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Turning the Wolds Grey

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Article written by 16 May 2013

Business, wildlife charities and farmers are uniting in the Yorkshire Wolds in an effort to boost the prospects for one of this country’s fastest declining birds; the wild grey partridge.

This once familiar farmland bird species, which flourished on farmland across the country, has declined by about 86 per cent over the past 40 years. However, research by the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust, has established the main reasons for its decline and is encouraging farmers, gamekeepers and landowners to target their conservation efforts towards saving this iconic species.

Henrietta Appleton, an advisor with the GWCT said, “The Yorkshire Wolds offers fantastic potential for wild grey partridges and we are delighted to be running this stimulating event in the area on the 20th June to show the art of the possible.”

Currently the GWCT estimates through its national Partridge Count Scheme that the Yorkshire Wolds, including Holderness and the Humberhead Levels around Goole, could hold at least 8,500 wild grey partridges. Although the GWCT is currently monitoring 28 sites across the Wolds, just 203 pairs of grey partridges have been recorded. Henrietta Appleton explains, “Potentially, we could see a lot more partridges in the area, but we need more people to carry out conservation work to help the species and importantly, we need more farmers and landowners involved in our count scheme, so that we can more accurately measure the existing population.”

The grey partridge event, organised by the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust on Thursday 20th June starts at 4.00 pm and is being held at Greenlands Farm, Bridlington, by kind permission of Mr Tim Coleman. The event, which is being run by Henrietta Appleton and Dr Roger Draycott, a senior ecologist with the GWCT will include plenty of free advice, five topical tips on how to boost partridge numbers and a tour around the farm to discuss year round partridge management.

Henrietta Appleton explains, “We have set up grey partridge groups in many regions across the UK and whilst we have an active Yorkshire group we are particularly keen to encourage management for greys in the Wolds. The meeting at Greenlands Farm on the 20th June, will demonstrate how it is possible to integrate the running of a commercial arable farm with year-round conservation measures targeted at grey partridge recovery.”

The group meeting at Greenlands Farm has been made possible through the generous sponsorship of Savills, who recognise the importance of encouraging a wider audience to help save this iconic species. The event is also being supported by the RSPB with Chris Tomson explaining how conservation projects for wild grey partridges have huge knock-on benefits for other struggling farmland birds.

To attend this special partridge event on the 20th June at Greenlands Farm, Bridlington, please contact Lynda Ferguson at the GWCT on 01425 651013 or email : lferguson@gwct.org.uk. Alternatively the event can be booked online at : www.gwct.org.uk/courses

Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust

The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust is the leading UK charity conducting scientific research to enhance the British countryside for public benefit. Read more.

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