Driving rain on Tuesday made for a damp start to the grouse shooting season at Bolton Abbey.

The season begins on August 12 but fewer birds have been available in the last few years.

Estate manager Ben Heyes said the cold and wet year had had an effect on the breeding stock and there were not as many birds as hoped.

Grouse numbers were severely affected in 2006 through disease and Mr Heyes had hoped for drier weather this year to help birds achieve a successful breeding season.

"We had hoped to recover the grouse numbers after 2006 but the last two poor summers meant it was always going to be a modest season at best," he said.

"What is best for moorland management and particularly for grouse to breed successfully is a cold winter and hot summer.

"This hasn't happened again and numbers have been affected, although there is a small surplus."