A whole group of people from the ShootClay Forum headed down the A24 to Southdown Gun Club near Findon in West Sussex yesterday for a day shooting in the FITASC Winter Series. There is a long report about our shooting and the results over on the forum – but here are some impressions about the Shooting Ground.
We had a decent drive down the A24 – no traffic, despite a few roadworks just outside the Ground. If you are heading from London the SG is on the opposite side of the road just before the roundabout at Findon – it’s clearly signposted and you turn off the road and drive through a farm to reach the ground. It’s worth noting that this is a massive piece of land, so you drive in a fair way to a large car park in middle of some old farm buildings. There was some pretty heavy rain on the morning while were there and the car park had some massive muddy puddles and there were some muddy paths around the place – so definitely remember your wellies if you are going when rain is likely.
Clubhouse is upstairs – and when we arrived was absolutely buzzing as we signed on for our day. Food was excellent and priced well, decent bacon & sausage rolls, sandwiches and a full english in front of many a shooter – alongside good mugs of coffee and tea. There is a small shop area with some Top Gun gear available – handy if you forget an essential. The atmosphere was great – with a warm welcome from all the staff and quick efficient service for food.
We were shooting a full day of FITASC so I think we got to see quite a lot of the ground over the four parcours – it is huge, and the sporting set-ups are excellent. With every kind of target available and good quality traps. I saw lots of lessons, and practice rounds going on as well and clearly the corporate and stag-do market is well catered for at SouthDown. The ground also has skeet and trap layouts – as well as large areas set aside for quad bikes and buggies which broadens the commercial aspects of the ground – this seems like a sensible approach to diversifying.
Shooting wise – we saw some fantastic targets, the course for the FITASC was imaginatively set with plenty of testing stands for beginners and more advanced shots. We saw very few no birds all day and no trap breakdowns – good testament to Shaun and the team who set the course and made sure we were all suitably tested! The whole ground is clearly signposted, with safety in mind at every stand including good wooden cages and bins everywhere – we even saw people tidying up as they went round so there is pride in the way the ground looks as well as runs.
The squadded system ran on time (and was even ahead at some points) but did not feel rushed at any point. Certainly the consensus on our squad was that everything was very well organised – with good, knowledgable and friendly referees. If that is an example of how Southdown run a Sporting shoot – I can definitely see me going back for more.
Overall – an excellent shooting ground – lots of space, imaginatively used and well set up to cater for every level of shooter.
ShootClay will definitely be back.
The Southdown website is at : http://southdowngunclub.co.uk/