Our two Moors, Hardcastle & Heathfield, are located in Nidderdale, one of the smallest and most scenic of our Dales in North Yorkshire, cover approximately 4,000 acres near Greenhow just outside Pateley Bridge. Both Moors have SSSI status, Sites of Special Scientific Interest. Traveling from Pateley Bridge to Grassington on the B6265 the two moors are to your right before and after you travel through Greenhow Village with the entrance to Stump Cross Caves on the opposite side of the road being the extent of the boundary. The two moors are approximately 25 minutes drive from the shoot at Ripley Castle.
Heathfield Moor covers approximately 2,000 acres and is owned by Richard and Bernard Simpson, who farm the moor and other land towards Pateley Bridge.
The moor is practically wall to wall heather with a little bent grassland. It has been farmed and burned with due consideration to the quality of heather, which is not overgrazed, in order to achieve good breeding conditions for the grouse.
Acre for acre past records show this to be the most productive grouse moor in Nidderdale.
There are 6 lines of butts/pegs which will stand up to 10 guns giving a variety of 7 drives. This season I propose fielding 9 guns.
When I took the moor I was advised by some of my grouse shooting friends that the speed and sporting quality of the grouse on Heathfield Moor are the finest they had experienced anywhere. I now know this to be correct as on most days the grouse show us who is in control.
During 2006 with the agreement of English Nature, now Natural England, and with the financial assistance of my landlords we re-instated an old track across the moor from Merryfield Gill. We are now able to access the whole of both moors from the Shoot Box on Hardcastle Moor.
Our improvement plan for the Moor continues and during the summer of 2008, with the further financial assistance of my landlords we replaced a line of stone butts which had fallen into disrepair with a line of sunken butts, known as Merryfield Across. This has given us an additional very exciting drive.
During 2011 the owners entered into an HLS Scheme (Higher Level Scheme) which I hope by working closely with Natural England will not affect our grouse. So far everything is working well.
Dependant on the number of grouse we have, we may now shoot both moors on the same day, only shooting the drives with a surplus of stock.
For those of you who have shot Heathfield in the past, we now plan to access Heathfield from Hardcastle and NOT via the Pump House below Heathfield, as the track to the Shoot Box on Heathfield is only suitable for 4 x 4 vehicles.
I will keep everyone advised should these plans change.
George and I drove from the Hardcastle Shoot Box to where we park for the furthest drive on Heathfield, Long Drag, the distance by our moorland track is 5 miles.