Shooting Days

First Thing...
Of course, nestling amongst the gently rolling contours of the north Berkshire countryside, we're only a hen's run from London – just forty-two miles from Piccadilly. So if you've decided against coming to us the night before, the journey is just over the hour from London. You'll instantly begin to relax as the bangers and the sizzling bacon are paired with the rolls; your toughest decision at this juncture should only be ketchup or HP. With tea or some freshly brewed coffee, you'll draw pegs and see who'll be poaching from whom and then the banter can really start... 

The Craic...
A recent addition to the estate's team is the all-conquering Gun-Bus, Bertha. We all know it's a miracle to actually juggle eight or nine diaries sufficiently to actually nail down a day for a team, so when you do, you'll know a minute of that precious downtime won't be wasted when the whole team are transported together under one roof. As well as keeping all the kit you may need for the day – spare cartridges and waterproofs, safe and dry, your own vehicles will return home mud-free. Above all, we also think that it's a super way to retain all of that priceless banter too.

Elevenses anyone...
With the first two drives under your belt, having blown away cobwebs and with your eye well and truly in, you'll be just about ready for a little something to keep the cold at bay and to silence any rumbling tummies. A few cheeky chipolatas and a mug of fresh soup, like velvety lightly-spiced parsnip, from the kitchens at Farley Hall, is always a winner once the heavier tweeds are on parade. A well-timed pause in proceedings, we feel, helps balance your day with ample opportunities to catch-up or network. It will also ensure that your day is exactly that, a full day of enjoyment and relaxation.

Lunch then...
As the echoes of the shots fade after the morning's fourth drive, the team will wend their way back to the Hall for an invigorating snifter and some light sledging over the morning's action, before sampling the delights Chef has in store. Farley Hall's residentChef, Kevin Martin, a former culinary whizz at Buckingham Palace, in the colder months will conjure something hearty andtraditional, real rib-sticking stuff,  like lamb cobbler or a beef bourguignon; naturally when we're shooting partridges in our shirtsleeves in the warmer months, he'll opt for something considerably lighter like a stroganoff or coronation chicken. All wines are personally selected by Lord Bearsted.

After the fun...
There's nothing like that afterglow, that gentle comedown after a day in the field with real friends. Mandie, the Head Keeper's wife, will just be warming up the teapot as the horn goes to signal the end of the day. Over tea and something sweet and sticky, you'll muse over the sweepstake and chances won and lost. Did they actually pick that high pigeon ... well; it will all be there for you in black and white when Keith West,Farley estate's Head-keeper for 7 years now,joins you for tea, the final bag and a brace of birds, (dressed ready for the oven).

The Season begins ...
We kick off our season at Farley Hall with driven partridges in September. We think it's pretty special to tramp the dry and crackling stubbles in shirtsleeves and shoes instead of wellies in those milder days when summer gradually submits to early autumn. As dyed-in-the-wool traditionalists, we make absolutely no apologies for loving the idea of preserving the traditionally presented partridge, just flicked up like star-bursts over the hedges and shelter belts ... taken out front like grouse, naturally. And if you thought you heard about a few English partridge chirruping away as the birds jink through the line, you'd be right.

The party starts ...
Just sometimes, a local hotel or sporting inn just won't quite cut the mustard in what you're looking for in terms of accommodation around your shoot day. Of course, many of those shooting with us simply scoot in from London or Heathrow, but if you're looking for something unique, then perhaps we can help. If you've a special guest or guests to entertain, to celebrate a significant birthday or the closing of a deal, then do consider staying at Farley Hall; a low key supper the night before the shoot and a black tie dinner the following night perhaps; the combinations and approaches are endless ... 

In the rough or Loving the rough stuff ...

Although the estate is laid out beautifully for driven shooting, we do try to keep a few days available for more low-key days. Helping to reduce disturbance where possible, each season from beginning to end, we aim to let a handful of low-key days where we keep the lid on the frills a little – a combination of smaller manoeuvres on quieter parts of the estate, with maybe a few mini-drives, a little walked-up and perhaps a crack at some duck. So, if you fancy a competitively priced day, a picnic lunch, without the whistles and bells then do get in touch ... we may have one left.

The thick of it or The Season, in full swing...
Once we're into November and December, the shooting on the estate seems to really step up a gear; with autumn behind us, the pheasants are now well-feathered, fully match-fit and flying hard. There's little to match the high-octane thrill of double-gunning on a really busy drive on a proper wintery day - the adrenaline, the noise and the craic with your loader, regardless of whether your day is for entertaining clients and colleagues or your buddies in a wandering syndicate. At Farley, it's all about the fun and relaxation and by the way, if you'd like your dog along to pick up, just let us know  ...it's no problem at all.

At your service...
We know only too well that people who love their shooting are invariably very busy people; with eight or nine Guns and sometimes their partners to consider, there's often a lot to remember and to forget too. Temporary shotgun certificates for overseas visitors, those must-have cartridges, advice on etiquette, an instructor for a teenager's first ever driven day, allergies and important dietary requirements are all part and parcel of what we're involved with here at Farley Hall. If you like the sound of what we're about, then probably the best thing is to get in touch and ask us the question

Feel free to contact us directly or alternatively if you prefer taking your shooting through an agent, please contact Robert Cuthbert at Serious Shooting



Farley Farms and Estate, The Estate Office, Farley Hall, Castle Road, Farley Hill, Berkshire RG7 1UL
Estate Manager: e-mail - andrew@farleyfarms.co.uk
Telephone (0118) 973 0047 Fax (0118) 973 0385