Annwen Joffe from Ian Coley Shooting School tells Jasper Fellows how the ground has become a outstanding destination for shooters
Head a few short miles south west of the elegant Regency spa town of Cheltenham, and you will soon find yourself in the Tolkienesque rolling hills and deciduous woodlands of the Cotswolds.
This is where, in 1987, gunsmith and Team GB shooter Ian Coley worked with the landowner to set up ten traps and a small area to entertain clients.
Ian has gone on to achieve international acclaim as one of the world’s leading clay shooters and instructors, representing his country on more than 200 occasions – either as a shooter, coach or team manager.
After leading Peter Wilson to a Double Trap gold at London 2012, Ian was awarded an MBE in 2013 for his services to shooting sports. This passion and dedication to the sport has enabled Ian to turn a few traps in a field into a world-class shooting school.
“We now have 24 different stands, each with a minimum of two traps,” explains Annwen Joffe, who has been working with Ian Coley since 2013.
“We also have three high towers ranging up to 120ft and a DTL layout, all set in a mixture of woodland and landscaped grounds, with gravel pathways and a range of covered stands. So, you can have fun whatever the weather.”
For those looking to improve their scores, head coach Matt Davis and his team of instructors are on hand to help you tackle any niggling issues.
“Our coaches are here to help you iron out those bad habits, work on your mental fortitude, practise physical techniques and conquer whatever targets you find the most testing,” says Annwen.
Don’t let the Ian Coley name make you think that this is coaching suitable only for Olympic athletes. They also offer have-a-go experiences to introduce first-timers to the sport.
“We take a lot of pride in making novice shooters feel at home; we believe that if you don’t make these first experiences positive then they will never come back,” says Annwen.
One of the biggest draws for shooters has to be the multi-award winning gun room and shop.
“The Ian Coley Gun Room houses one of the largest selections of quality new and second-hand guns in the UK. There’s up to one thousand guns on display at any one time – ranging from starter guns, to spectacular custom guns,” Annwen enthuses.
“We’ve also recently been named as one of the first Krieghoff Custom Shops in the UK, with a number of one-off high-grade actions on display.”
Alongside the guns on offer, there’s a country clothing store with items from brands such as Alan Paine, Beretta, Härkila and Ariat.
“Our lodge also has a café,” says Annwen.
“We serve hot and cold drinks and snacks throughout the week, and hot food on Saturdays and during CPSA registered shoots.”
The registered shoots take place each month during the spring and the summer.
“This year we also hosted the Foxdenton Challenge, our annual Rugby for Heroes fundraising shoot, and our first ever Ladies Open Sporting Competition, which we hope to make an annual event, and many more.”
For game shooters, Ian Coley’s Shooting School also has its own sporting agency. As Annwen explains, “We are able to offer bespoke shooting opportunities on some of the greatest estates across the UK, Spain and Argentina.”
With Sporting, DTL, a world class gun room, expert tuition and truly exceptional surroundings, any shooter would be hard pressed to find a better place to improve their scores, have a fun time and soak in the beauty of the Cotswold hills than the Ian Coley Shooting School.
Ian Coley MBE is the founder and director, alongside Adam Bromfield. Matt Davis is both Shooting School Manager and Head Coach, assisted by Matt Jones who sets the targets and layouts. Emme Hale and Emma Collins head up the front desk as the Shooting School Administrators, while Matt Panter looks after the Gun Room. Edward Darbishire leads the Sporting Agency.
WHAT’S ON OFFER?
English Sporting, DTL, three high towers and a grouse butt. There is also a sporting agency, an extensive gun shop and on-site café. Pay & Play self-timing traps are available for licence holders.
WHEN IS IT OPEN?
The Shooting School: Monday-Saturday, 9:00-17:00
The Shop: Monday-Friday, 9:00-17:30, Saturday, 9:00-5:00
Individual lessons start from £90, shared lessons from £65 per person, exclusive of clays and cartridges. Special experiences packages include stag and hen parties from £40, corporate team-building from £45 per person and ‘Have-A-Go’ sessions from £54 per person. All experience packages are fully inclusive of all equipment hire, clays and cartridges. Specialist game shooting tuition on the grouse butt is available from £100 per hour.