Supporting rural communities
A varied group of people benefit from access to moorland managed for conservation and shooting.
More than 30 million people visit the Yorkshire Dales, Peak District and North York Moors National Parks each year according to National Parks survey data. These three upland areas are all home to grouse moors which enhance their natural beauty.
These protected moorland landscapes are managed by gamekeepers and benefit wildlife and communities. The reasons for visiting our moors are many, and often very personal. In the busy world we live in, the need to protect open, tranquil spaces for nature as well as people’s wellbeing and livelihoods cannot be overstated.
We know people visit moorland, but why?
We decided the easiest way to find out was to ask, so we headed to Rosedale in the North York Moors.
As we drove through the moors, we were greeted by people enjoying a stroll in busy villages and eating and drinking in pubs and cafés. Campervans and caravans, cyclists and motorbikes passed us on the hilly roads.
Harriet Beecroft – the ‘horse rider’
“Horses are Harriet’s love and profession, and having grown up in Rosedale she regularly makes use of the moorland to exercise her horses or just to enjoy a hack with friends.
Harriet said: “I am very lucky to have the moor on my doorstep, for horse fitness work, but also as a way of relaxing and for the escapism this unspoilt landscape offers.”
Rachel Robinson – the ‘glamper’
Rachel is a schoolteacher from Guisborough and visits the North York Moors on a regular basis. She has camped before but has treated herself to a ‘glamping’ upgrade this time and booked into a shepherd’s hut.
Rachel said: “I love the wide-open spaces and scenery. I have made good friends on my visits and relish the chance to escape Guisborough and my busy school.”
Dave Oakey – the ‘publican’ at The Coach House Inn, Rosedale Abbey
“Dave owns The Coach House Inn in Rosedale, a pub which is thankfully busy once again with hungry and thirsty customers.
Dave said: “There are twenty-odd businesses within Rosedale. A positive relationship exists between the picturesque honeypot villages and surrounding moors.
“People can quickly access the tranquil moor from our busy village – for walking, watching wildlife, and cycling.
“The moor and gamekeepers which look after it are an integral part of our community, while the balance between locals, visitors and wildlife is very important.”
The economic story
The estimated annual value of grouse shooting in England, Wales and Scotland is almost £100 million. It supports the equivalent of more than 2,500 full-time jobs. But there is a wider impact on the ground.
The trickle-down effects on the remote communities grouse moors tend to adjoin are huge. There are also a number of businesses that benefit from the landscape created by grouse moor management. The stunning purple, heather-clad moorlands are the backdrop for many diverse businesses.
Swales Honey is a North Yorkshire-based company that was established in 1975. Trevor Swales and his bees play a vital role in the pollination of the wild heather and other moorland plants growing on the managed moors, and the result is a sustainable source of delicious heather honey.
Trevor said: “We work closely with the local gamekeepers. The moorlands are crucial for our business to survive. Heather honey is our premium product.”
Based in Richmond, North Yorkshire, Dedito produce Italian-made outdoor boots and clothing. A quality pair of boots is key for a day spent exploring the moors and then looking the part in a cosy pub in the evening.
Owner Dario Martina said: “Without managed moorland, the variety of activities that people are able to enjoy on the moors would be greatly reduced. These activities are crucial to so many businesses with so many people involved.”
The Cycle Hub has been based in the heart of the North York Moors for the past three years. Yorkshire has proclaimed itself the proud ‘Capital of Cycling’ and the moorland landscape is a key part of the cycling experience.
The hub offers cyclists everything they could need in one of the UK’s real growth areas for the sport.
The bike shop manager, Neil Limb, said: “Since the Tour de France came through the moors, and with the annual Tour de Yorkshire, we have seen continued growth in cycling’s popularity.
“The fact you can ride from the urban environment up onto the iconic moors and to the coast in one day is a real attraction for cyclists.”
J Todd and Son
This is a one-stop shop for all your hardware, machinery and outdoor needs – a much-valued country store that stocks whatever you need to live, work or visit the moors and surrounding countryside.
Jill Newbould from J Todd and Son said: “Moorland management, shooting and conservation organisations are a crucial part of our business, and extremely beneficial to the local economy.”