Situated about 10 mins from the M1 (J9) in Hertfordshire, Broomhills Shooting Ground is a short run for the ShootClay.co.uk team. It’s a well equipped location, with a 10 stand English Sporting course, an Air Rifle range and a new Pratical Shotgun range. Broomhills is moderately wooded, and most of the stands point inwards around a horseshoe shaped area, it is relatively compact so not lot of walking between stands. There are two high towers, with at least 6 traps – and the variety at Broomhills is really good. The whole site has good paths – and even at the depths of winter, we’ve never really needed heavy boots for a round of English Sporting – so yesterday it was comfy shoes for a quick blast around the full course.
We tend to use the ‘fur and feathers’ stand for our opening gambit – this is a raised platform, shooting into a high bank – with 5 different birds to take. There are 2 going away, 2 rabbits and a really quick crosser that can challenge the best shot. We usually shoot the two going away to warm up (easy to miss if you don’t pay attention) – and then some combination pairs to really get us thinking. Then it’s off up the short hill to start on the main stands.
There is plenty of variety at Broomhills – and yesterday we noticed they’d adjusted a couple of standssince our last trip – we had some nice loopers, an edge-on going away bird which really needed some quick thinking (depending on the wind) and careful following. The high tower generates two good left to right birds that can easily be over-thought, and the next stand has two overhead birds from the tower that really test your ability to choose your lead and do it quickly!
All the stands are covered – with gun racks, and dry areas to keep your cartridges and bags with you. One facility we like, but haven’t had the opportunity to use fully is the Claymate system which allows solo shooters to set traps to automatically pull after a timer beeps – a nice feature for those needing a bit of solitary practice. The whole ground uses a system to log the number of clays you use on a small box, which plugs in at each trap – with an honour system for the occasional no birds (we had less than 10 yesterday on our round of 200 birds).
We found one trap that wasn’t working – but with some stands having 4 or 5 traps available, it’s easy to switch up and make some interesting combinations. It was a minor quibble, and didn’t spoil a good day of shooting.
With our rounds completed – we headed back for a bacon roll and coffee at the clubhouse, with outdoor seating area to reflect on our scores and lament the missed birds! The airgun range looked busy, and there was practical shotgunning on the go – making this a busy little site, but we didn’t have any waits on stands going round the English Sporting course. There were also a couple of groups doing some 4×4 driving on site, followed bya bit of coached shooting – probably a stag night as at least one of them looked a bit nervous! Broomhills has a handy little shop, and a full gun-room with interesting kit in it and the whole place seems staffed by helpful, enthusiastic people. They have an onsite coach, who we have seen working with people – but we haven’t had a chance to meet him yet.
Our round of 200 birds was £28 per head – not the cheapest, but the facilities at Broomhills are of a good standard. We’d recommend the ground highly – a great place to practice your shooting on a wide variety of stands and targets. A full gallery of pictures is included below.
Broomhills Shooting Ground, Windmill Road (off Hicks Road), Markyate, Hertfordshire, AL3 8LP. Tel : 01582 849190