CAMPAIGNERS who want to see a ban on grouse shooting on Ilkley Moor turned out in force on Saturday for a Walk for Wildlife just days ahead of the Glorious Twelfth.

Carrying picnics and home-made banners, 120 walkers took part in the peaceful protest on Ilkley Moor, setting off from the Cow and Calf Rocks in Hangingtone Road, Ilkley at 11am.

Organised by the campaign group Ban Bloodsports on Ilkley Moor, the protestors urged landowner Bradford Council to end the practice of grouse shooting on the moor - which begins on August 12.

The campaign group says shooting decreases wildlife biodiversity, degrades rare habitat and pollutes the public land with toxic lead shot. Instead they want the local authority to deliver a new vision for Ilkley Moor, which promotes wildlife biodiversity, teaches younger generations the importance of conservation and benefits the local economy.

"Since grouse shooting was introduced to Ilkley Moor in 2008 wildlife biodiversity has crashed, rare peatland bog has been degraded by burning and the land polluted with toxic lead shot," said Luke Steele, spokesman for Ban Bloodsports on Ilkley Moor (BBIM), who has walked on Ilkley Moor for almost two decades.

"Our message is simple: Bradford Council can deliver better for Ilkley Moor and that starts with ending grouse shooting.

"We want Bradford Council to deliver a public resource which supports wildlife, helps educate about conservation and benefits the local economy. Grouse shooting has failed to meet that task."

Bradford Council let out grouse shooting rights for Ilkley Moor to the Bingley Moor Partnership in 2008 and the authority is the last in the UK to allow grouse shooting on its land.

BBIM's campaign to ban grouse shooting on Ilkley Moor has attracted the support of some parish and district councillors including Cllrs Cath Bacon (Lab, Keighley), Henri Murison (Lab, Ilkley South) and Cllr Claire Darling (Green, Ilkley South). Conservationists, including Bill Oddie OBE and Dr Mark Avery, and actors, including Emmerdale's Nick Miles and Downton Abbey's Peter Egan, have also given their support to the campaign.

In February 2015 the council prohibited the trapping and snaring of natural predators, including stoats and weasels on the moor, following lobbying by BBIM.

The protest ramble comes as Bradford Council is expected to launch a public consultation on the future management of Ilkley Moor by the end of summer.