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COVID-19 and Rural Pursuits

For many country estates, rural pursuits provide very important income streams, here H&H Land & Estates discusses the guidelines for these activities taking place this season as a result of COVID-19.

From stalking and shooting to fishing and horse trials, rural pursuits have long been extremely popular within the UK. With two thirds of the UK’s land estimated as being used for fishing, shooting (or shooting-related) and other countryside activities, the arrival of COVID-19 has had widespread impact across the field. Many organisers have had to amend usual practices and risk assessments to incorporate important government guidelines, to allow for the safe commencement and continuation of each respective pursuit.

Tracey Jackson of H&H Land & Estates explained that they are involved in managing sporting estates and the changing guidelines has made the planning of events difficult this year, in particularly game shoots.  Tracey said: “The management of such well supported days will have to be carefully managed”.  We have recently learnt that shooting is exempt from the governments limit of six people meeting and is permitted as a sporting gathering to have up to 30 people.

Leanne Graves

Leanne Graves, Graduate Surveyor for H&H Land & Estates, discusses her personal experiences in taking part in rural pursuits in the Covid restrictions: “Credit has to be paid to the organisers, staff and volunteers of the shoot days and British Eventing (BE) events that I have partaken in so far this season. They have run well organised and safe days with admirable effort, while also managing to ensure the enjoyment of the respective sports”  Being an active member of BE) Leanne notes that individual event organisers are implementing guidelines with the aim of making the return to eventing as safe as possible. The key messages for them remain: wash hands and regularly use antibacterial hand-gel; adhere to social distancing guidelines; limit the number of supporters per rider and leave the event as soon as possible after completing.

“With the passing of the glorious 12th, the grouse shooting season is well underway with mixed reports from the North Pennines.  “As a member of a grouse syndicate, although we have seen a number of young birds we have reduced the number of planned days to leave a surplus of breeding birds. Grouse is a purely wild game and there are multiple factors that can affect the number of grouse seen in a season. This year many areas saw an extremely dry spring at the critical hatching time which made it difficult for young grouse to become established. However, grouse are resilient creatures and some birds will have been able to produce a second brood.”

Anyone hoping to enjoy rural pursuits this season must adjust to a ‘new normal’ for the foreseeable future, if every attendee plays their part and adheres to the implemented guidelines, it gives the best possible chance for the continuation of the planned calendars.

For further information, please contact H&H Land & Estates, North Lakes office in Carlisle, on 01228 406260.

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