The grouse season got under way today, with shooting parties taking to the moors of England for the opportunity to enjoy the ultimate sporting challenge on the Glorious Twelfth, the first day of the season.

Grouse shooting is worth £67.7 million a year to England’s economy and supports over 1,500 full-time jobs.

A shooting party took to the hills on a moor in North Yorkshire, amidst the beauty of the Wensleydale countryside, hoping for a good day, following on from the challenges of the past two years.

Adrian Thornton-Berry, a moorland manager and sporting agent in Yorkshire, said the season unites communities and protects the landscape as well as generating revenue in rural areas: “The Glorious Twelfth is a tradition that brings people together across the uplands of England and for many is the absolute highlight of the year.


“Every season visitors from all over the UK, Europe and further afield come to enjoy the beautiful heather moorlands and celebrate this tradition. As well as the economic impact, the sport enables year-round investment in conservation for the benefit of moorland species and protection of the peatlands.  Managing the moors for red grouse is good for people, good for nature and good for local businesses.” 

One such business is The Inn at Whitewell, a beautiful 16th century former coaching inn in the Forest of Bowland, which employs 54 full-time staff and 30 part-time staff.

The owner, Charles Bowman, said there is huge excitement and interest from people looking forward to eating grouse as soon as the season starts:

“Calls come in from the first day of the season, asking if we have grouse on the menu, it is a big hit with customers. Last year we sold 132 grouse in one week, which is our record!”

Rural businesses and the local community benefit from the sporting seasons, according to Mr Bowman:

“The grouse and pheasant seasons are really good for business, generating bookings for meals and accommodation from August all the way through to December.

“The local community unites around the sporting season, it brings everyone together.  I would say that more people shoot now than ever before. I’ve lived in this valley my whole life and it seems to me there are more shoots than there have ever been.”

The grouse season runs from Saturday August 12 to Saturday December 10.


Red grouse are entirely wild birds, with only the surplus harvested for the plate and a sustainable population left on the hill to breed again the following Spring. 

Land managers report that the prospects for the season in England are mixed, with good numbers of birds reported on the moors of Teesdale and County Durham, especially on the high ground. The Yorkshire Dales also report good prospects while other areas are likely to be less fortunate.

A report published this week concludes that moorland managed for grouse shooting provides greater environmental, social and economic benefits than any alternative land use.

Written by Professor Simon Denny, formerly of the University of Northampton, and reviewed by Professor James Crabbe from the University of Oxford, the new report ‘Sustainable driven grouse shooting?’ assessed grouse moor management against the definitions set out by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).