The Bowland Grouse Moor Tragedy by Terry Pickford

Yesterday the 8th September began as just a normal day for Terry Pickford and a film cameraman on their visit to heather moorland in the Forest of Bowland. Terry was filmed talking about this years appalling loss of Hen Harriers and Peregrines from the  Bowland despite their protected status. Terry explained why in his opinion both species may now be lost for ever from this important moorland region of west Lancashire because of the Victorian attitudes shown towards both species by estate owners and their gamekeepers.


On the way home later in the day a confrontation caused by gamekeepers developed, at one point a gamekeeper driving a landrover attempted to run Terry Pickford’s vehicle off the road after he failed to block Terry  from driving on a public road. Several minutes later, possibly the same gamekeeper who had attempted to block Terry, maliciously accused the cameraman who had now joined Terry by the roadside of interfering with snares on nearby moorland. After vehemently denying the accusation saying it was a slur, the cameraman then invited the gamekeeper who had made the accusation together with three additional gamekeeper’s who had now arrived on the scene, to accompany him back to where the snares had been set to establish if any had been interfered with. The camera man’s invitation was recored being made several times on video but was declined by the accusing gamekeeper on each occasion the invitation was made.  This is where both Terry and the cameraman, aware that the gamekeepers were not interested in learning or seeing the truth, simply got back into their vehicle and drove home to avoid further antagonism.

The day ended when the cameraman driving home was stopped by police who then asked the cameraman to join the officer in his police car. It appears the police had been contacted by the gamekeeper stating there had been an incident in Lancaster involving a white fiesta. After the cameraman had explained he had not been in Lancaster at all and that he had  been driving a different colour and make of vehicle in the Forest of Bowland the officer asked the cameraman to explain his side of the story and what had actually occurred. After the officer had viewed real time video footage of the events which took place he was quite satisfied there no further action necessary and thanked the cameraman for his cooperation before driving away.


The curse and cruelty of animal snaring


A fox trapped by an illegal snare.


A Badger trapped by an illegal snare

rat in trap-1

A rat trapped in a funnel trap. The rat shown trapped at the top of the page was left to rot for several weeks.

10 comments to The Bowland Grouse Moor Tragedy by Terry Pickford

  • Stuart Pryor

    Thanks for keeping us informed Terry, you do a superb job in very difficult circumstances. The situation in Bowland is absolutely disgraceful,and tragic ,not just for the birds themselves but for everyone who enjoys seeing the birds in their home environment. The people who make the law should also abide by the law,

  • Kathleen Patrick

    Huge admiration for your work in Bowland, Terry. What is happening is heartbreaking.

  • Is there not a case for the gamekeeper who made the false report to be charged with wasting police time? It would seem you need to equip your car with cameras and even doing so for yourself.

  • paul williams

    I would just like to ask, Was there an army of Gamekeepers out on our Hen Harrier Protest Day? No there wasn’t! Too many witnesses? We walked passed a few traps on the way to the Gun Butt for our picnic, PS..No traps were interfered with.

  • Brian Leecy

    This absolutely disgraceful situation cant get any worse than 2016,and though it all seems so futile.We all must keep the Pressure on by Writing to our M P’s, Mark Averys Petition to Ban Driven Grouse Shooting at least gives us a glimmer of hope,and it’s quite amazing we are going to have it even debated in Parliament at all ! Judging by some M P’s standard letters of response which I have seen ,and are beyond pathetic,we should urge them we will not be fobbed off ,and we want to be heard.Its certainly going to be a long hard slog,but a lot can be gained with Sheer People Power,just look at the Mass Trespass on Kinder Scout all those Years ago,nobody gave them a chance .I really want to Thank Terry Pickford and the North West Raptor Team for all those Years of toil in Bowland ,a lot of People would have thrown in the towel long long ago !

    Editor’s Comment. Brian we have notified Terry of your kind words, he thanks you from the bottom of his heart for your thoughtfulness.

  • adam

    Well done Terry and the cameraman! I’d love to see a tv documentary that shows the brutal mass cruelty and slaughter that takes place on Grouse moors, to be shown some day soon.Or a big article with photos in the Daily mirror who are anti hunting. Will there be a planned protest against Grouse shoots in London when it will be debated? I would be well up for that. In regards to walking past animal traps, I personally wouldn’t. I sadly witnessed a Dog die in a snare once as I ran to help it after hearing it yelping, but I couldn’t get to the poor thing quick enough as it strangled itself to death. If I walk past a trap/snare then I leave it to wait for it’s next poor suffering victim, I’d rather not do that.

  • What a refreshingly honest assessment of the dire state of our moorlands by a raptor workers who care so deeply. Well done, Terry. Keep it up!

  • richard hobson

    As a teenager in the 1970s, I worked on a farm nearby and was a grouse beater over 3 years,perhaps 5 times in total. It was common then to find poisoned eggs and carcases left for raptors and corvids in the area..and even badgers setts were destroyed `because a fox may share the tunnels`. Remember once the estate gamekeeper telling us lads that a harrier had been seen in the valley running up from Dunsop Bridge….` They are protected, and we DO take the law seriously…`He said. `And if anyone sees one…let me know straight away.` The second sentence was said with a big grin, and a slow wink, to make his meaning clear. Seems little has changed….

    Editor’s Comment. Thanks for this Richard, and you are correct nothing much has changed. Question, would you be prepared to write a few paragraphs describing your experiences and submit them to RP for publication? Your name would not be published. You can send any information to us using the ‘Contact Us’ link on this site. Editor

  • James

    I was walking in catshaw greave last week and discovered a trap. I’ve never seen any traps before and – partly out of curiosity, partly out of distaste for killing animals – poked one of them with a dead piece of heather. Very nasty – I was a bit shocked by the force of the trap.

    I wondered about the rights and wrongs of trapping and setting off other people’s traps. Then further down stream I discovered another trap containing a newly trapped stoat. I made up my mind straight away really: If I see another trap, I’ll do the same thing.

    Editor’s Comment. James have you seen the new article on Raptor Politics?

    • James

      Thanks for pointing that new story out Editor. I can hardly believe it. The trap shown in the photo is a lot like the ones I saw in catshaw greave, only with the trap on top of the log and inside the wire mesh cage.

      I don’t know who the local MP is for Bowland – I guess he or she might be in on the act too though. Might try to contact him/her.