Published in support of the UK Biodiversity Action Plan for black grouse

The North Pennines Black Grouse Recovery Project has been running since 1996, a partnership between The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust, Ministry of Defence, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), Northumbrian Water, Sita Trust, North Pennines AONB Partnership and Natural England. The Project employs a dedicated project officer and assistant, with the aim of delivering the Biodiversity Action Plan for black grouse in England.

The main emphasis of the Project's work is to encourage farmers and landowners to improve the conditions for black grouse on their land. The management includes reducing grazing on the moor edges and adjacent rough pastures, the re-establishment of traditional hay meadow management, planting of small-scale upland ghyll woodlands and control of predation.

Facts and Figures
The remaining population in England is restricted to the northern section of the Pennines, stretching from Wensleydale (North Yorkshire) to the Scottish border. Every four years the Project monitors the English population of black grouse by counting displaying males. Results from these surveys show that the population has increased from 773 males in 1998 to 1,029 males in 2006.


Range of black grouse in England in 2006 (represented by the presence of displaying males within 5 km grid squares).

Through the Recovery Project’s monitoring work, investigating the effects of the management that the Project has advocated, there has been an increase in the number of displaying males by 5% each year where grazing by sheep has been reduced on the moor edge (through agri-environment schemes). This compares with a decline of 2% each year where grazing was not restricted. These positive results reinforce the need for better management practices to aid black grouse survival. If we are to achieve the next goal of restoring the species’ range we need to encourage more landowners to join the schemes.

How can the Project help?
Landowners and managers with estates and farms that lie adjacent to or within the current range of black grouse can contact the recovery project officer. He can offer a free site assessment, advice on how best to manage the land for black grouse and who to approach for the grants.

We also produce a newsletter to keep up-to-date with our progress, the latest version is available to download here. (Newsletter 2008 pdf, 166k)

As well as running training and information days and monitoring the fortunes of black grouse in the North Pennines, the project officer works closely with staff from Natural England who are developing agri-environment and SSSI management schemes.

Latest News:

New figures released by The North Pennines Black Grouse Recovery Project reveal that black grouse in northern England have hit their conservation target ahead of time.

Contact details
If you would like to help or would like a site visit, contact the Recovery Project officer

For more information on funding and best practice land management in England, click here.