Our Mission

Latest News

  • The Grouse Are Back

    • 16 August 2019
    Coverhead did not shoot Grouse last season to conserve stocks. This approach worked and we got off to a good start on the 12th of August 2019. The Grouse are...
  • Black Grouse Breeding Success in 2019

    • 16 August 2019
    We pleased to confirm that we have had the first evidence of Black Grouse breeding success this season with the sighting of a Grey Hen(Female Black Grouse) with 7 well...
  • Butterfly Numbers Boosted by Balanced Grazing

    • 14 August 2019
    It's been a good year for Butterflies at Coverhead. Despite a very wet June the lower pastures abound with multiple species. We have noticed that a balanced approach to grazing...

Coverhead is a privately owned 5000 acre shooting estate and upland farm in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. We have always blazed a path embracing and, in some cases, developing the latest innovative conservation programs, well before they have become accepted practice by the scientific and shooting communities. 

 We believe that conservation, sensitive farming and shooting go hand in hand, are mutually supportive of each other and in combination deliver wider ecosystem benefits far beyond our own boundaries.

Coverhead's History

1983 - In the Beginning

In the Beginning

Coverhead Farm purchased by the Mawle family.  At that time Coverhead overwintered over 3000 ewes with a resulting degraded sward,  shot less than 100 brace of Grouse annually and was fully 'griped' ( moorland drained) causing flash flooding in the river basin, over erosion of soils and the degradation of the river ecology.

1986 - The Trees Return

The Trees Return

In 1986 Coverhead started a program (which continues to this day) of tree renewal - replacing those lost to overgrazing and historic felling for fuel. Both commercial conifer and native broad leaf plantings have been used to create habitat for game, birds and insects and stabilise erosion zones

1997 - Moorland Rewetting

Moorland Rewetting

Moorland re-wetting begins. A voluntary program of grip blocking starts. Filling in the grips (moorland open drains) is seen as essential in boosting Grouse numbers as many chicks are lost in them soon after hatching

1999 - Countryside Stewardship

Countryside Stewardship

Coverhead is one of the first upland farms to enter the new Countryside Stewardship environmental improvement scheme. This scheme is for a term of 10 years. Sheep numbers are reduced from 2000 to 1200 ewes and a Highlander cattle fold established to help deal with the course rank moorland grasses, allowing native wild flowers to thrive.

2002 - River Cover Recovering

River Cover Recovering

A study by the Wild Trout Trust shows that the River Cover ecology is rapidly improving in response to the moorland drainage reversal policy.

2003 - Heather Reseeding

Heather Reseeding

Coverhead starts an ongoing program of heather reseeding on degraded 'white ground' to improve habitat for grouse and as a first stage to restoring areas of blanket bog. White ground is the term used to describe moorland so historically heavily overgrazed by sheep that only course pale moorland grasses remain, lending the ground a characteristic white color when viewed in the landscape.

2003 - 17th Century Hall Renovated

17th Century Hall Renovated

Charles I Hunting Lodge, Hunters' Hall, renovated and saved from ruin. This comfortable lodge now acts as a farmhouse and shooting lodge for visiting guns

2006 - Moorland Recovery

Moorland Recovery

Blanket bog ecology shows signs of great improvement on the experimental areas of re-wetted and heather seeded ground. This encourages Coverhead to accelerate the moorland re wetting program. 

2009 - Higher Level Stewardship

Higher Level Stewardship

Coverhead enters a ten year Higher Level Stewardship agreement with Natural England aimed at Blanket Bog and Black Grouse recovery. The grip blocking program is intensified with the help of the Yorkshire Peat Project.

2010 - Black Game Translocation

Black Game Translocation

Coverhead starts a successful Black Grouse translocation and recovery project lead by the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) and under license from Natural England. All trans-located birds are radio tracked as apart of a 5 year study.

2014 - Grouse Records Broken

Grouse Records Broken

Coverhead achieves a 5 year Red Grouse average in excess of 1000 brace - a milestone in the moor's recovery from its degraded state when originally purchased in 1983

2017 - Back On Track

Back On Track

After two very wet, cold and terrible breeding years in 2015 and 2016, it looks like it has finally been a good one. Most species of moorland birds have bread well this season , Grouse Included! Young Curlew, Lapwing, Golden Plover, Snipe, Woodcock, Skylark, Meadow Pippit, Ketrel and Merlin are doing well.

2018 - Drought and Soaring Temperatures Means No Shooting in 2018

Drought and Soaring Temperatures Means No Shooting in 2018

A very dry and hot spring and summer in 2018 was a disaster for many ground nesting birds that rely on a good hatch of grubs and insects to feed their young. This included Red Grouse and many pairs failed to raise any chicks to maturity. Our monitoring efforts lead by the GWCT allowed us to plan ahead for a no shooting year to conserve stocks. Rather than reduce the cost of moorland management to compensate for the loss or revenue from no shooting,  Coverhead continued with plans to invest and recruit extra staff to improve the effectiveness of management effort on the hill. This has resulted in a very good overwinter survival of the remaining Red Grouse pairs and bodes well for a reasonable shooting season in 2019.

2019 - River Re-Winding Project Progresses

River Re-Winding Project Progresses

The project to rewind, slow and restore  the River Cover as it passes through Coverhead is well underway and starting to show benefits for fish and aquatic insects. By installing 'leaky dams' at strategic points and slowing the water in channel during periods of spate we expect to significantly slow flood water entering the larger catchment down stream. During periods of low water the pools formed by spate action behind these dams will provide refuge areas for fish and the slower water to the side of the main channel during normal flow conditions will further increase the existing high level of  biodiversity of aquatic insect species.