Natalie Bennett (Green Party) signs
our Petition at Hen Harrier Day 2016

The Moorland Vision petition was launched at the 2016 Hen Harrier Day, and handed over to the National Trust on 1st August 2017.
By then we had collected:
  • Paper Petition:     1,308 signatures.
  • Online Petition:    5,279 signatures.
Our main intention was to capture real signatures from real people around Derbyshire. This we did by attending numerous local group meetings around the county, running petition stands in Edale village, Snake Pass, Fairholmes and in Derby.

Petition on the Pennine Way,
on the edge of the National Trust's
Hope Woodlands estate.

Tweet to @MoorlandVision from the National Trust, 11th Aug 2016

Below are just a few comments left by those signing the online petition, followed by a response from the National Trust to our petition.

William W. 
I am a member of the National Trust and [do] not wish to see our land used for driven grouse shooting, which I abhor.
Mike C
I have just signed this petition because I believe that managing land for grouse shooting is incompatible with the National Trust's vision for land, outdoors and nature.
 Nigel G
Representative groups gathered at the Snake Pass, Derbyshire,
 prior to handing over 5,000 signatures to the National Trust.
Not a compatible practice for the Trust's vision for its land and nature
Roland P. 
The Peak District is a fantastic area and should be for managed for the many and not for the selfish few and the destructive and often illegal regime that underpins management for Grouse shooting.

Graham L. 
NT needs to take responsibility for all wildlife and not support grouse shooting where it destroys wildlife.
Liz A. 
Important to protect wider environment and reduce carbon escape into atmosphere by avoiding intensive land management required for grouse-shooting. That's on top of avoiding the illegal killing of raptors and legal killing of many other birds and mammals done by gamekeepers. The environment and the creatures belong to all!
Elizabeth W.
The National Trust have been great revoking the licence for the tenant currently running the grouse shoot. It would be wonderful to try and see what could be done if the moor were managed for wildlife and how many species can be re-established, without the threat of persecution and with over-intensive moor management.

Paul B. 
Born Matlock bird photographer moorlands should;d be far richer and diverse
Stuart W. 
Grouse shooting and its management practices are not compatible with long-term restoration of the peat moorlands of the peak district.
Sally L. 
I believe the National Trust should be protecting and preserving the land and its natural wildlife.
Ralph S. 
Intensive grouse farming is incompatible with conservation! This small minority have got away with destroying our countryside for too long
Paula S.
Leasing to driven grouse-shooters encourages wildlife crime, not least the killing of birds of prey.
Wendy B. 
I'm a member of the NT. I regularly walk in the Peak District. I've seen that the peat restoration programme is working really well and I welcome that. The NT should be proud of what they have achieved for wildlife, the climate and water storage in the high peaks. But I'd love to see more. More mountain hares, more raptors and more small mammals. So why don't you go one step further and stop letting your land out to tenants who use the Peak District for driven grouse shooting?
Michael W. 
Our wildlife is more important than "sport" for a very small number of people
Nigel H. 
As a National Trust member, I believe they should protect out native wildlife, not the shooting fraternity who are destroying it in their greed.
Ann H. 
I am one of many people who care about the Derbyshire moorlands and want to see them managed positively for wildlife (and people) and not for a few rich shooters and at the expense of raptors, mountain hares, flooding downhill etc.
Susanna F. 
If the NT's famous motto "Forever, for Everyone" actually means sth they need to look at their policy of land 'management'. Commercial shooting is viciously cruel and environmentally damaging. The Trust should do the right thing and protect nature, not try and make the most money out of it - regardless of what that means for animals and the environment.
Jean A. 
I live locally & for years the skies above the Dark Peak empty of raptors have made me sad
Chris G. 
For a more natural Peak

Shortly after launching our petition, we received a tweet from the National Trust.
It was a worrying tweet in one respect, although it does demonstrate perfectly the need for our coalition of local environmental groups, and its campaign to influence the Trust's actions over the next 12 months.

It rather suggests an entrenched position on grouse-shooting, and also a failure to appreciate that the conflict between conservation and grouse-farming has already been well and truly demonstrated.

The Trust tells us (here) it has lost confidence in the ability of their current shooting tenant to deliver the NT's very laudable and most welcome vision for the High Peak (see here). There was, of course, a very compelling reason to conclude this when a video came to light of a man in camo gear with a gun and a decoy hen harrier on these same National Trust-owned land (watch it here).

And nationally the evidence is equally compelling. The science (here) tells us that there should be c.300 pairs of hen harriers breeding on England's grouse moors, but there are currently less then 3. No hen harriers successfully nested in England in 2016. (see RSPB report here)

That tweet also shows a reluctance by the NT (which we'd thought was a conservation charity) to move with the times. One might lightheartedly ask whether, had there been a history of bear-baiting on these moors, would the NT also wish to see this continuing?

The evidence has now become clear: Grouse-shooting, as a profit-making business, is not compatible with either conservation or with the rule of law. It relies on wildlife crime and extreme measures for predator control and over-management of habitats and vegetation to produce sufficient shootable surplus of grouse to turn a profit. Top predators (birds of prey) and other species (such as mountain hare) which interfere in rearing maximum numbers of grouse will continue to be removed by moorland managers, and wildlife crime will continue. One simple act - one simple decision  - not to re-appoint any new shooting tenant to the Hope Woodlands and Park Hall Estates would create a 6,000 hectare shooting-free enclave in which moorland habitat restoration could be carried out and deliver a rich, biodiverse and much more attractive landscape.

Almost - not quite, but almost - every square kilometre of Peak District moorland is currently managed for grouse-shooting. In fact, there are 1,220 shooting butts scattered across these moors. Only relatively small areas on the western side of Kinder Scout around the National Nature Reserve are free of them. But look at the map below. The shootings butts are shown as red guns - so close together they blur into red blobs. The purple areas are National Trust-owned land, whilst the darker purple is the two estates where our coalition is calling for no more shooting tenants to be appointed, following their eviction.

It's not a hard step to take, and would be a wonderfully simple experiment for the National Trust to undertake. Could they deliver better, restored habitats here without taking money from grouse-shooting tenants and avoid the inevitable conflict with conservation? Can the Trusts High Peak Vision be best delivered without the land being intensively managed just for grouse, so that they can later be shot for sport? We think so. And if they fail, they still have the option of bring them and their hired hands back again in, say, ten years time.

There are 220 shooting butts on National Trust land in the Peak District. If only these were to fall silent across Hope Woodlands and Park Hall National Trust estates, it would be a great step forward for conservation and landscape restoration. Any National Trust members who still felt the urge to go out and shoot a few brace of grouse wouldn't even be short of nearby options. The non-purple area of the map are all in private hands where shooting would still be available. But they might want to ask why have all the birds of prey disappeared from the Dark Peak. They might find some clues in the RSPB's 2006 and 2007 Peak Malpractice publications (here and here).

And here's a handy guide to what's involved in managing moorland for grouse-shooting.