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

Shooting Times & Country Magazine - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

Rare sight­ing

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.

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