Birds 'flying around calling in despair' after blaze burns their nests - WITH VIDEO & PICTURES

The Moorland Association has praised gamekeepers who tackled a large wildfire on moorland in Derbyshire.

Three gamekeepers from the Peak District Moorland Group and two local farmers battled the blaze alongside around 35 firefighters.

A nest destroyed by the fire.

A nest destroyed by the fire.

The fire was started on the Goyt moors west of Buxton at around 6pm on Sunday.

Keepers from the local shooting estate, experienced and trained in tackling moorland fires, worked into the darkness using their all-terrain vehicle specially equipped with firefighting kit.

By 10pm the blaze was finally extinguished and the gamekeepers kept an all-night periodic inspection on the site, checking that no embers had reignited.

Keeper Richard Bailey, who was part of the team which tackled the fire, said: "We were told by the fire service they believed the fire had been started deliberately - which is sickening.

A gamekeeper battles the blaze on Goyt moor.

A gamekeeper battles the blaze on Goyt moor.

"The devastation is plain to see.

"Around 35 hectares of pristine blanket bog moorland, rich with sphagnum mosses and heather, has been lost.

"Curlew, grouse, Canada geese, meadow pipit and short eared owl all had nests burnt out and have been flying around calling in despair at what had happened.

"The farmers who helped out were terrific and we all knew we had to keep going to make sure the fire could be put out."

A gamekeeper battles the blaze on Goyt moor.

A gamekeeper battles the blaze on Goyt moor.

Amanda Anderson, director of the Moorland Association, said: "Keepers are acutely aware of the risk of wildfire at this time of year and are used to dealing with fires quickly.

"The keepers involved in tackling this fire are very experienced and knew they had a hard task on their hands.

"The public, too, will be appalled that a fire may have been started deliberately.

"It also reinforces the need for those enjoying countryside what they can do to prevent any possibility of fire - take all rubbish home, especially broken glass, and do not throw cigarette buts into the vegetation.

Gamekeepers, with their all-terrain fogging unit, fight the blaze on Goyt moor.

Gamekeepers, with their all-terrain fogging unit, fight the blaze on Goyt moor.

"Camp fires and barbeques are illegal on open moorland."