Save this paradise
With Bradford council now in charge of Ilkley Moor, Charles Hartley, who grew up in its shadow, will be watching it very closely indeed
Igrew up in an old farmhouse nestled in the shadow of Ilkley Moor, made famous by the eponymous folksong. In January, this corner of Yorkshire gained further notoriety with Bradford council’s decision not to renew its lease with the Bingley Moor Partnership (BMP), stopping the grouse shooting and active management currently completed by their keepers (News, 24 January).
Those who vilify shooting have declared this a huge victory and a step forward in an all-out ban on driven shooting. Even if they are wrong and this does not represent the first domino fall, I cannot see past the depressing concerns discussed by Matt Cross (It’s playing with fire,
2 May). In short, it does not look as if Bradford council can afford to manage the moor and it fails to tackle issues of predator control and heather burning; factors we see as essential for the survival of ground-nesting birds.
I have been given the task of documenting how the moor fares.
I am neither a journalist with a book to sell nor someone with a stake in whether shooting continues on the moor or not; I am merely a concerned bystander. I will admit to being a “shooting man” but if, over the coming years, I see a rise in numbers of wading species, birds of prey and grouse, I will not be welcoming back
Ilkley Moor can be broken into three sections, defined by topography; all factors such as human disturbance, flora and fauna seem completely defined by this.
spaniel, I charged towards the moor across the last grids of green field as the ground beneath me steadily rose; here all you will find are sheep, crows, woodpigeon and the odd escaped pheasant from one of the
brown hare and curlew have tried to establish populations here, with the hare being successful, but sadly the sight of a curlew is becoming a rarity.