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Restoring Ruabon Moor as Wales' grouse capital; Tenant or investor needed to give Moor final restoration push.

Byline: ANDREW FORGRAVE Rural Affairs Editor farming@dailypost.co.uk

A NEW tenant or investor is being invited to return the "grouse capital of North Wales" to its former glories.

Ruabon Moor once held the British record for the highest number of grouse shot per acre, and the Williams-Wynn family is keen to restore those halcyon days.

Red grouse numbers have already doubled over the past five years, following efforts to improve the condition of the 7,125-acre moor, which is mainly dry heath with some blanket bog.

Now a new tenant - or a "third part investor" - is needed to continue the work and so secure the moor's credentials as "one of the nation's leading sporting domains".

Rural consultant Ed Sample, of agents Carter Jonas, said: "Ruabon Moor is one of the country's pre-eminent game assets, and is an unparalleled opportunity to continue its restoration to grandeur and success.

"No other grouse moor in the UK offers the accessibility, heritage, or outstanding landscapes of Ruabon Moor."

The moor's game book dates back to 1885. By the turn of the century it had become Britain's biggest grouse shooting desti-nation: between 1898 and 1901, the annual bag was raised from 787 to an astonishing 6,682, Indeed, in the 10 years to 1908, a grand total of 42,901 grouse were shot on the moor.

The British per acre record, at 3,571 brace, is reputed to have been held by Ruabon for 70 years.

However numbers of red grouse declined after WW1, when punitive death taxes affected the big estates, and during WW11, when many gamekeepers went off to war, leaving birds unprotected.

Between the two hostilities Ruabon was still offering decent bags but the harsh winter of 1947 further depleted stocks on moors across Wales.

Recent habitat work has begun to reverse the trend.

Bird counts undertaken by the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust showed there were 1,814 red grouse on the moor in July 2016 - up from 1,459 birds in 2015. The provisional count for July 2017 shows a figure of around 4,000.

Habitat management has also boosted many other species of bird, including black grouse, for which the moor is noted.

Numbers of Curlew, Golden Plover and Lapwing are also reported to have risen.

Extending from Minera and Esclusham mountains to the north, and Ruabon and Eglwyseg mountains to the south, the moor's 7,000 acres tenancy includes the sporting rights and a gamekeeper's house, along with associated buildings.

Mr Sample said: "Crucially, the level of rent and term is negotiable - the priority is to identify a partner who is keen to share the current owner's ambition to restore the moor to its former glory.

"We are confident that, with the right partner, and an intelligent, strategic management process, the moor will flourish for generations to come." | For details or an application form, contact Michael Paton or Ed Sample, Carter Jonas, on 01939 210171 or shrewsbury@carterjonas.co.uk.

CAPTION(S):

| A grouse keeper patrols his moor prior to the shooting season PICTURE: JEFF J MITCHELL / GETTY IMAGES)

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Publication:Daily Post (Conwy, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Aug 3, 2017
Words:513
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