Seven moorland locations across the North of England became countryside classrooms to over 1400 school pupils at this year’s ‘Let’s Learn Moor’ event, which was bigger and better than ever.
Building on previous success, BASC’s third annual event (1st – 4th July) took place simultaneously across seven regional locations including North York Moors, Nidderdale, Lancashire, Peak District, Yorkshire Dales, Northumberland and Cumbria.
The Yorkshire Dales Moorland Group took part in this free educational event on Grinton Moor which saw over 220 pupils from across 6 schools in rural and inner-city locations visit the Yorkshire Dales to learn more about the unique habitat and wildlife found on moorland.
Gamekeepers from local grouse moor estates were on hand to explain how moorland managed for grouse shooting plays a key role in preserving and enhancing the beautiful countryside. They explained the fragility of heather moorland, why it is rarer than the rainforest and how the UK possesses 75% of what is left of this globally recognised expanse.
Pupils also learnt how careful land management through the skill and dedication of gamekeepers has seen significant gains for some of the country’s most endangered ground-nesting birds. Grouse moors are vital to the breeding success of a third of the world’s curlew population found in the UK.
They also demonstrated how grouse shooting’s positive impact is not limited to conservation as during the season a regular flow of guests provide a much-needed economic boost to rural pubs, hotels and restaurants during the otherwise quieter autumn and winter months.
Sonya Wiggins, Yorkshire Dales Moorland Group coordinator, said: “Let’s Learn Moor is a great initiative organised by many of the top countryside organisations who continue to work together to make the countryside what it is and educate as to why it is so precious. The event is such a fun and engaging way to get young children out of the classroom and onto the moors to learn more about conservation efforts and the wildlife present in the beautiful countryside that they live in.”
BASC North regional officer Gareth Dockerty, who led the scheme, said: “Let’s Learn Moor has come a long way in three years, and is now a truly engaging project featuring over 30 partner organisations from gamekeepers and farmers, to national park authorities, conservation organisations and emergency services.
“The project would not be possible without the regional moorland groups coordinating the six separate events or without funding from BASC, Moorland Communities Trust and The Moorland Association. Let’s hope it continues to grow and thousands of children across the country get to have a free fun education day meeting the people and organisations who help protect the uplands for communities and nature”.
Over the course of the four-day event, four to eleven-year-olds took part in an active and educational experience thanks to support from over 30 partner organisations which included the National Gamekeepers Organisation (NGO), Countryside Learning, Yorkshire Water, Moors for the Future, three National Park and AONB authorities, to name but a few, alongside many local gamekeepers and farmers.
There were also talks from regional fire, police and mountain rescue services concerning the work they do and educating them on the dangers of wildfires and why BBQs and campfires are illegal on the moors.