Abbeystead Grouse day for staff
A Northcote team enjoyed a rural education day out.
A day on the moors was all in a day’s work for staff who wanted to learn more about where our Grouse comes from ahead of the glorious 12th signifying the beginning of grouse season.
Two groups visited the Abbeystead Estate, a sprawling Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty nestled in the Trough of Bowland.
A different kind of day at the office: Northcote’s chefs and staff are introduced to the Abbeystead Estate.
Sixteen team members took the trip north, just a few miles east of Lancaster to visit the estate where we source our Grouse from and were joined by Duncan Thomas from the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC).
Abbeystead Estate Manager Neil Kilgour showed the group around
A welcome by estate manager Neil Kilgour over a cup of coffee at the estate office started the day as Neil gave the group an overview of the sprawling and remote 23,500 acre area. Then it was into the minibus and out to experience the terroir.
Neil explains how the land is used and maintained.
The process of breeding grouse involves all aspects of the land and considers much more than the direct welfare of the game. From the peat and moss to the plentiful heather on the moors to the wooded valleys, the estate is home to birds, bugs, sheep, cows and farming families who all have important roles in the sustainability of the estates operations.
A quick stop for lunch in one of the relatively new shooting huts
Every aspect is considered and cared for, from the local school and community to the streams and water supply, each element is part of the complete jigsaw.
The grouse themselves are fitted with tracking devices which set off an alarm if a grouse doesn’t move in 24 hours.
Rob Forster explains the tracking technology
Conservation of the ground was explained as an important step in maintaining the best environment for the birds. Controlled burning may sound harsh but it helps to keep the heather in prime condition to encourage other vegetation and bugs to flourish.
An example of controlled burning that sometimes takes place.
The group make the most of the dry, warm and clear day with stunning views.
Rob Forster who works on the estate gets into the undergrowth.
Once shooting season is underway the Grouse enter the food chain and are passed to the wholesalers to distribute. It was a hugely informative and enjoyable day for all the staff, who have all have a deeper understanding of the journey our premium ingredients make before they arrive on our menus.
The Millennium gritstone sculptures were designed by environmental sculptor Andy Goldsworthy and commissioned to mark the millennium.
Built amongst quarry spoil heaps they are also landscape features which contribute to recognisable sense of place.
The Glorious Twelfth becomes the Glorious Thirteenth this year as grouse shooting is not permitted on Sundays.
Our a la carte menu will include game from Tuesday 14th August.