The UK’s curlew and lapwing populations are in serious national decline, but with one important exception, managed grouse moors. As part of Danby Moor’s Environmental Stewardship Scheme work is taking place to improve the vegetation, flora and birdlife of this SSSI site (Site of Special Scientific Interest). By keeping on top of the vermin which also threaten grouse, these key ground-nesting bird species plus the golden plover can thrive, which also helps our smallest bird of prey, the merlin. However, finding homes for the four keepers needed to manage and develop the moorland means the Estate has had to focus on a different type of ‘nest’ in an area with a housing shortage.
“To free up accommodation, we have created a rare new build in Danby village,” explains Robert Sword, the Estate Director. “This allows our retired head keeper and his wife to move to a fully-accessible new bungalow. We can then extend ‘Bracken Hill’, their former home, for a young keeper and his family who currently reside in The Bothy flat. The stringent planning demands of building in the North York Moors National Park and a Conservation Area have been a challenge, but we are very pleased with the results, which provides much needed accommodation for an expanding team of keepers.”