Wuthering Moors 37 – if you go up on the moors today, you’re in for a big surprise


A track. Photo: Steve Downing
A kennel. Photo: Steve Downing
A stream. photo: Steve Downing


A grouse butt. Photo: Steve Downing
Footpath or track – you decide? Photo: Steve Downing


Would you say that was a car park? Does it need planning permission – I don’t know? photo: Steve Downing


Just another footpath - or is it a track? photo: Steve Downing
Just another footpath – or is it a track? photo: Steve Downing



Grouse butt in what looks to me like blanket bog.  Photo: Anon
Grouse butt in what looks to me like blanket bog. Photo: Anon
Another attractive grouse butt. Photo: Anon
Another attractive grouse butt. Photo: Anon



A grouse butt with an attractive view over a track. Photo: Anon
A grouse butt with an attractive view over a track. Photo: Anon










24 Replies to “Wuthering Moors 37 – if you go up on the moors today, you’re in for a big surprise”

  1. Within Special Protected Areas the normal permitted development rights are suspended. All of the tracks, butts and kennels will require planning consent. (Natural England cant grant them “consent”).

  2. The usual excuse for the track and car park, which is specifically created for lazy shooters who can’t be arsed to walk from the bottom of a hill, is to pretend that it is an essential part of grazing management at the site. So, a shepherd is “requested” to drive up the track with a sheep or two in a trailer and then release them. This tends to be done on the day the regulator assesses the destruction. The shepherd is then never seen again at the car park. Those grouse moor friendly regulators present are then able to say, “we saw evidence of the need for the track and car park for grazing management”, even though of course they saw no such thing.

  3. Walking is prohibited for Red Grouse shooters! They are so drunk they can not walk!! Hence the need for so many tracks to the butts. Did not notice one tree or any bracken! What a mono culture.

  4. Any sight of the EU commission response to DEFRA plus this photographic evidence or is it early days?

  5. Are these new tracks? or resurfacing of existing tracks – for example picture 5 seems to have a stile next to it and the gate does not look new, the others look to me like existing tracks that have been resurfaced – picture one looks very much like an old track, its called maintenance – you have to do it.

    what on earth is your argument against maintenance of existing tracks, which given the presence of a stile are likely to be rights of way – how often are they used, whats your data on disturbance factors by occasional use by estate vehicles over and above the permitted recreational use by walkers and cyclists?

    in fact what is your data that resurfacing an existing track which may be barely used creates any significant disturbance on wildlife or conservation at all – you seem to be predicating your whole argument on ‘oh my god – i can see it’ – well, thats really useful, but its hardly a coherent scientific argument to oppose it.

    Bradmet have recently resurfaced approx 1500 metres of pathways on ilkley moor, but you’re not screaming about that because its nothing to do with grouseshooting – miles and miles of roadways are being built on virgin moorland to service wind farms, that are built on huge concrete pads, but that doesn’t matter, because its all for the greater good, right? again, nothing to do with shooting.

    regards the butt in blanket bog – hmm, have you ever tried digging a hole in blanket bog? in my experience it fill with water pretty quickly, so no use as a butt.

    Sorry mark, but your arguments appear to be predicated around ‘these are to do with shooting so it s an outrage’ and nothing to do with the actual tangible effect or damage caused, patricianly if, as I would challenge, its merely maintenance of existing longstanding pathways.

    1. kie – you seem to be losing your cool and making up ‘my’ views as you go along now. I’ll let you cool off while I consider how and why some Martian put that grouse butt in what appears to be a blanket bog.

      1. Not losing cool – will happily simplify my question back to – if this turns out to be maintenance resurfacing of an existing track, what is your opposition?

          1. kie – do you know the answer?

            It’s not a weak answer – it’s a non-answer.

            It’s a fair question but it was wrapped up in a whole bunch of invective when you asked it, so you are on the naughty step for a while – and I have a book to write too!

            Why you think that you can ascribe a load of motives and views to me and then expect me to answer a question wrapped up in that nonsense I don’t know. Think again.

    2. “regards the butt in blanket bog – hmm, have you ever tried digging a hole in blanket bog? in my experience it fill with water pretty quickly, so no use as a butt”

      We had this problem in the early days however providing you have installed enough grips and drains to drop the water table then this should not be a problem.

    3. kie – picture 5 does have a gate/stile next to it. That may be because it is marked on the OS map as a footpath and not as a track. You don’t have to apologise but you should go away and feel foolish for a few moments.

      Interesting news about Ilkley Moor but a wholly incorrect assumption and aspersion on your part. I was unaware of it. Please let me know on which part of which SPA or SAC tracks are being built or, even better, start bringing the matter to the attention of conservation organisations and the authorities. Likewise, I’d be interested to know of any windfarm tracks, or indeed wind turbines, that have been built on SPA or SAC moorland. The whole point of environmental legislation is to protect sites from damage and that is what it should be doing.

      1. Mark – how much do you know about footpath law? – the width of the track has nothing to do with its legal status – the fact that you’re relying on it being a ‘footpath’ as different to a ‘track’ shows your complete ignorance of what you’re talking about – I could point you to ‘footpaths’ all over the uplands of the UK that are doubletracks, or even tarmac roads, that are legally ‘footpaths – in fact there’s a nice example down the side of Cow green reservoir NNR http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/2562041 – I can even show you routes with vehicular rights that have no track http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/3344288 – in fact, if you give me the grid reference where the photo you have relied upon to pooh-pooh my argument was taken, I’ll even try and dig out old aerial photos to show you what your ‘footpath’ looked like fifty years ago!

        Regards Ilkley moor:

        So, perhaps its you who may want to crawl into the foolish corner for a little while Mark?

        1. kie – I thought at first you seemed quite bright, but now I begin to wonder whether you are merely incorrigibly argumentative. That’s OK, I like argumentative. You were the one who seemed to think that the presence of a stile indicated that the track (it seems that we agree it looks like a track to both of us) must have been maintained, rather than upgraded. I understand from those who know the area well that it used to be what we mere mortals would have called a footpath but now, as you clearly can see because you agree with the description, it is a track.

          Did you like the photos posted today? It is almost as though someone shared your worries about getting their feet wet in a grouse butt and decided to dig some drainage ditches across the moor. Difficult to tell though, with my, admittedly miniscule, knowledge of footpath law, they might have been building a very wet track. What do you think?

          Do you support a football team? Which one?

          1. Come on, grid reference, so we can see what we’re talking about please Mark – you’ve made a lot of claims that as far as I can see are unsubstantiated, so if you’re saying the track has been ‘upgraded’ you won’t be shy in giving us the grid reference will you.

            The fact that the OS map listed it as a footpath says nothing about the width of the track, only the legal rights of access – since its got a gate on there thats far from new, I’ll maintain thats its an existing track thats been resurfaced, a quick look on the old maps with the grid reference will settle the argument for all, won’t it?

            Harrogate Town BTW

    4. It does not matter a jot whether there is the remains of an old footpath under the shiny new track or not, all those ditches have all been re-profiled and the butts and kennels are really new. This is categorical evidence of engineering works which would require planning permission….even if they had no significant impact on the favourable conservation of the site.
      When considering whether they could grant planning consent the proposals would be judged against the three tests:-
      I. The consented operation must be for “preserving public health or public safety or other imperative reasons of overriding public interest including those of a social or economic nature and beneficial consequences of primary importance for the environment”; and
      ii. There must be “no satisfactory alternative”; and
      iii. The action authorised “will not be detrimental to the maintenance of the population of the species concerned at a favourable conservation status in their natural range

      They aint gonna pass.

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