With the season drawing to a close, it's time to go out and slay some clays. Here are some top places to do it - whether you want to learn to shoot clays or improve your technique
The famous Bisley has two shooting grounds in the UK. There is the shooting ground in 3,000 acres of Surrey heath and woodland just outside London, and the Braidwood ground just south of Edinburgh.
There are two different shooting grounds on the Surrey campus; Cottesloe Heath caters for individuals or groups with an instructor and Long Siberia offers automated pay & play for experienced shots. Cottesloe Heath benefits from the 1865 Victorian Clubhouse, and one of the highest clay towers in the country. There is also an exhilarating grouse layout with a line of well-established butts. Long Siberia offers the experienced shot 23 automated stands to take themselves round without an instructor.
Meanwhile, Bisley at Braidwood is located on a stunning estate overlooking the Eildon Hills in the Scottish Borders just south of Edinburgh.
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The combination of expertise and laid-back West Country charm makes this shooting ground well worth a visit.
“This establishment has everything that the shotgun enthusiast could want. Facilities include over 20 shooting positions, dry paths between positions, easy parking, a well equipped gun shop and a welcoming café. Tuition is available for the absolute beginner to improvers and seasoned shots. All tuition is provided by expert instructors. The action is all self contained and clays are released by a card arrangement that not only releases the clays but totals up the number used. There are generally two clay positions at every stand with options to release either clay independently or both together. A great day out. Very difficult to suggest any way to improve this set up. Top rate”. Trip Advisor
If you like and respect all the traditions of the wonderful sport of game shooting then you are going to love the splendidly appointed facilities of the Holland & Holland Shooting Grounds in north west London. The suitably tree-lined entrance leads to a smart modern lodge with 60 acres of sweeping grassland and woods behind it. And here you will find sporting shooting stands to satisfy your every need. From high pheasants to driven partridge, with some thrilling grouse butts thrown in for good measure, there is something for all types of game shooter here. And if you are a rifle shooter then you are in safe hands with some of the best people in the business – you can try out the new indoor ‘cinema’ style rifle range. This place has history, style and class.
Set in 44 acres of open land near Cowick between the M62 and M18, the quality of its clubhouse alone should be the envy of shooting grounds nationwide. We called it “a cross between an ultra-modern barn conversion and a smart conference centre” containing a shop that “wouldn’t be out of place in the Victoria Quarter in Leeds”. The school offers testing sporting targets for those seeking to brush up their skills, but is equally welcoming to guns of all abilities.
A shooting ground that is a great place to stop if you are travelling north or south on the A1. But even if you are not heading this way, people in the know travel from miles and miles to enjoy the offering in the extremely well stocked gunroom here. The range of new and pre-owned shotguns caters for game shooters with particular tastes and Bywell has a reputation for delivering exactly what demanding customers want. On top of that the gun-fitting, repairs and servicing here are also highly recommended.
Extraordinarily, this ground offers excellent facilities within an hour of the centre of London and despite being just off the A40, is extremely peaceful. This is the perfect place to learn to shoot if you are a Londoner or to shape up for the season ahead. The clubhouse is welcoming and serves excellent food.
A welcome Cotswold stone lodge sets the tone for this game shooter’s clay shooting ground. It is set amid the beautiful Gloucestershire countryside with easy access from both the M4 and M5, not far from Bristol and Bath. The shooting stands are set in 65 acres of natural woodland.
Immaculately well-kept shooting grounds with a large variety of sporting traps can simulate anything from a bolting rabbit to a long distance pheasant thrown from the 120ft high tower, which is something for which the shooting school is particularly well known.
In 20 acres of partially wooded and landscaped grounds, West Kent Shooting School offers a comprehensive English Sporting layout with over 100 different combination of targets, including a 100ft Raywing High Tower.
In this natural setting both novices and experts will enjoy extensive shooting. The School offers individuals, couples and family memberships.
Auchterhouse was voted Scotland’s Favourite Shooting Ground and 2nd in the UK for 2017. It is run by the Christie Family, and son Drew Christie represented Scotland at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi and won a silver medal at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games 2014. They host a number of clay shooting competitions in skeet and some trap disciplines but also have a testing compact layout and 12 sporting stands. The newly installed Promatic Card System means visitors have free rein to shoot what they please. With plenty of other corporate activities, a restaurant and country clothing store this shooting ground is well respected in the local area and the family-run atmosphere really sets it apart.
The grounds have been established since 1934 and are situated just 13 miles north of Telford in the heart of Shropshire. The shooting ground has a network of well-maintained paths leading to 80 plus stands, boasting over 200 clay pigeon traps.
The Scandinavian log cabin, built in 1984, was the first of its kind on a shooting ground in Britain. Having served the business well for 30 years, it has recently been extended to cope with the growing business. The facilities now include three function rooms, a gun shop, open café and restaurant. This shooting ground considered to one of the very finest of its kind.
Nestled into the foot of the Marlborough Downs just a few minutes from Junction 15 of the M4, this picturesque shooting ground is open every day of the week. Despite its proximity to one of the UK’s busiest motorways, it is loaded with rural charm. Barbury has featured regularly in the Shooting Industry Awards, winning Best Shooting Ground in 2010.
With a full range of simulated days to offer in the surrounding area, as well as all the shooting at the ground, game shooters are at the forefront of the offering here. And they are guaranteed a warm welcome from the experienced and friendly team.
The EJ Churchill empire includes the shooting ground on the edge of High Wycombe, a sporting agency, a well supplied gun shop, the eponymous gunmaking marque and access to the West Wycombe estate. The estate is the family home of the Dashwood family and Sir Edward Dashwood is one of the finest shots in the land. Therefore it’s no surprise to discover there is a thriving energy for the sport running through the entire EJ Churchill business. Managing director Rob Fenwick is one of the best-known faces in the industry and the enthusiasm he and Sir Edward share for the sport is reflected in the attitude of the whole team here. You will not have a bad day at this shooting ground, which won the Shooting Industry Award Best Shooting Ground category in 2014 and 2017.
The Florent family is at the beating heart of this energetic shooting ground not far from the M40 as it carves through the Oxfordshire countryside. Doug, Shirley and son David work hard to ensure the shooting ground continues to deliver the goods to existing customers while going the extra mile to encourage newcomers into the sport. The Schools Challenge and the University Championships are just two examples of the great work they do to ensure the future of shooting.
This high-end shooting ground has long been established as a conduit between the City of London and the world of shooting, but it is a lot more than that. Dylan Williams and his long-serving team of experts in their field have almost cornered the high-end charity shoot market, delivering millions of pounds into a wide spectrum of worthy causes.