ILKLEY Moor has won a leading national game and conservation prize in recognition of efforts by a local shoot to rebuild the red grouse population.

The 2015 Purdey Award was due to be presented to the chairman of Bingley, Burley and Ilkley Moors Partnership, Edward Bromet, in a prestigious ceremony last night.

The awards, run by London gun and rifle Maker, James Purdey & Sons, recognises the work of shoots engaged in conservation work.

Awards organisers say the Partnership, which holds the sporting rights deed for grouse shoots on the Bradford Council-owned moor, has now rebuilt the moor's population of red grouse from just a handful of breeding pairs.

The Partnership began the move to improve the 1,500-acre moor after securing the shooting rights for ten years in 2008, in the face of some opposition.

Red grouse are said to have 'almost disappeared from the moor' at the point the partnership took over.

James Purdey & Sons, chairman, James Horne, said: “Well over two million people live in the towns and cities around Ilkley Moor, so restoring wild red grouse numbers, while balancing the diverse needs of all the different groups who enjoy the landscape, is a tremendous achievement and an example of how these things should be done across the country.”

Mr Bromet did not allow shooting for the first two years of the sporting rights lease, reduced the number of predatory crows and foxes, and cut the numbers of sheep that grazed on the heather, which protects the birds.

The award also recognises the partnership's work in meeting with groups, representing walkers, runners, mountain bikers and dog walkers, to ensure everyone could enjoy the moor.

Mr Bromet was presented with the 2015 Purdey Gold Award Shield during last night's ceremony, as well as £5,000, for his leadership in the restoration of red grouse to Ilkley Moor as part of a project for the wider Rombalds Moors area, and enabling a dramatic improvement in the landscape’s overall biodiversity.

The competition searches for the UK’s most outstanding game and conservation projects, and the top prize was presented by the chairman of the judging panel, The Duke of Wellington, to recognise the work of Mr Bromet, head keeper Simon Nelson and his beat keepers Michael Smith and James Gott.

The Purdey Awards for Game and Conservation have their origins in the Laurent-Perrier Wild Game and Conservation Awards, which were run annually by Laurent-Perrier Champagne (UK) Ltd from 1986 until 1998. James Purdey & Sons took over the awards in 1999.