Over 100 Years of History
We can trace the business back to before the Great War, when John William Heseltine started going to the local markets on his horse and trap to sell eggs, butter, poultry and rabbits.
Local farmers trapped and killed rabbits, and took them to John for him to sell. He dispatched them by the night train to Castleford, Bradford and Middlesbrough markets.
In 1921 John's younger brother Robert took over the business, and in later years his daughter Margaret would help put rabbits into hessian sacks ready to be loaded onto trains bound for Bradford.
In 1952 Jack Kilburn acquired the business, operating from a village called Thoralby in Wensleydale. He bought grouse locally from moors such as Reeth, Gunnerside and Grinton in Swaledale, and Askrigg and Stagsfell in Wensleydale.
The grouse were packed in hampers, transported by train to London, and sold on the famous Smithfield Market.
In 1983 the Dent family bought the business from Jack, running it from the same premises at Thoralby for four years, before relocating three miles down the road to Swinithwaite.
At this time we also acquired an additional collection round from Garbutt Johnson who collected game from the North York Moors, situated to the east of the Yorkshire Dales.
In 1998 we then built a new EC-approved processing plant at our home in Carlton in Coverdale.
Since 1983, when grouse were bought from nine moors, we have now grown the business to become the largest buyer of Yorkshire grouse.