Ilkley Moor is crucial to the economic well-being of the region. The result of disruption to the moor was felt hardest when the area was closed off during the foot and mouth crisis, which resulted in tourism taking a massive hit.
Whilst the negative impact caused by grouse shooting on Ilkley Moor is not as bad as during the foot and mouth outbreak, it is clear there has been some adverse effect.
Members of interest groups have spoken of their worry about using the moor during shooting season. There has been concerns raised that, where encounters have taken place, no warning has been provided or safety notices posted at entrance points. Bradford Council actively refuses to do either.
As a runner and member of Wharfedale Harriers, I train on Ilkley Moor almost daily during the summer and autumn months. I feel intimidated by the idea of encountering a grouse shoot when using the public moor. – Michael Bray, runner and member of Wharfedale Harriers.
There has also been occasions where students and visitors have been warned off the public land by gamekeepers, sometimes aggressively. This has resulted in a view being held that shooting interferes with access rights.
Ilkley Moor is one of my favourite walking spots because of its tranquility and beauty. I would feel very fearful and distressed if confronted by grouse shooters armed with shotguns. – Morwenna, a member of Morley Walking Club.
Bradford Council has subsequently noted: “The public perception…could be that the moor is unwelcoming.” It further recognises the leasing of shooting rights “has generated a significant amount of negative publicity in relation to the moor and the Council.”