Wuthering Moors 9

Steve Downing, Chairman of Calderdale Raptor Study Group said,

“At the beginning of August 2010 I visited Walshaw Estate with a friend looking for merlin, short-eared owls and hobby. Whilst we were there we noticed that a stream appeared to have been diverted and converted into a vehicle track, a separate track on another part of the Estate had been significantly extended and surfaced, the main stream through the clough appeared to have been re-enforced and a large number of new wooden shooting butts had been installed at several locations across the Estate. This Estate, in the South Pennine SPA, forms part of the local SSSI and we raised concerns with Natural England that these changes to the landscape could be ‘Operations likely to damage the SSSI’.”

“I now understand from NE that the prosecution case in relation to the potentially damaging changes to the SSSI has also been abandoned as part of the new management agreement. Why?”

The Calderdale Raptor Study Group, many Natural England staff and some in the wider conservation community also await Natural England’s and Defra’s response to this question.

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3 Replies to “Wuthering Moors 9”

  1. Your leaving no stone unturned here mark and that's superb. You will deserve a medal if you uncover the truth in this whole rotten mess!

    Given Mr Downings observations, if NE have failed to prosecute and get the land owner to restore the features, they need hauling over the coals to explain their actions and why they have such a cosy relationship with the estate now.

    Is anyone else asking these important questions of NE and DEFRA such as NGO's? Not heard a lot about it in the press.

    1. Gongfarmer - thank you. I suspect that others are asking questions but I don't know for sure.

  2. My comments to you last year refer. For most of last year most of my walking was in the upper Colden Valley area and down into HB exploring old industrial sites. I thought that this year I would spend more time enjoying the 'Walshaw Moor' area again. I walked up the tarmac. track up to, and then around the three Walshaw reservoirs and then over what was the permissive track to Horodiddle and Walshaw and then down into the Craggs. On my whole walk, the only wildlife I saw other than a few grouse were a pair of mallards in the sediment pool at the head of the upper reservoir.
    Since my last walk there sometime in 2012, a number of new grouse buts have been constructed. Looking at my map these would appear to have replaced earlier ones to the NE of the track. They stretch for a distance of maybe 1/3 mile. The ground to the side of them has been what I would describe as scarified and rolled flat. Similarly the same treatment has been applied to the land either side of the track from just beyond the summit of High Rake for a distance of about 1/2 mile towards Walshaw and for a width of maybe 80 yards on each side of the track.
    In both instances I cannot help wonder about the nest sites of the ground-nesting birds we are warned about, or are The Estate only really interested in grouse. So far as I could see the whole estate was a picture of multi-coloured strips where the ground has been burnt or scarified/rollered. You could see evidence of vehicle tracks all over the place.
    The day of my walk started wet but then fined- off, the clouds broke up and this was followed by large breaks in the clouds with decent periods of sunshine. I should have been in a good mood. Sadly I was most depressed. I have been walking these moors for well over 50 years, long before Right to Roam; I used to be able to run if necessary but in fact never had any problems when encountering Lord Savilles men, merely exchanging a 'good morning' on my part and a hard stare on theirs; happy days!. Frankly I have no wish ever again to walk this area. I found the whole experience distasteful. I am not anti- shooting, used to shoot rabbits when I was younger, and enjoy pheasant and grouse when I can persuade Mrs. M to buy them. I know why these estates exist but it seems as though Mr. B. has completely gone over the top. About the only saving grace on this visit was that, unlike the last time I reported, I saw no poisoned fresh rabbit carcases strategically placed. Parts of the 'permissive' track had been made- good with recycled road dressing, parts of which had become rutted with recent rains; how long before this becomes tarmacked? Jayem


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