A PEACEFUL day of protest is set to be held in the Ribble Valley to highlight the ‘plight’ of the Hen Harrier.

Hundreds of people are expected to attend the event in Dunsop Bridge, organised by the North West Raptor Protection Group.

The protest on the village green has been planned to coincide with National Hen Harrier Peaceful Protest Day.

Organisers have described the ‘landmark’ event as aiming to voice ‘displeasure and concern at the continuing illegal persecution’ of the Hen Harrier throughout England's uplands.

The protest will be staged just two days before The Glorious Twelfth, the traditional start of the shooting season for Red Grouse.

Campaigners claim the season endangers the existence of Hen Harriers.

Last year, Hen Harriers suffered their worst breeding season for decades, failing to produce a single chick anywhere.

However, the RSPB recently said that 2014 is shaping up to be ‘marginally better’ with two nests at the United Utilities Bowland Estate in Lancashire.

Daniel Marsden, chair of the North West Raptor Protection Group, said: “Dunsop Bridge is a good location for the protest and I think that we will be able to attract a couple of hundred people.

“It’s important to raise awareness of the bird’s struggle and I hope that this protest is a success.”

Hen Harrier Day 2014 has been supported by the RSPB, the National Trust, The Hawk and Owl Trust, The League Against Cruel Sports, and The Peak District National Park. Bowland used to be the English stronghold for hen harriers and the upland bird of prey is even the symbol of the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

However, the current nests represent the first breeding attempts in the area since 2011.

The RSPB and United Utilities have monitored and protected hen harriers in Bowland for more than three decades.

Both nests are being watched by dedicated staff and volunteers, as well as CCTV around the clock.