27 June 2018

GWCT Cymru hosts top shoot walk at Usk Castle

Shoot Walk Usk June 18

A WELL-ATTENDED shoot walk round the grounds of Usk Castle was held by the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust Cyrmu (GWCT) on June 21st.

Joe Moore and Ellie Ivall, who are in their second season operating as Moore Drive Sporting, have found their dream job in running a shoot at Usk Castle estate, including adjoining farms covering a total of 2,000 acres where 800 acres is the core area where there is a mixture of woodland offering a range of varied drives.

Having worked on several estates as gamekeeper over the past 20 years including a Grouse Moor in Scotland as well as working for RSPB on the Welsh lapwing project, Joe knows what’s needed to protect and successfully rear ground-nesting bird.

The couple is providing a boutique shoot with high-quality birds in a glorious position to give the best experience. The shoot has two syndicates as well as a few exclusive let days and with limited shooting days of between 18-20 in the season and an average of 150 birds in a day.

With homemade hot pheasant pasties provided at elevenses along with a glass of prosecco, the couple is passionate that everything shot is eaten.

“We understand the integral link of conservation and shooting and proud of our 20 acres of cover crop - consisting of Kale and Utopia which is a rape and hybrid black mustard mix - that has so much wildlife.”

“If you clap your hands in the crop in January, there will be a cloud of song and game birds jumping up,” says Joe, who likes the kale in its second year when the seeds are protected in the pods during the winter and released when the birds tap into them.

With a spit venison roast to finish the evening walk, Joe and Ellie are firm believers that education is a vital part of their role.

Joe added: “We need to talk to everyone to let them know of all the benefits shooting brings to an area and how it shapes the countryside and how delicious & natural the meat is too. We are priding ourselves with making our shoots enjoyable with the BBQ in the middle of the wood and we want to communicate with the wider community so that the good work of shooting and conservation is better understood.”

Max Kendry, a regional organiser at GWCT, said: “We had an exceptional walk where conservation was well demonstrated with ponds created to boost wildlife and where the variety of food served was superb.

“Joe and Ellie are great examples to push the benefits of conservation and shooting to new audiences which we need to engage with to get support. Six new members joined GWCT Cymru on the night as they were impressed with what they heard."

Head of education at GWCT, Mike Swan, hosted the walk.

GWCT Cymru will be hosting more of these walks amd other events to raise the profile and increase the membership of GWCT. Please check out future dates on   https://www.gwct.org.uk/

For more information on Moore Drive Sporting contact; www.gunsonpegs.com/shoots/monmouthshire/usk-castle-shoot

Notes to editors

The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust – providing research-led conservation for a thriving countryside. The GWCT is an independent wildlife conservation charity which has carried out scientific research into Britain’s game and wildlife since the 1930s. We advise farmers and landowners on improving wildlife habitats. We employ 22 post-doctoral scientists and 50 other research staff with expertise in areas such as birds, insects, mammals, farming, fish and statistics. We undertake our own research as well as projects funded by contract and grant-aid from Government and private bodies. The Trust is also responsible for a number of Government Biodiversity Action Plan species and is lead partner for grey partridge and joint lead partner for brown hare and black grouse.

ISDN radio broadcast line – at our Fordingbridge HQ we have an ISDN radio broadcast line, allowing us to conduct interviews remotely.

For information, contact:
Kate Williams
Telephone: 01425 651000
Email: press@gwct.org.uk

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