The Glorious Twelfth

Filed in Conservation on Aug.12, 2023

The Glorious Twelfth is the name given to the day that marks the start of the grouse shooting season. To reach this point our uplands have been emptied of wildlife through illegal persecution.

The Red Grouse are then forced from the ground by beaters, talking off in a blind panic and blasted out of the sky for sport by paid shooters.

So much killing and cruelty goes on in the British countryside in readiness for 12th August when the shooting season starts. This pastime is changing the very fabric of our uplands making them playgrounds for the rich and well connected. I’ve spent the last 30 years walking the moors and uplands of the Peak District National Park from a young boy.

Its changed so much in that time that it barely deserves the title of a national park due to such high levels of killing and cruelty.

We often demonise poachers who target creatures in distant lands, yet when the wildlife that exist right on our doorstep is being persecuted, we descend into silence.

Craig Jones Wildlife Photography

Driven Grouse Shooting is a blight on our nation. It is destroying our national heritage leaving our moorlands and uplands devoid of so many beautiful species of animals and birds. Land owners, gamekeepers and their proxies are cleansing our uplands and moorlands of so much precious wildlife.

Craig Jones Wildlife Photography

They call it “Tradition” something passed down from generation to generation from a world most of us will never be invited too or get chance to stand alongside these people to be able to understand them.

It costs alot of money to shoot grouse, roughly around £7,000 per person per day. The owners of grouse moors, who are often very rich themselves, justify the costs by making sure that there are lots of red grouse to shoot.

Many grouse moors are often like the many monoculture landscapes I’ve seen in Sumatra, Indonesia with the vile and lifeless palm oil plantations they have there.

Craig Jones Wildlife Photography Sumatra

Producing as many grouse as possible also means burning and draining the land, which creates those monoculture’s. By ridding these moors of the heather, foliage or other vegetation it releases the carbon in the soil, pollutes rivers and helps to flood the towns downstream.

Craig Jones Wildlife Photography

Craig Jones Wildlife Photography

Alot of wildlife on these moorland habitats are shot, trapped and poisoned by the gamekeepers employed by those rich landowners to maximise grouse numbers, which then allows them to charge those rates to shoot grouse and make the landowners even richer.

Grouse moors are places where most if not all the birds of prey vanish and nobody or know one is prosecuted.

Craig Jones Wildlife Photography

Cruelty has no class, its voiceless, its impacts are far reaching and entangled into our daily life. How we treat those creatures entrusted into our care through our evolutionary past is very important. Without nature there is nothing, and the systemic, brutal sterilising of our national heritage cant carry on.

Craig Jones Wildlife Photography

Craig Jones Wildlife Photography .

If you see anything while out in the countryside take photos like I did of this gamekeeper. He had driven right to the top of Derwent edge and was there from before dawn onward’s with his dogs. He drove past me and got out to ask what I was doing, after a few choice words from myself he left.

Report them and their actions and dont ever be scared, the Peak District is a national park and so everyone that lives, works and visits this place has to behave in a responsibly way.

Craig Jones Wildlife Photography

Craig Jones Wildlife Photography

The destructive nature of driven grouse shooting on the lead up to, during and after is killing so many creatures and has to be more accountable and regulated now.

The countryside is for all and not just an exclusive playground for the rich.

Craig Jones Wildlife Photography

Its a circle of control and nobody wants to give an inch or any ground. I have witnessed all parties sitting around the table from my time in the British ArmyThose that wanted to kill each other laid down their weapons and signed for peace in the end.

They didn’t insult or point score on social media, which seems the most popular form of attack for so many that call themselves activists.

Craig Jones Wildlife Photography

It’s time for a different approach to the issues our wildlife and countryside face. The current plan isn’t working as very little has changed in the last decade.

There needs to be a seat at the table for all sides to discuss what’s best for our countryside and wildlife. Online, shouty activism isn’t working. Farmers, gamekeepers, conservation organisations and charities all need to to be on the same page.

Also a tough, robust licencing system needs to be put into place. At present you don’t need a licence to manage a shooting estate and the Government recognises that the failure of self-regulation has left the industry with no-one to blame but themselves.

A licence would mean that if the law is broken or if the terms of a grouse moor licence is not adhered to then an estate could lose their licence. There also needs to be more enforcement of the current laws in place to protect wildlife. 

We need those in power, elected by the people from all classes to do more to protect our national heritage alongside charity’s and organisations.

One day we will look back in horror at how we let a select few in society do as they wish with our beautiful wildlife.  Time for change and a different approach.

  1. Sue said:

    Hi Craig.
    I share your anger/concern/passion. Lovely photography.
    Charlie Moores (@charlieMoores) will be working with Keep the Ban on the issue of driven grouse shooting. Perhaps there is an opportunity for collaboration?
    I’ll be attending the ‘Reclaim our Moors – stop grouse monoculture’ gathering on Sunday 14 August. Setting off at 11 from Redmires reservoir car park if you’re around.

    Regards, Sue

  2. craig said:

    Thanks Sue good luck with all your work. I know Charlie and respect him and his work a lot. Always happy to work with him should they opportunity arise.

    All the best

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