Superb Shooting Grounds

As I have developed as a shooter and wanted to experience different targets, I have been fortunate to be able to visit a fair few shooting grounds. These have been mostly across the South West and the Midlands but one or two have been a little further afield. Here’s a brief overview of some superb grounds and shooting schools;

Barbury Shooting Ground

Situated in Wroughton, Wiltshire Barbury is a great ground for practice sessions, tuition, simulated days and occasionally hosts CPSA registered shoots. I have visited this ground a number of times for events such as The Shotgun & Chelsea Bun Club days, 100 English Sporting registered shoots and their ‘Barbury Challenge’ which occurs every summer. Always a warm welcome from top shot and all round good guy Huw Stephens. Here’s a link to their website: https://www.barburyshootingschool.com/

Bristol Clay Shooting

Based in Huntingford just outside Wotton-Under-Edge, Bristol Clay Shooting hosts a fortnightly 50 bird ESP club shoot on Sundays but they also have mobile equipment, ensuring they can set events elsewhere. The most notable of which is Frampton Country Fair Clay Shoot, which they run every September alongside the main fair. They provide tuition, and run stag and hen parties too. Charley and Neil Padfield are friendly and helpful hosts, Charley in particular always has a huge smile to greet you with! Here’s a link to their website: http://bristolclayshooting.com

Cheltenham & District Clay Club

A members’ only club, CDCC is in Stoke Orchard, Cheltenham. It is an immaculately kept ground and has a dedicated DTL layout and 5 permanent stands for 50 bird shoots on Thursday afternoons and Sunday mornings. Along with South Worcester SG, this was one of the first places that I learnt to shoot at and all the members are incredibly friendly. It’s a great place to start out, but you do need to be a member or with one to shoot here. It’s very reasonable price wise for practice. For more information you will need to call 01242 679781 as there isn’t currently a website for them.

Doveridge

A fair journey for us, I’ve only visited Doveridge once but was very impressed with the ground and facilities offered including a large clubhouse and cafe. All disciplines are catered for with numerous Skeet and Trap layouts, practice facilities for beginners and some fantastic Sporting targets offered in the picturesque setting of ‘The Valley’. Premier Guns have their shop here and there is also an on-site gunsmith. Here’s a link to their website: http://www.doveridgeclaysports.co.uk/

E.J. Churchill’s

A stunning ground, EJC is a bit more of a trek for us to get to in High Wycombe but it’s worthwhile making the journey. We’ve attended their ‘Churchill’s Challenge’ but also regularly shoot their monthly CPSA 100 bird registered competitions. Facilities are excellent with a gun shop, clothing shop and great catering. As with a lot of grounds they also offer tuition, ladies and youth events and shoots for corporate parties. It’s a substantial ground (set amidst over 40 acres) and is very well maintained with walkways through the beautiful woodland areas. Here’s a link to their website: http://www.ejchurchill.com/

Four Counties Clay Target Club

A relatively new place for us to visit, Four Counties CTC is in Newbury and this year we have been to a few of their monthly CPSA 100 ESP registered shoots. Most of the stands are set amongst the woodland areas, with one or two stands set over open fields. A friendly team run the competitions and usually the week after the CPSA registered shoot, there is a 50 bird Sporting Re-entry with cash in Men’s, Ladies’, Veterans’ and Juniors’ classes. Here’s a link to their website: http://www.fourcountiesctc.co.uk/

Gunsite Sporting Clays

In East Kennett near Marlborough you will find Gunsite set in the middle of the Downs. It is run and the targets are set by Sean Ponting, who has shot for the England team many times. A monthly 100 CPSA registered shoot is held in not the most expansive of grounds but on the upside, you do not have far to walk between stands. This is a very popular shoot with targets catering for all abilities and classes. Here’s a link to their website: http://gunsitesportingclays.co.uk/

Ian Coley’s Shooting School

When I first gained my SGC and wanted to progress further with my practice sessions, Ian Coley’s Shooting School was the next place I visited after Cheltenham & District Clay Club and South Worcester SG. It has fantastic facilities such as a café, clothes shop and gun shop, as well as 24 stands including a 120ft High Tower, DTL and Double Trap layouts and Grouse Butt. They have a vast array of different guns for sale, and this is where I bought my Beretta 682L Trap from Matt Panter, and I am still shooting with it now. ICSS offers private tuition as well as corporate events, youth and ladies’ days and they also run a Summer Sporting Series of CPSA registered competitions once a month between March and October. A real benefit to a practice session here is that they have a clay trap release system where you can set the clays on delay and so enabling you to practice alone. (It should be noted that you will need to hold a licence to be unsupervised whilst practising here) Here’s a link to their website: https://www.iancoley.co.uk/

Lady’s Wood Shooting School

One of the most picturesque grounds I’ve been to, Lady’s Wood in Chipping Sodbury is a beautiful place to go shooting. As you travel up the gravel driveway it is more than likely you will come across one or two stunning looking peacocks! The ground is set in 55 acres of woodland, with two high towers which are excellent for practising your driven targets. Tuition sessions are available, and it is very often used as a venue for The Shotgun & Chelsea Bun Club events. The Lodge is warm and welcoming with open fires, hot drinks and delicious cakes, and Sportarm at Lady’s Wood stock a good range of new and used guns for sale. Here’s a link to their website: http://ladyswood.co.uk/

Longridge

A superb shooting ground, Longridge near Ledbury with fantastic access to the M50 is run and managed by Stephen Nutbeam. Steve, who has many years of shooting experience, is a full time shooting instructor and first class coach. 100 CPSA registered shoots are held here once a month and prove to be very popular. The ground is often open for practice sessions and can be booked for private parties. The topography of rolling hills can sometimes challenge clay shooters’ perception of targets here; which on occasion can confuse the most experienced of shots but makes for a really enjoyable shooting experience. However, like all of the best course setters Steve endeavours to cater for all classes. For further information, contact 07971 447138

Meadowcroft

A newish ground located just outside Bath (opened in 2015), Meadowcroft hosts CPSA registered shoots every third Sunday of each month. Though slightly smaller than some other grounds, it boasts some interesting topography allowing various presentations that are suitable for all classes. With a friendly team who give you a warm welcome it is fast growing in popularity with competition shooters. Here’s a link to their website: http://meadowcroftshoot.com/

Mork

Having attended an event through The Shotgun and Chelsea Bun Club, I have only visited Mork Shooting Ground once but was very impressed with the excellent target presentations on offer and the welcoming and friendly staff. It is situated in St Briavels between The Forest of Dean and The Wye Valley and regularly hosts 50/60 bird Sporting practice on a Sunday. For more information, contact 01594 530102

Owl’s Lodge

Based near Andover in Hampshire with easy access to the A303/A34, Owl’s Lodge is an immaculately kept ground run by Olympian Richard Faulds and his family. It offers shooting practice across all disciplines. There is a registered CPSA shoot once a month on a Thursday which usually requires booking in, and occasional Saturday 100 ESP registered competitions where you can just turn up. The ground is flat and offers access for those less able on their feet. The superb facilities include a very warm and welcoming clubhouse/cafe with comfy sofas and better toilets than most! Here’s a link to their website: http://www.owlslodgeshootingschool.co.uk/

South Worcester Shooting Ground

Owned by John and Pauline Clements, South Worcester SG has been running for 30 years and was the first place I learnt to shoot in their dedicated practice field. It boasts 2 high towers, offering various target simulations, and other presentations to challenge all abilities. They are open for general practice every Wednesday, and selected Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays throughout the year. Tuition is offered by John himself, ex-England shot Rebecca Sealey and the ever affable Tony Harber. Here’s a link to their website: http://www.southworcestershootingground.co.uk/

Weston Wood & Westfield

Both of these grounds are run by Steve Lovatt and The Clay Shooting Company. Steve is a world renowned target setter of long standing experience. CPSA registered competitions are held on a weekly basis usually alternating between these grounds. Weston Wood, as the title suggests is based in woodland and is very picturesque, especially in spring and summer. It is located at Weston on the Green, just outside Bicester. Westfield has garnered a reputation as one the tougher grounds to shoot at in the country. A slightly different terrain with sloping fields and rolling hills as a backdrop, which can make reading targets more challenging, but enjoyable nonetheless. Host to numerous championships, Westfield is just outside Bourton on the Water. Here’s a link to their website: http://www.theclayshootingcompany.com/

Widdington

Set in the heart of the Salisbury Plain, Widdington is certainly a ground where you need to keep an eye on the weather forecast and ensure you have the right clothing; it’s definitely exposed to the elements! But it is a stunning place to shoot and the ground is quite vast, ensuring stands are spaced well apart. For clay shooting, Widdington is open between March and August for practice and they also hold monthly CPSA registered shoots. The converted barn provides a spacious clubhouse with fantastic catering. Here’s a link to their website: http://www.widdingtonshoot.co.uk/

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