Nidderdale trade perseveres in face of poor grouse season

Visiting numbers have remained high following the Nidderdale Show according to the Nidderdale Chamber of Trade
Visiting numbers have remained high following the Nidderdale Show according to the Nidderdale Chamber of Trade

Hopes are high that the Dales has not lost out despite concerns over the impact of a tough grouse shooting season.

The Moorland Association has this week said poor weather, including the intense cold brought on by the Beast from the East and the prolonged drought which followed, hit the principal food source of red grouse, heather, causing a a drop in numbers across the north.

In Nidderdale this has meant nearly 75 per cent of shooting days were cancelled this year, according to Roy Burrows, gamekeeper and coordinator of the Nidderdale Moorland Group, due to the low grouse stock.

He said: "We are very much hoping for an improvement next year but in the meantime our year-round conservation of the beautiful uplands continues to benefit a wide range of plants and bird species.”

However despite concerns over the wider economic impact to local businesses the Nidderdale Chamber of Trade has said the season following the Nidderdale Show stands as one of the strongest in recent years for many across the area.

He said: "I think it does bring people in who can spend quite a bit of money, who go to pubs and other establishments, but the feedback so far is that visiting numbers have been very good this season.B&Bs,guesthouses and hotels have been reporting they have had a really good trade this year.

He added: "It's been a cracking year and after show day it normally quietens down, but I think this has been the best in recent years."

Despite the poor season, English grouse moor owners continue to invest over £50m of private money annually into the conservation and enhancement of upland landscapes.

Nick Downshire, owner of Jervaulx Moor in the Yorkshire Dales said: “This season has been a disappointment, not only for grouse shooting enthusiasts but more importantly to the local businesses that cater for them. Upland hotels, pubs and restaurants rely on this crucial trade during the autumn and early winter months and the extent of shoot cancellations has had a significant impact on their revenues.

"The silver lining is that while bookings have been low, the work being undertaken to look after the moorlands and its wildlife is ongoing, hopefully laying the foundations for a successful season in 2019.”