Charity Working Gundog Test 2019

This year we held out annual charity working gundog test on the prolific Bolton Abbey Estate, by kind permission of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire.  We had set the date of Saturday 23rd February, slightly concerned that the weather would no be in our favour, however competitors and spectators enjoyed spring like weather conditions.

Once again we were treated to some fantastic dog work and successfully raised over £3500.00 for some outdoor leaning equipment for the local primary school.

This event did not only benefit the local school but once again the local economy benefited from out of peak season bed nights spent in local hotels and B&Bs from all the competitors and helpers who travelled from as far a field as Sweden and Scotland.

The winning teams were ..

1st place – Team – Three wise men
Mr C Pilkington
Mr W Dewhurst
Mr H Vincent-Price

2nd place – Team – The A team
Mr P Newton
Mr Stephen Le Voi
Mr D Ross

3rd place – Team – Wuffitmix
Nicola Reynolds
Sarah Miles
Gary McCarthy

Highest scoring dog of the day was Maderablanca Amarillo with handler Stephen Le Voi who won the Jimmy Swindlehurst memorial cup




We are joining forces with the Scotland’s Regional Moorland Groups who have launched a new moorland wildlife campaign coinciding with the UK’s first ever Bioblitz tour.

The #WeHaveWildlife campaign aims to raise awareness of the plethora of wildlife thriving on managed moorlands and counter the misconceptions that nature reserves and wildlife centers are the only places to find wildlife, as suggested by Chris Packham with his #WeWantWildlife Bioblitz tour.

If you enjoy walking here in the dale please help us by posting any wildlife pictures taken on managed moorland to our facebook or Instagram page including the #WeHaveWildlife

Why not print out the ‘spot the species form’ to take with you?., please e mail me and I will send you one



Moorland Visit for the Cubs

Last night Hawes Cubs came for a Moorland visit to Bolton castle estate in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales.  The keepers show the 14 boys aged between 8 – 10 and their leaders different aspects of moorland management. 

They all enjoyed having a go with the leaf blowers that we use when heather burning for putting out fires and seeing how the traps work that we use for our important predator control, they were able to see the benefits of doing that by seeing a whole host of wildlife on the moor including a lapwings nest and some young grouse chicks. 

An interesting evening or them all and one I’m certain they will never forget.

#cubs #hawescubs #hawes #yorkshire #boltoncastle #moorlandvisit #education #educatethemyoung #wildlife #managedmoorland #showingthemwhatwedoandwhy #makingmemories #yorkshiredales #YDMG


With their long downcurved bills and unique call, curlews are among the most recognisable of all wading birds. However, these large beautiful birds are also among the most threatened migratory birds in existence.

As Europe’s largest and most distinctive wading bird, the curlew has been added to the ‘red list’ of threatened UK birds with numbers falling 64 per cent from 1970 to 2014. The UK is currently home to over a quarter of the global breeding population of curlews, but habitat loss and predation means their chicks are not surviving.

To be launched today, World Curlew Day is a grassroots initiative supported by environmental organisations which aims to raise awareness about the plight of curlews and to encourage activities to help them.

The grouse shooting community undertakes year-round conservation efforts alongside careful predator control which provides excellent conditions for thriving curlew populations and significantly higher than average fledging rates for their chicks.Scientific research has shown where predator control is in place on grouse moors, birds such as curlew and lapwing are 3.5 times more likely to fledge their chicks.

Elsewhere, thanks to research done by Shropshire Hills and Welsh Marches Curlew Recovery Project, and with the support of local farmers and landowners, over 30 curlew nests in good habitat have been closely monitored over the last two years with cameras and heat sensitive buttons. Sadly, with no gamekeepers to protect them, none of the chicks have survived to fledge successfully with most of the nests being predated at egg stage, mainly by foxes.

Gamekeepers on grouse moors across the north of England carefully implement effective predator control to keep foxes, carrion crows and other predators in check in the spring, thereby granting the curlew and all ground nesting birds a much better chance of survival.

Charity Working Gundog test to fund Forest Classroom for local dales school

The Yorkshire Dales Moorland Group (YDMG) hosted it first ever working gundog test this weekend in a bid to raise funds for an outdoor learning facility for Kettlewell Primary School, a local Dales school which is part of a federation of 4 small primary schools in the dales that are helping to educate the next generation about the beautiful countryside that surrounds them.

Competitors and spectators braved the elements as the inaugural Hector Kirk Moorland Cup was held at Conistone and Grassington Estate near Skipton in North Yorkshire.

Sonya Wiggins, coordinator of the YDMG and wife of the head gamekeeper of Conistone and Grassington Estate, said: “It has been a real pleasure organising the inaugural Hector Kirk Moorland Cup and to see so many friendly faces turn up despite the weather. We have seen some fantastic displays from both dogs and owners in extremely challenging weather conditions and we are thrilled to of raised the money for a very worthwhile cause.”

“The money we have raised will build a ‘Forest Classroom’ for Kettlewell Primary School. I am passionate about educating children about the countryside and this construction will benefit many different groups of children throughout the Dales that will be able to come and use this facility”

The Cup comprised of a 3 man team retriever test and a separate AV open and novice spaniel test with a grand total of 55 dogs enjoying the wet conditions and their owners competing for a wide range of donated prizes. The whole event was kindly sponsored by Dog & Field, a gundog supplies company based in Cambridgeshire, owned by Colin Chalkley who with his team of helpers/staff came along on the day to lend a hand, this is a true reflection of the gundog community and how they are all passionate about supporting educating young children about the countryside.
A sprinkle of flair was added to the day by members of the current England retrieving team taking part such as Dave Latham, John Yarwood and distinguished panellists from across the British Isles judging the competitors.

While the dogs deservedly stole the show, the real aim of the day was to raise money for local education initiatives. The bulk of the money came from the YDMG’s auction of promise where 5 separate grouse shooting estates from within the group offered gundog training days on their moors, along with some other very generous donations from various supporters of the group.

Since its creation, YDMG has been at the forefront of promoting the positive impact that gamekeepers and grouse shooting estates have in the Yorkshire Dales. Alongside the suite of year-round conservation benefits that moorland managed for grouse shooting brings and the economic boost that grouse shooting delivers during the season, the YDMG’s main focus is on education.

With conservation of rural spaces becoming increasingly important, YDMG is rising to the challenge of educating local children about the array of plants and animals found on their doorstep. Initiatives including moor visits, open farm days and fundraisers are planned throughout the year to enable members of the local community to learn more about what it takes to conserve and enhance this precious North Yorkshire landscape.
Results from the day :-

HectorKirk Retriever Challenge Cup
1st – The Three Dogs – Glynn Sykes, David Sidwell and Ralph Thompson
2nd – The Poachers – Phil Goulden, Andy Latham and Dave Latham
3rd – In Dogs, beers we have only had one – Tom Newton, Paul Newton and John Yarwood

AV Spaniel Novice
1st – Damon Ross
2nd – David Jennings
3rd – Richard Kinnon

AV Spaniel Open
1st – David Ross
2nd – Lee Marson
3rd – David Jennings

We also had a trophy made in memory of Jimmy Swindlehurst for the highest scoring dog of the retriever test and that went to Antony Appleton with his dog Mossborough Chub of Applebriar.