting birds and everyone is encouraged to put up nest boxes in their local area during this period.

Natural nest sites for birds such as holes in trees or old buildings are disappearing fast due to gardens being ‘tidied’ and old houses being repaired.

Taking part in National Nest Box Week gives everyone the chance to contribute to bird conservation whilst giving the pleasure of observing any breeding birds that are attracted to the nest boxes.

Needless to say our keepers will be doing their bit, the boxes in these photos are hopefully for  Barn Owls and they have been made by a keeper on one of our NYMMO estates. The boxes were built using the design available on the Barn Owl trust website and fingers crossed we’re hoping they’ll get used.


Over 6,000 days of seasonal employment provided in North Yorkshire.

Estates within the North Yorkshire Moors Moorland Group (NYMMO) are reflecting on the latest grouse season with many hailing it as one that bucked the national trend and local businesses claiming it one of the best on record. 

The iconic wild red grouse is a very hardy sub-Artic bird but its breeding success can be unpredictable.  Unlike elsewhere in the north of England, across the North York Moors the grouse braved the ‘beast from the east’ and then the drought with the population sustaining a full shooting programme right the way through the four-month season (August 13th to Dec 10th).

Red grouse is one of only a handful of birds native to the UK alone and only lives on moors. Having managed the habitat all year for the birds to thrive, if there is any risk of unsustainable shooting gamekeepers take the responsible decision to cancel shooting programmes, as was the case elsewhere in the country. 

Managing moorland for grouse shooting is vitally important to remote rural communities in terms of economic, environmental and social benefits and is a lifeline for many local businesses in North Yorkshire, with a full season being significantly more beneficial.

 A recent survey conducted across eight out of the eleven estates in the NYMMO group has found that a total of 177 driven shoot days were hosted throughout the four-month season on these estates across the North Yorkshire region.

 On average, each grouse moor employs an extra 34 staff on each shoot day which takes in to account beaters, loaders, flankers, pickers-up, house and catering staff.

 This equates to an estimated total of 6,018 workdays of additional employment having been provided throughout the 2018 grouse season, benefiting local youngsters, pensioners and migrant workers.   

 This seasonal work is in addition to the 45 full-time gamekeepers employed year-round by estate members of the NYMMO group to manage the moors for grouse shooting. 

Tina Brough, of the North Yorkshire Moors Moorland Organisation, said: “The success of this season across the North York Moors is testament to the hard-work and dedication of our gamekeepers and grouse moor managers who work year-round managing our land for red grouse. This benefits the local community and businesses whilst also supporting vital conservation efforts in the North Yorkshire region.

“Grouse shooting is an important tradition and helps to sustain the rural economy, especially during the off-season when tourism is limited. Essential part-time and seasonal employment is provided throughout the shooting season in remote rural areas of the country that would otherwise be lacking. To be able to support over 6,000 extra work days of employment over the past four-month season is extremely important for the survival of small villages in North Yorkshire and offers a vital lifeline for many residents and businesses.”

One local Rosedale resident who has benefited from employment through grouse shooting is 75year old John Dent. John joined the army when he left school and when he came out of the army went into civil engineering. John has been working across the North York Moors for the past seven years driving the field truck that transports the beaters up the moors on shoot days.

Seasonal grouse shooting worker, John commented: “I am out each day during the grouse season and enjoy every minute of it and will continue to drive the truck as long as I can. The beaters range in age from young to old and you get to meet so many great people and hear all their stories, it keeps you young. Rosedale is home to me, I have lived in the same house for 75 years and enjoy the great community spirit as a result of grouse shooting.

“I know many who rely on the employment provided by the local sporting estates. For me, it is a fantastic social occasion getting me and many others outdoors and into the community as we will all go for a few beers after a day on the hills. I had a go at beating when I was 11years old and back then got paid ten shillings, it was such great fun and I am so lucky to still be a part of it.”   

This season also brought both UK and international visitors to North Yorkshire offering a welcome tourism injection to the local area, with hotels and restaurants continuing to benefit. One of the North Yorkshire hotels benefiting from the grouse shooting season is the Black Swan Hotel, Helmsley. 

Lis Rickleton, manager of the Black Swan Hotel, said: “Helmsley and the surrounding community have been, for many years dependant on the downstream revenues generated by shooting during the season and we believe very strongly in supporting our local estates and businesses.

“We rely on shooting parties staying in our hotel to support our business in the off-peak holiday season. It also generates add on services which we can offer parties be it shoot dinners, ladies shooting lunches, spa days and even arranging tailored days out for partners and family members not shooting. Shooting is very much the backbone of our rural community.”



HPR Training Days are back for 2019

In conjunction with Connolly’s Red Mills, NYMMO will again be running HPR training days on the moorland, for further details please contact John Cavana directly.

The HPR training days held in 2018 were a great success and attracted several international visitors, and we are hoping for more of the same again this year.  The moorland is put to good use on these training days and it also helps to bring additional income into the area at a time of year that is generally quieter visitor wise.

NYMMO are Guest Speakers at the Farmers Breakfast, Lythe

I had a really enjoyable morning out at Lythe on Wednesday when I attended The Rural Community/Farmers Breakfast with one of our NYMMO gamekeepers Charlie.

We were invited by Isabelle to be the guest speakers where we introduced NYMMO and explained the work of Game Keepers.  Isabelle who along with her band of volunteers do a fantastic job in organising monthly events which bring the community together.

The audience of about 30 got to enjoy (I think they did) our “Gamekeepers Year” presentation which gives a little insight into why the role of the gamekeeper in rural communities is so valuable.

It was lovely to speak individually to people afterwards whilst enjoying a bacon sandwich and we were certainly made to feel at home, I even got given a recipe tip for a future Gift of Game menu, so all in all a very successful morning.


The Youth in Game Keeping

The second NYMMO film is here, please spread the word and help us to educate more people about who we are and what we are about.

Tom, Albert, Becky and Harry take the lead roles in this film which hopefully dispels some myths about young people entering into the #GameKeeping profession.

In the words of Tom…. “I was always drawn back to the moorlands, even after trying something else I realised I did want to be a gamekeeper after all.”



Confirmation of the White-Tailed Eagle (Sea Eagle) on the North York Moors

Really excited to be sharing this video, we’ve had the confirmation that we definitely have a White-Tailed Eagle (Sea Eagle) on the North York Moors.  This special bird has been resident here for the last 2 months so it must be liking our well looked after managed moors.

The white-tailed eagle (Sea Eagle) is the largest UK bird of prey, it has Brown body plumage with a conspicuously pale head and neck which can almost be White in older birds, the tail feathers of adults are also White.

This is a schedule 1 species which went extinct in the UK during the early 20th century and this one must be a descendant of one of those reintroduced birds. These birds remain Red Listed meaning they are still the highest conservation priority.

Final Day of the Pheasant Season – Must be Time for a Keepers Day

February 1st came and it was certainly an interesting end to the season for the annual keepers day!

There was a little more snow than anticipated/wanted which made for a much more challenging day all round but still hugely enjoyable and a fantastic finale to the 2018 season.  Overall I can definitely say the shooting was more successful on the day than the driving!

To everyone who has helped make the 2018 season the huge success that it has been thank you, here on the estates the daily hard work is continuing to ensure that we can all hopefully look forward to the same again in 2019.

See you all again soon!