Henry’s in Bowland, Lancashire, pondering whether he should visit the Abbeystead Estate.
The vast Abbeystead Estate is owned by trusts on behalf of Gerald Grosvenor, the 6th Duke of Westminster (another former vice president of the Game Conservancy Trust [now GWCT]).
Eleven years ago, Abbeystead Estate was one of several grouse-shooting estates that refused to sign a pledge to accept laws protecting the hen harrier. Abbeystead’s Estate Manager gave the following explanation:
“The Abbeystead estate’s view is that we already had the English Nature hen harrier recovery unit running for two or three years and we had been very supportive. Our police came to see us with this declaration to sign, which I was not going to do. We thought the whole thing very heavy-handed” (see here).
Martyn Howat, the then chairman of English Nature’s hen harrier recovery project, said: “On the Bowland fells, English Nature have a good relationship with the gamekeepers and managers of privately owned grouse moors, particularly the Duke of Westminster’s estate“.
For an eye-opening example of the good relationship between English Nature (now Natural England) and the Abbeystead Estate, here is a fascinating read.
Talking of Martyn Howat, that name rings a bell. Ah yes, here he is.