Lord Peel appealing about Yorkshire’s biggest day

Today the 22nd November, Lord Peel is having a meeting with Yorkshire Tourism, Yorkshire Dales National Park, Highways and more. His Lordship it appears is concerned wildlife may be disturbed/damaged by the tens of thousands of spectators as they watch the 2014 Tour de France as cyclist pass moorland he owns in scenic Swaledale north Yorkshire.


Image by John Patrick: http://www.newfocusphoto.com/

The morlands in question are specially protected by several habitat notifications and the tramping of public feet along the public roads may damage that status it is being claimed! His Lordship could not be talking about his beloved Red Grouse can he? Lord Peel as it happens is the president of the Game conservancy Trust. Disappointingly the moorland he owns in Swaledale no longer contains any breeding Hen Harriers or Peregrines!

The date of the race which Lord Peel is so concerned about is 5th July 2014, when Yorkshire’s red grouse are awaiting their immanent execution by sportsmen just 5 weeks later on the 12 August. Keeping their stress levels low is very important to ensure populations are not unduly disturbed before they are despatched.


Shooting red grouse for sport in the uplands of England has resulted in the almost total elimination of so called ‘protected’ raptors from these regions.

 Hang on a minute, 5th July, what additional moorland species will still be incubating eggs at that time of year?  Answer – none at all. Even wader species, if any exist on the moorland so late in the season, will be heading away from the moor to look for food elseware. Is Lord Peel perhaps going to ask for financial compensation from the tax-man for the disturbance of birds like Hen Harrier or Peregrine as a result of the race, which as we know no longer breed on moorland he owns? On the other hand his Lordship may feel his red grouse may be upset by the sight of so many visitors so close to his grouse moor!

It must be the publics’ fault because these rare species are not breeding on his moor! What about Natural England – if this region has so many scientific designations for its protection, should they be the ones complaining about any possible damage caused by the race competitors or the public?

Perhaps making a complaint at this stage about the races impact on such a remote moorland location, his Lordship may be able to add to his fortunes from the tax payer. Any compensate he receives for his inconvenience he can then afford to pay keepers to kill ‘avian vermin’ that threatens his Red Grouse stocks.

All in all any moves to seek damages or changes to the route taken by the Tour de France through Sawledale next year may impact on the £millions which will flow into Yorkshire because of this prestigious event.

Significantly, we think you will find moorland  in Swaledale owned by his Lordship is ‘Open Access’ which means any Tom, Dick or Harry can walk on his land at any time unless he claims special privileges. Well he is a Lord you know!!

7 comments to Lord Peel appealing about Yorkshire’s biggest day

  • harrier man

    Pity for him arrogance beyond words.

  • Circus maxima

    If only the Tour good be sponsored by “The Famous Grouse”, the irony would be complete.

  • nirofo

    Is he any relation to the John Peel who used to go off with his hounds in the morning, nothing seems to change for the better does it? They didn’t care much for the wildlife then, it seems the wildlife these days is RED GROUSE, RED GROUSE and RED GROUSE, did I mention RED GROUSE. It seems it’s the only thing they care about !!!

  • Lydia Massiah

    I holidayed in Swaledale last Easter with my family. The vast numbers of curlew, golden plover, lapwing, even nesting oystercatchers were impressive, while we also saw a good number of ring ouzels who were passing through in an extremely cold spring. It did strike us how strange the bird life in the Dales was though.

    We live in Somerset where buzzard numbers are extremely high, where peregrines are easy to see -I know of two nests – and marsh harriers are a common sight on the levels. Hen harriers visit in the winter. Yet of course in Swaledale we never even saw a buzzard the whole time we were there.

    What we did see were millions of rabbits. The grass was eaten to its roots by them, and everywhere you looked there were rabbits, including many dead ones, killed by the cold. But nothing ate them. In Somerset there are good numbers of ravens, as well as the usual corvids to feast on such carrion. How on earth do farmers in the Dales put up with such high rabbit numbers? Buzzards, badgers etc eat them in the South West so their numbers are much more controlled. Rabbits in the Dales seemed to be very confident as they presumably lack all predators. Visiting the Dales for the first time was an eye-opener because we realised, lovely as it was, how birds of prey just had to have been eliminated. And it was shocking that something like that was still occurring so blatantly.

  • joe wilson

    On 2 July My wife and I were prevented from parking our motorhome on the east side of the road between Bellerby cross roads and Grinton by a VERY aggressive and intimidating game keeper. We tried to reason with him that we were parked on the MOD side of the road at least a metre from the metaled surface to no avail. We are fully self contained and had hoped to enjoy one of one of the great sporting events in the world. We were glad that his wife was with him otherwise I would have feared violence.
    We appreciate that his concern is for his business, however for the good of everybody a little common sense should have been applied.

  • Pied Fly

    As a local of the Yorkshire Dales, it was good to see a genuinely interesting spectacle, with the vast number of visitors generally behaving well and respectfully.
    Whilst I have no love for the Red Grouse moor industry, of concern to me is the fact that a new, annual Tour de Yorkshire is scheduled for the May bank holiday weekend from May 1-3 2015. That really would disturb our precious moorland wildlife, particularly our upland waders, if not policed correctly. A totally inappropriate time of year. What will Natural England do about it?

    Editor’s Comment. Its not the cycling we should be concerned about. The negative impact on upland waders, red grouse and protected raptors caused by cycling on moorland roads is nil. It is the illegal actions of estate gamekeepers we need to worry about. The financial return generated by the Tour de France in just two days has already generated millions of pounds for the economy of Yorkshire, far greater than the shooting industry could ever hope to achieve. The proposed Tour de Yorkshire would do the same.

  • Pied Fly

    Agreed that the cycling has many positive benefits for Yorkshire. However, when the crowds are tens deep spilling onto the moor, surely this will have potential negative impacts on the wildlife?

    Editor’s Comment. We could argue what wildlife? Certainly no damage would be done to nesting birds because they rarely breed near or adjacent to roads. In any case we doubt that the public on mass would venture far from the road.