This review has been in my drafts folder for way too long, so apologies to Phil Moss and the team at Barrow Heath for not getting this online earlier!
Nestled next to a railway, just off the A14 between Newmarket and Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk – Barrow Heath Shooting Ground (link to Facebook Page) is undergoing a transformation. The shooting ground is under new management, has a new clubhouse and is looking marvellous on a mild August day as I visited for an England FITASC Sporting Selection Shoot.
On arrival to the ground – the new clubhouse was busy with good catering running and plenty of cuppas being enjoyed by the FITASC faithful – weather was cloudy and a little breezy, but mild and we were all praying for a dry day – especially those of use that came in from the West where it had been raining heavily during the journey.
The ground is set on a fairly gentle slope, with a good variety of terrain to allow some interesting target setting. Phil Moss has a good reputation for course setting, with something for everyone, including some tough targets to separate the top class shooters.
We started out on the layout behind the clubhouse, set in a bushy piece of land we had some interesting targets across the three pegs (old system FITASC Sporting), what started out as an overhead looper – became a face on target from the third hoop on a platform, and some midi crossers got harder and harder. Great targets, against a nice backdrop. Our second layout was set halfway down the hill in the middle of the ground – an excellent variety of quartering targets, and incomer and some crossers were made tougher by some clever hoop positioning and a number of bales and fence panels to cut down the viewing of the targets.
Onto a third layout which was down to the bottom left of the ground – accessible down the hill by car if you didn’t fancy the walk – we shot a huge teal, disappearing to the treeline – as well as some fast crossers from a scissor lift and a looping angled crosser which caught a lot of people out needing much more forward allowance than it originally looked. The final parcours was tucked into the right hand corner of the ground as we came down the hill. Two fast crossers (including one from the scissor lift mentioned earlier), and two tricky rabbits in amongst the targets here – with the final peg being shot from a raised platform to give a little variety.
The whole day was expertly run – with squads running to time and good refereeing. Targets were thoughtfully set, making good use of the terrain and some interesting presentations, and as befits a England Team Selection Event, the shoot was moderately stiff, and a good test.
Overall – I really loved the ground, the new clubhouse was warm and inviting with good value food to a good standard. The ground had a great atmosphere all day, and I saw no issues – very few no-birds, and enough staff to keep the day buzzing along quickly. I know that Barrow Heath also runs some well-respected registered Sporting events and there have been plenty of positive comments about those over on the ShootClay Forum.