Grouse moor management

Sir loin

North Yorkshire
Burning already banned on blanket bog and you rarely can get on with a tractor to chop. Re wilding by the back door I'm afraid. Will become useless for grouse and sheep very quickly.

Purli R

Yep,burning banned here,English nature "Just sign this bit of paper agreeing to stop burning then we will renew your stewardship scheme" Flailing banned on neighbouring moor also.


Plenty of ling has been flayed where the terrain is suitable. But expert burning possibly releases less carbon than driving up and down with a narrow flail mower with a diesel-powered tractor.

Regardless of what the environmentalists claim, a well-managed heather moor with regular burning benefits not only grouse, but also sheep and birds of various kinds (Golden plover, Snipe, Curlew). And it also helps reduce the risk of wild fires, and avoids the serious damage where uncontrollable fires get into the peat.

And if we really wanted to increase the diversity bird life on heather moors, we should allow grants for liming and reseeding small patches with suitable grass/clover/herb mixes - even if if they have to be fenced off from sheep which are only allowed access at certain times.

exmoor dave

exmoor, uk
Zero grouse shooting in this neck of the woods, but burning is a important part of moor management.

Cutting and burning aren't really comparable- a decent burn takes the scrub down quickly and cheaply and more importantly breaks up the years of thatch/ litter that has formed since the last burn, depositing a layer of ash ready for the start of the plant succession process, beginning with the grass that now has the space and sunlight to grow with the fresh heather.

Flailing/ swiping just deposits more litter on top of what is already there, still better than doing nothing, but the recovery/ regrowth after cutting is much slower

Dry Rot

Livestock Farmer
I bred and trained English pointers for years and working these dogs is the best way to see where grouse are and what they are doing. If burning is done right, grouse numbers can increase dramatically -- and fires don't get away because they run into the next burnt strip. All stages of heather growth are needed and in a cheque board pattern. Most gamekeepers burn long old heather, but coming off the moor in a really bad thunder storm I had to walk through some of this heather, waist high. Covey after covey rose in front of me, all sheltering from the storm which was quite severe. I knew one keeper on a big moor who used to do a lot burning single handed. He'd burn into the banks of snow in the spring and never had a fire get away on him. Sheep compete directly with grouse as they both graze on the heather shoots and grazing needs balancing carefully. On the other hand, sheep fertilise the moor, grazing just needs careful management. You don't learn this sort of stuff in the class room.


Long heather is no use for anything. A mix of short and long is much better for all kinds of wildlife. Deer graze short Heather and flies and bugs that live of their droppings provide food for all kinds of birds. This is complete BS coming from environmentalists.

Anyway if I flail 10 acres the cut Heather will breakdown and release carbon PLUS the sh*t load of diesel burnt. Burning 10 acres releases the same carbon minus the diesel. Burning is more environmentally friendly

CHAP Webinar - Innovative tools to overcome the challenges of Regen Ag

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Applying principles of regen ag can incur a range of on-farm challenges. Learn how innovative tools & machinery can help with these hurdles.

This event will be held online from 1pm to 2pm on Thursday 2nd December 2021 so please block it out in your diary.

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