Hunting season is well underway and although there are many that oppose the past time or find it too ‘upper class’ game hunting is on the rise amongst young people. The British countryside has for many generations seen people flock to the moors and downs across the country to try their hand at hunting the likes of Pheasant, Partridge and Grouse. The royal family themselves have always been renown for being hunting fans, shooting deer in the Scottish Highlands every year. The past time once reserved for the wealthy is now growing in popularity and we’ve broken down a list of the best spots to take your shooting gear this year. And, no matter whether you’re on the hunt for pheasant, grouse, or something a little wilder — we have whittled down our definitive list of the country’s finest destinations.
Best for beginners…
The Holland & Holland Shooting Ground is a brilliant shooting retreat to be found within the M25. Set in 130 acres of open countryside, Holland & Holland has been providing world-class tuition on these hallowed grounds since 1932 — and recent renovations have locked, loaded and led them to the cutting edge of shooting tutoring.
Best for pheasant and partridge…
Few are lucky enough to shoot the grey partridges at Arundel, yet those who do marvel at the Duke of Norfolk’s successful efforts at restoring the wild grey partridge population to the South Downs. This is easily one of the best shoots in the UK.
The high pheasants at Brigands can humble even the finest of shots as they soar over the deep valleys in Snowdonia (one drive is even named Humble Pie to help warn overconfident guests).
Count Konrad Goess-Saurau has worked to turn Temple from a farm lacking any wildlife into an award-winning estate that is teeming with birds and beasts. The early-season partridges found here are the best sport on the Marlborough Downs.
Best for grouse…
Wemmergill, Co Durham
With shooting records that date back to 1872, Wemmergill is one of the most prolific and well managed grouse moors in Britain. Owned by Michael Cannon, the estate continues to push the boundaries with modern-day moor management.
East Allenheads, Northumberland
The perfect example of how conservation and shooting are integral to each other, East Allenheads thrives as one of the best grouse moors in the country. The grouse here do not flutter about so guests need to be quick on their toes.
Favoured by the Duke of Northumberland, this Highland estate is a mecca for shooting enthusiasts. With drives set over five corries, each over 3,000 feet, Phoines is one of the most spectacular and challenging spots to shoot grouse.
Best for wild shooting…
Islay Estate, Islay
Islay Estate has everything one needs for a serious sporting trip. There are woodcock, snipe, and geese that can be walked up or found on driven days with pheasant and partridge. Once the shooting is over, guests can also take up a rod or go stalking on the hills.
Orkney Islands, Orkney
The Orkney Islands are annually flooded with migratory greylag geese and one result of this is that shots can experience unparalleled flighting with astonishing views. Watching a wild goose come in while you are hidden on a beach facing a stormy Atlantic is truly unique.
Slebech Estate, Pembrokeshire
The best wild shooting you can find in the south of the UK, Slebech Estate has woodcock, snipe, and teal in abundance. The woodcock keeper John Webb and his team of beaters are masters at finding woodcock in the thickest of cover.