Shooting estate wins trophy
The trophy was presented at a meeting of the area?s Grey Partridge Group in Upper Teesdale, where guests heard how headkeeper Iain Alexander and his team had turned around the fortunes of the wild grey partridge population on the estate?s arable farmland.

Iain Alexander said: ?This award reflects the hard work put in by the keepering staff on behalf of the Raby estate. While we are pleased to see an increase in grey partridges our ambition is to increase densities still further.?

The low-ground land that is being managed for grey partridges by Iain and his team is situated down the dale between Staindrop and Piercebridge and is proving to be ideal territory for the bird.

By combining optimum habitat creation with predation management and supplementary feeding, Iain says he hopes grey partridges will once again be a common feature of the area.

Phil Scott-Priestley, from trophy sponsor Gray?s Chartered Surveyors, said: ?While the lower Raby estate has a landscape entirely suited to grey partridges, modern farming practices mean that estates and farms wishing to increase grey partridges have to actively manage their land to ensure that all the bird?s needs are met throughout the year.?

?From the spring and autumn count data submitted to the GWCT?s Partridge Count Scheme, it is clear that Iain and his team are doing just the right things for this important species.?

The meeting was attended by more than 30 local farmers and land managers, who were also given a tour of the estate to see how radio-tracking and winter feeding trials can help to boost the bird?s population on the moorland fringes of northern England.

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