With some of the finest estates in the country, beautiful countryside and close proximity to London, the Cotswolds remain at the top of most people’s lists when thinking about sporting opportunities in the UK. For six decades, Ian Coley has been one of the most highly regarded men in the sporting industry, both in terms of competitive shooting and sporting agency. He first shot for Great Britain in 1971 and has coached the GB team six times at the Olympics, with gold medals in Sydney and London in the double trap; he was awarded a MBE in 2012 for his services to the sport. He established ‘Ian Coley Gunsmiths’ in 1970 and began to offer corporate shooting days on estates across Gloucestershire in the mid-1980’s. Today, the company, with its purpose built clay shooting facility, gun room and sporting agency, is based on a 50 acre site near Andoversford, ten minutes from Cheltenham.
Here, senior sporting agent, Edward Darbishire, and Ian Coley give an overview of how the 2017-2018 season ahead is shaping up.
“At the top end of the sporting market, things don’t seem to be affected by what’s going on politically or economically. Since the downturn in 2008, there has been a steady increase in bookings year-on-year, regardless of what’s going on in the monetary markets around the world and shooting appears to be something people really want to do and we are here to provide it.
We typically do most of our bookings between February and April but business is picking up again as the grouse season starts on 12th August, followed by partridges in September and pheasants in October. There is still loads of interest out there and we are also beginning to see more and more younger professionals interested in a day out in the countryside.
About 80% of our clients take the traditional approach to booking and will do it straight away. Given the commitment to something that won’t happen for another year demonstrates their passion for the sport. But increasingly, we’re seeing a proportion who, for whatever reason, will book later and later. That’s not a problem as we still have days for this coming season, not least because estates are extending their seasons and putting on more days.
The Cotswolds will always be a prime area for shooting because of its location: we have clients who live locally or have a second home here, as well as those who come from London – after all, it’s only a 1hr 45min drive, the shooting is very good and there are a number of excellent pubs and hotels which cater to the market. Price wise in the Cotswolds, we’re typically about £40 plus VAT per bird, this varies all over the UK due to a number of factors but location and quality play a massive part.
What we’ve noticed about shooting is the level of commitment; within reason, guns will drop everything to make the effort to come – that’s not necessarily true of other sports or corporate events.”
Harry Gladwin, Head of the Cotswolds Region says “Many of our clients have sporting requirements and the Cotswolds cater for most of their needs, be it shooting, riding or racing. Those with ambitions to find a farm or estate with a decent shoot need to be patient as these rarely come to the market and when they do, usually command a premium. Ian and Ed therefore often get introductions to clients wanting help with their local sporting fix or for lessons in preparation for their next day in the field.”
Top 10 Cotswolds shoots for Ian Coley Shooting
- Salperton Park
- Coombe End
- Stowell Park
- Crucis Park
- Cold Aston
Tel: 01242 870391