Gamekeepers trespassing on conservation areas have been thwarted by the intervention of wildlife-championing landowners in Nidderdale.
Ban Bloodsports on Yorkshire’s Moors became aware this spring of repeated trespass attempts by gamekeepers in the Thruscross and Timble areas of the Washburn Valley dating back to 2018, including the suspected setting of self-locking snares in Hanging Wood.
Intelligence and advice provided by BBYM has resulted in two corporate landowners coming to an agreement with the estate to which the gamekeepers are attached, forbidding any future access by gamekeepers to the landholdings in question.
Luke Steele, Spokesperson for Ban Bloodsports on Yorkshire’s Moors, said:
“The Countryside and Rights of Way Act gives clear powers to landowners to deny gamekeepers entry to open access land and ‘stop notices’ can also be used as an effective deterrent.
“We welcome the pro-active response taken by landowners in the Washburn Valley to trespass by gamekeepers into areas ring-fenced for wildlife and habitat conservation. There is no doubt these timely interventions will prevent wildlife from coming to harm and send a clear message that gamekeepers must not enter land where they are not permitted.”
Washburn Valley is one of the top flash-points for wildlife crime in North Yorkshire, with 22 reported incidents of bird of prey and badger persecution since 2002, including multiple red kites having been found poisoned and shot.
Evidence reports prepared by the Nidderdale AONB and Yorkshire Dales National Park have made clear that bird of prey persecution in the Washburn Valley is preventing red kites from populating these important conservation landscapes, despite a successful reintroduction scheme nearby at Harewood. Other species, including goshawk and peregrine falcon, are absent without any natural explanation.
Luke Steele adds:
“If wildlife crime or gamekeeper trespass is suspected we encourage people to contact our moorland monitoring tip-off line, anonymously if they wish, on 07591 380688, or to call the police on 999 if a crime is in progress.”
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