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Shoot closures not inevitable

The National Trust has denied claims that further shoots on Trust land will inevitably close due to being at the mercy of prejudiced estate managers with no knowledge of rural traditions.

The Trust?s comments follow last week?s confirmation that a shoot at the Polesden Lacey estate near Dorking in Surrey would be terminated for fear of disturbing visitors.

The decision not to renew the lease for a shoot described in Shooting Times as ?exemplary? (Shoot Report, November 30) provoked uproar in both the shooting press and the national media, and many in the shooting community expect further terminations of leases to follow.

Shooters are particularly worried that visitor experience managers are charged with boosting visitor numbers at the expense of other considerations, including established relationships and rural traditions.

However, a Trust spokesperson told Shooting Times that the suggestion that there was an inevitability about decisions to terminate shoots was ?simply not the case?.

She said: ?We have around 200 shoots operating on our land, and in some places we have to make decisions based on the pressures that the estates are under. The land on which the shoot at Polesden Lacey operated is a ravishingly beautiful valley, but it was enjoyed by only a small number of people.

?In this one case, a tough decision had to be made, but all our estates are different, just as all our shoots are different. We certainly expect shoots to be a part of the Trust in the years ahead.?

The rest of this article appears in the 29th February issue of Shooting Times.

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