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The best shoots in the UK 2015/2016


We have turned to prominent figures and agents within the realms of fieldsports, who have shared their most treasured UK shoots and moors.

The best shoots in the UK 2015/2016
The Gentleman

As we reiterate each year when embarking on this search, it’s impossible to define the ultimate shoot in the UK. Such is the diversity found within our fertile shores, and the huge number of variables that go into the making of every day and season, separating one from the crowd is as simple as determining the best song in the world – it is purely subjective, and everyone who enjoys a day in the field has a special venue that sticks out above others. This may be due to the quality of birds or, more likely, the camaraderie, hosting and scenery. This, after all, is the allure of fieldsports; something that those who don’t partake will never quite understand.

With this in mind, we have turned to prominent figures and agents within the realms of fieldsports, who have shared their most treasured UK shoots and moors, taking all the frills into account in addition to the presentation of birds. This is not a list that favours big bags or high birds – although several of course feature – and therefore many shoots which grace the usual repetitive lists do not make the cut. Indeed, a handful of names in this year’s top shoots selection will not be particularly well known, but they have been chosen because they offer the whole package. There is far more to shooting than just shooting.

TOP 25 PHEASANT & PARTRIDGE SHOOTS

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ALNWICK PARK, NORTHUMBERLAND

If you want scenery it really doesn’t get any better than the 5,000 acres of ground the shoot is spread over. Alnwick is steeped in history wherever you look! It boasts many formidable drives, with its jewel North Bunkers being one of the most impressive on the shooting scene.

BRIXTON DEVERILL, WILTSHIRE

A shoot which produces fantastic partridges (and awesome pheasants). Charming host Kim Beddall runs this along with two others, but it is Brixton that holds the real show-stopping drives such as Abyssinia and Boar’s Back. Stunning views are also part of the day.

Visit www.williampowellsporting.co.uk to book. 

DRUMLANRIG, SCOTTISH BORDERS

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This shoot produces some of the highest partridges anywhere in the UK. This is the place to go if you want a serious challenge! Headkeeper Rab Clark presents the birds beautifully over a number of varied drives. Top sport and top hospitality in stunning Scottish scenery.

Visit www.roxtons.com/shooting to book.

DUNCOMBE PARK, YORKSHIRE

Another new addition to the 2015 top shoots list, this is consistently one of the very best days in the country, and under the new management it will only continue to get better and better. A vast shoot with every option available and an abundance of drives to choose from.

HADDEO, DEVON

Angus Barnes does an amazing job and this is undoubtedly one of the very best shoots. If you want high Devon birds, they can’t get any better – ask anyone who has shot here and you’ll be guaranteed as much! Just wait until to see the birds at St. Paul’s.

CASTLE HILL, DEVON

A predictable choice, it has to be said, but an unquestionable one. Castle Hill needs little introduction within shooting circles – it offers a true masterclass in sporting presentation, producing great birds in any conditions. This, as we stated last year, it one for the bucket list.

SALPERTON PARK, COTSWOLDS

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Salperton is renowned for the quality of its partridge shooting, which has become its specialty. This estate lends itself perfectly to driven shooting and offers the complete package for teams who are seeking the very best in driven shooting and hospitality.

Visit www.iancoley.co.uk to book. 

DRYNACHAN, SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS

A newcomer, this is one of the most stunning places to shoot driven partridges in the UK, set in the beautiful Findhorn Valley. Fabulous challenging drives including the brilliant Red Burn and Red Burn return. The lodge also rates as one of the most charming Highland lodges.

Visit www.roxtons.com/shooting to book.

GARROWBY, YORKSHIRE

Owned by Lord Halifax, this is a dead-man’s-shoes shoot. Always spoken of with wide eyes and superlative tones, those who have ventured to Garrowby more often than not pine to return. An epic mixture of challenging birds and fine hospitality, this is a certain on every top shoot list.

HOLKHAM, NORFOLK

One of the great traditional East Anglian partridge shoots (if not the best). It is believed to be the estate that invented driven shooting and is the home of the Earls of Leicester/Coke Family and the Coke Bowler Hat! Importantly, Holkham is a big player and conserver of grey partridges.

MILTONS, SOMERSET

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A true classic, making the most of the stunning West Country topography that consistently produces some superb high bird drives, right the way through the season, including Triangle, a fantastic partridge drive, and Tom’s Hedges, a superb mixed pheasant and partridge drive.

Visit www.roxtons.com/shooting to book.

ARUNDEL, SUSSEX

The South Downs lend themselves perfectly to driven shooting. Mix this with dense woodland, rigorous efforts to re-establish the grey partridge population and the infectious welcome of the Duke of Norfolk, and you have the ingredients for one of the finest shoots in the country.

COMBE SYDENHAM, DEVON

On the edge of Exmoor, this is a stunning shoot set in beautiful deep wooded valleys. Headkeeper Peter Conachie does a superb job presenting some stunning high pheasants! One of the best West Country drives, Isengard, is on this estate. They also do a seriously good lunch here!

DUMBLETON, GLOUCESTERSHIRE

Although a private shoot, meaning that for most drawing a peg here is only a pipe dream, Dumbleton deserves a spot on every top shoot list. With its deep valleys, the presentation is as close to perfect as you’re likely to find. The Warren in particular is as special as it gets!

GLANUSK, WALES

A newcomer to the list, Glanusk is a lovely shoot that is improving every season. A stunning estate with a team who are eager to develop more and more drives. Headed by Mark Coleman, Glanusk offers everything a team of Guns could possibly want from a day, and then a bit more.

LINHOPE, NORTHUMBERLAND

In terms of high partridges it is in that mega level, some are so high they are almost impossible. But the key here is everyone is friendly and staying in the private lodge and walking outside into the heart of the Cheviot hills is very special. A great shoot not for the faint hearted!

PRESCOMBE, WILTSHIRE

A regular on our top shoots list every year, and for good reason, as with over 30 drives to choose from on any shoot day, and a variety of ground, from valleys to woodland layouts. If it’s partridges that get your pulse racing, this is as good as they come.

MULGRAVE CASTLE, YORKSHIRE

Probably the most varied shoot in terms of topography and style of shooting in the country. What is not varied, though, is the quality of the shooting and the fantastic hospitality. No one forgets shooting partridges at The Point while standing in a rock pool on the beach!

Visit www.roxtons.com/shooting to book.

RALIA, INVERNESS-SHIRE

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(Photo: Ed Lloyd Owen)

One of the lesser known picks, Ralia is one of the great shoots in Scotland, with host and owner Ally Findlay offering excellent partridge shooting in beautiful countryside. The shoot also offers the chance to stay in Ralia, which makes for the perfect package.

Visit www.charlesbrownlow.com to book.

STOWELL PARK, COTSWOLDS

A true Cotswolds estate set in the heart of Old England. Ancient oak woodlands and rolling countryside provide a truly wonderful backdrop, and the shoot maintains a very high pedigree for traditional driven partridges and pheasants.

Visit www.iancoley.co.uk to book. 

MURTON GRANGE, YORKSHIRE

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Wonderful mix of very high partridges and pheasants. The Guns are well spaced and birds come from a variety of angles and not just straight across the line. Chris Blundell’s Mount St. John Sporting have done a fabulous job here under Trevor Bailey’s very competent management.

Visit www.williampowellsporting.co.uk to book. 

RUSHMORE, WILTSHIRE

This shoot has one of the best atmospheres of any you could wish for, with a non-commercial and very special feel. Run by Jamie Lee, Rushmore prides itself on offering the whole package, and as a result, Guns tend to return season after season.

THE LAKES, DEVON

One of the true greats, from the hospitality to the amazingly unique scenery and drives, and the quality of the birds. Owned by clothing tycoon Richard Caring, this entered the list last year and was an easy pick this time around.

WARTER PRIORY, YORKSHIRE

You’d have had to be living under a rock for your entire life to have never heard the fabled tales of Warter – one of Yorkshire’s finest. In terms of layout it’s as near to perfection as possible, with drives for every sort of weather conditions – they’ve got 70 to choose from!

WEST WYCOMBE, BUCKS

If you want a shoot less than an hour from London, this is surely one of the best options available. Impeccably managed by Sir Edward Dashwood, West Wycombe produces some stunning birds as classic high pheasants stream over mature beech trees across wide Chiltern valleys!

Visit www.ejchurchill.com to book.

TOP 10 GROUSE MOORS

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BOLLIHOPE, DURHAM

Certainly one of the best grouse moors in the country and, as top shot Jamie Lee attests, without question one of the most exclusive. To be invited here is to be one of the fortunate few. Challenging grouse in stunning upland surroundings – what could be better?

EAST ARKENGARTHDALE, PENNINES

Shooting takes you to some of the UK’s most incredible places, and East Arkengarthdale is one of these. A seriously stunning moor in the Pennines with exciting sport to match. In addition, Eric the boss makes for a great day and is a brilliant host, providing a memorable day.

KNARSDALE, NORTHUMBERLAND

Very wild and often wet, this is a special experience. Each of the past four owners have improved it under their tenure and it just gets better and better. Two drives in particular, Sunshine and Colouring Craggs, show very testing birds.

BRANSDALE, YORKSHIRE

Another great moor in North Yorkshire, Bransdale is now coming into its own under the direction of Peter Wilkinson, Mark Osborne and headkeeper Paul Wilson. A season bag of 8,500 brace last year doubled the previous record and there are high hopes of a repeat in 2015.

Visit www.williampowellsporting.co.uk to book. 

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GLENBUCHAT, ABERDEENSHIRE

A seriously fun two-day moor with stunning, far reaching views over the surrounding estates. First class hospitality and a stunning lodge. Perfect for 75-100 brace challenging Highland days. Headkeeper Craig Barnett is one of the best and the moor is managed very well.

MILDEN, ANGUS

It’s a long way to go if driving from the south of England, but boy when you get there it is well worth the effort! A wonderful sporting estate in every sense, presenting proper, challenging Scottish grouse at their finest! A moor for the bucket list.

WEMMERGILL, DURHAM

As professionally run as a moor could be, this is one of the heavyweights of the grouse shooting world. The attention to detail is beyond compare and Michael Canon has been one of the true pioneers of modern-day grouse moor management.

Visit www.williampowellsporting.co.uk to book. 

EAST ALLENHEADS, NORTHUMBERLAND

A big moor in every sense. The headkeeper, Steve Colmer, is without doubt one of the very finest, and he really gets how to show grouse in big numbers at their best – downwind and hurtling at the butts. Everything is done beautifully and nothing is left to chance.

GUNNERSIDE, YORKSHIRE

Should be on everyone’s top list and if it isn’t they don’t know enough about grouse shooting! It is the holy grail of grouse moors, in the perfect area with brilliant challenging grouse, the most professional team of keepers and organisers – without doubt one of the very best grouse moor in the country.

SNILESWORTH, YORKSHIRE

This moor was taken on by Bob Cieslukowski in 1997 and has risen from an unknown moor to become the first in the area to ‘come back’ in terms of numbers – definitely a trend setter. It made headlines in 2007 when over 500 brace were shot in a day.

Visit www.williampowellsporting.co.uk to book. 

Special thanks to Sir Edward Dashwood, Charles Hambro, Charles Brownlow, Rob Fenwick, Edward Darbishire, James Dent, Jamie Lee, James Chapel, Roxtons, Ian Coley, E.J. Churchill & William Powell

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