Some of our first year Gamekeeping students have returned from their study tour in Teesdale, County Durham. They have been looking at red grouse management at some of the top estates in the country.
The ‘early birds’ in the group were out at first light to see black grouse on a lek site. This is a severely declining species in the UK, but the numbers are thriving in this area due to predator control and habitat management by the local gamekeepers.
Students were able to take part in heather burning, a vital part of habitat management in the uplands. Burning heather helps to release nutrients back into the soil and keep a varied age structure of heather which benefits the grouse and a whole host of wading species.
Among the students other activities on tour was rolling out specially designed matting which helps to protect the habitat. Once the vegetation has grown through the mat, ATVs are able to drive around without damaging the peat. They also built rail traps to help with predator control on the estate.