Hen Harrier Day in the Peak District – 10 August 2014

Hen-Harrier-Day-300pxI can provisionally announce that our Hen Harrier Day rally will take place in the Upper Derwent Valley based at the Fairholmes Visitor Centre.

Having consulted local people and the Peak District National Park itself, and having been advised by them, the Fairholmes Visitor Centre car park seems the best bet for us to gather at 10am for a group photograph by the Derwent Dam.

These arrangements are provisional at the moment as discussions continue with the relevant people.  10am (rather than, for example, midday) has been chosen to lessen the impact on the area’s car parks as a Sunday in August might well be a busy one (but less so if it is tipping down with rain).

There is some nervousness from Severn Trent staff about the number of people who might attend such an event but without naming the time and the place it is impossible for me to give Severn Trent the information they seem to want. They do want a lot of information – they have sent me an enormous form to fill in. I’m fairly sure that other visitors to the Peak District don’t have to fill in forms – oh well!

The provisional plan is to have a group photograph in front of the Derwent Dam at 10am – there is a suitable patch of grass just in front of it (see below).

Although Severn Trent seem a bit nervous about visitors coming to their visitor car park and buying coffees and ice creams from their visitor centre I am nervous about whether I will be standing in front of the Derwent Dam on my own!  It probably won’t be the case as 85 of you have already registered your intention to come and this is the first time that you have known when and where.

If you would like to attend a peaceful rally in the Upper Derwent Valley at 10am on 10 August, and be photographed in a crowd of people, to express your opposition to the killing of Hen Harriers then please register through this link so that I can keep everybody up to date.

Here are some photos of the site BUT SCROLL TO THE BOTTOM FOR SOME EXCITING NEWS

Buy your ice creams here
Buy your ice creams here
A small part of the car park - with ducks
A small part of the car park – with ducks


The Derwent Dam - will I be standing on this patch of grass on my own feeling foolish?
The Derwent Dam – will I be standing on this patch of grass on my own feeling foolish?


JUST CONFIRMED – Chris Packham has said he will be standing on this patch of grass at 10am on 10 August to show his support for the threatened Hen Harrier and his disgust at the level of illegal persecution of this magnificent bird.


Please register through this link if you want to be standing next to Chris Packham on this day.








39 Replies to “Hen Harrier Day in the Peak District – 10 August 2014”

  1. I wish we could go, for the right reason, to support hen harriers,but unfortunately will be on holiday at that time. Also because my 9 year old son Jack thinks Chris Packham is the best person on the planet !
    Thank you for doing this, I truly hope it Is the major success
    it deserves to be and I will keep tweeting to help you reach 100000 signatures.
    Best of luck,
    Samantha Farrell

    1. Samantha – thank you for all your tweets and RTs – much appreciated. Would have been nice to thank you in person – another time…

  2. I’ll be there, together with my better half.

    I guess my WeBS survey will have to wait until Monday!

  3. Im guessing Geoff Ayre and NT will be showing you around Howden moor after all? I wonder how many raptors you will see in the Derwent Valley, not many I suspect!

  4. Mark

    I too will be on holiday with family in France but I sincerely hope the hard work pays off and some positive results arise. I hope some MPs/ MEPs join in too.


  5. I will have to be with you in spirit and hope you get a large crowd. Sure you will as people are so upset at these crimes against wildlife. I will continue tweeting and retweeting. If you think of anything else that can be done by people unable to get to the Peak District please let us know. I signed the petition straight away of course.

  6. Hi Mark

    We will be there to keep you company!!

    Looking forward to it

    Sue & Chris Green

    1. Derek – I know. I only heard about that y’day from RL. Think of us and we’ll think of you! very best wishes mate.

  7. Mark.

    A Massive well done on all your achievements so far on this campaign & petition (singed ages ago via Twitter) Such injustices you regularly, passionately & tirelessly campaign about need to be brought to the fore. And what a fantastic place to do it. Now is the time to be seen and heard because time is running out for Hen Harriers. The more people who become aware of this injustice, the more pressure will be put on our Government to act. I just hope that this doesn’t happen too late.

    Perhaps the next step in television advertising by the RSPB, should be to show the devastation of persecution of birds of prey. RSPCA, WWF campaign in this way for animals. It makes sense that RSPB do the logical thing and follow suit in order to raise a wider awareness on this very urgent situation.

    I would really like to be able to get down to the Derwent Dam, a lovely place I have walker around in yrs gone by, but sadly I have no transport & no lift available. (Unless anyone is going from Calderdale, W Yorks & wants to give us a lift!?)
    Otherwise, all the best & good luck, hope you all attract a lot of attention and media attention. Who knows, maybe even the BBC.


  8. I suggest you reserve your criticisms for the people who persecute birds of prey not the hard working ST team in the Upper Derwent who work hard to protect the landscape. Their policy on large organised visits is partly because it’s a very busy place (would RSPB agree to a similar sized anti nuclear protest at Minsmere?) and partly to avoid large groups disturbing moorland birds. It’s your protest and to allow you to focus on what matters to you I advise you to cooperate with and respect STW.


    1. Jim – thank you for your advice. For those who don’t know, you are the Chief Executive of the Peak District National Park (and a former colleague at the RSPB too).

      As you know, Jim, in your very helpful email to me of 10 June this site was one of those that you suggested we consider for this ‘event’. The Upper Derwent Valley was actually top of your list although you didn’t say that the few sites listed were in any particular order. Everyone I have spoken to locally suggested that this was the most appropriate place for people to come together for a few minutes in order to express their opposition to illegal killing of birds of prey.

      It’s not really an event anyway – it’s a bunch of people visiting somewhere and having their photograph taken at the same time. And we can’t tell whether it will be a large non-event or a small non-event until we tell people where and when it might be as I have just done.

      I have, or I will, contact all of the people you suggested I should contact and intend to be entirely cooperative.

      I don’t think there are any moorland birds to disturb on that patch of grass by the Derwent Dam.

      If Severn Trent wish to limit visitor numbers on 10 August I assume they will do so for all visitors and not just those who want to have their picture taken by a large dam.

      Thank you for your comment and your help with this. I know you personally feel strongly about bird of prey persecution; this is a quote from your excellent blog:

      ‘The three species for which there is a big problem in the Dark Peak are, however, peregrine, goshawk and hen harrier where the evidence is, sadly, that illegal persecution is holding back the population and the conflict with some grouse moors is evident.

      I condemn illegal persecution. The National Park Authority condemns illegal persecution and we will always report evidence of persecution to the police and are working with all of the agencies and organisations to try to address this. Some progress is being made, but I regret that more effort is required.’ http://jimdixon.wordpress.com/2014/05/10/birds/

  9. Hi Mark,

    I’ll be there, well done for organising this. I’ll gladly treat you to a double flake 99!

    All the best,


  10. Two of us are definitely going to be there. It used to be my local National Park and it’s shocking that bird of prey persecution goes on there – or anywhere come to that. I agree about the RSPB – I wish they would mount a very high profile campaign with TV advertising about this. This Government must be made to act – though as it appears to be conducting a war on wildlife on all fronts, maybe we will have to wait until after the next election.

  11. Derwent is a good choice. Let’s hope we get a fly past of harriers (of the feathered variety of course).

  12. Hi Mark,
    Is there still likely to be events in other locations on the 10th or is this now a single gathering? Sorry to say but I don’t think I’ll be able to join you this time due to work commitments but I haven’t given up hope just yet…If there is still a parallel protest planned in N. Yorkshire I may be able to sneak along…Keep up the good work, this has to be stopped.

    1. Tim – yes, four other Hen Harrier Day events are planned. I will update on thesse next Monday. They are in Lancashire (the Forest of Bowland), Cumbria, Northumberland and Yorkshire.

  13. My registration is for two people, though only one will be shown on the registration form (the number can’t be changed).

  14. ‘and partly to avoid large groups disturbing moorland birds’. Oh, Well what happens on the 12th August!! They get shot!! No wonder you left the RSPB!

  15. Hi Mark,

    My other half, young son and myself will be attending to show our support. How much publicity are you hoping to get? By that, I mean, should I be making placards to bring and wave around?!!

  16. I’m shouting from all the rooftops around here (Chesterfield) to try and get people to come along. I help look after a woodland site just around the corner from Derwent Dam, it over looks the moorland, what a stunning place it is. Shame about about the ugly things that go on there.

  17. Sadly I am not able to make it, but very best wishes to all.

    I think, that whilst the ‘action’ will send a message it will also see like-minded people networking and that can always be useful and it would have been that aspect of the gathering I would have enjoyed as much as taking a stance and ‘demonstrating’ commitment to a too long ignored problem. It would have been great to meet you and other regular contributors to your blog.

    Very best to all and I look forward to seeing reports of the peaceful protest in due course.

    To Jim D, you know what they say about publicity …. so unless peaceful protest is provoked why should there be an issue? I can’t for the life of me imagine that Mark won’t have undertaken a full ‘Risk Assessment’, made the necessary contacts etc. If resultant publicity raises the profile of Hen Harrier and raptor persecution in general, then bring it on. What Packham did for the Maltese Migration Massacre, MA is doing for HHs & raptors! We should support them because diplomacy has thus far failed?

  18. Sadly 10/8 is also my daughter’s 5th birthday so I don’t see myself being able to attend; all the very best to everyone who gets involved though.

    It would be great if those who criticised Chris Packham earlier this year for putting some of his energies into campaigning against the illegal killing of migratory birds in Malta (rather than focussing more directly on persecuted birds closer to home) follow his excellent lead and commit to being there.

  19. One more for the photo. Off to Langholm next week to see how the English moors should look like, full of harriers.

  20. I will be there and possibly one other, just been waiting for confirmation of location and this is closer for me than Forest of Bowland.

  21. Well done for all your campaigning so far mark, l will be there on 10/8/2014, all my harriers simply didn’t return last winter in co Durham I wonder why.
    Independent raptor researcher
    Co Durham.

  22. With Chris Packham there you might be able to get press interest. Would it be a good idea to name and shame estates where hen harriers have been killed and their nests destroyed?

  23. Unfortunately I am working that day, would have loved to come over the hill from Chapel-en-le-Frith. Good luck with this campaign.


  24. I’m hoping to be there supporting the campaign Mark, going to travel up from Plymouth to show our support.
    Greg and Roger

  25. So sorry I can’t be there as I will be driving Conservation Volunteers and protecting a badger sett from baiters.
    Those attacking birds of prey are scum and need to see that the public are onto their crimes. We need a law of vicarious liability to get the blame put where it belongs, with the top brass.

    1. Sorry the gathering is “full”. I suppose it isn’t worth trying to arrive as a member of the public to the ST site? I may even try and sneak in to swell the numbers. I hope you get all the publicity that the illegal activities deserve.

      1. Richard – the Peak District is open to visitors. Every extra car makes it more likely to be chaos. lift share or public transport would be perfect. plenty of space on the grass – not much in the car parks. Get to the access road and I’m sure there will be plenty of people willing to give a lift.

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