Jasper Fellows breathes in the mountain air and admires the targets with Richard Jones at Dovey Valley Shooting Ground.
Snowdonia National Park, home to snow-capped mountains, mysterious towering castles, forgotten slate mines and an ancient forest dedicated to the memory of the legendary Welsh hero Gellert. On the southern border
of this world-famous national park we find the biggest draw for us clay shooters, Dovey Valley Shooting Ground.
Owner Richard Jones is on hand to give us the tour of everything this Welsh
wonderland has on offer. Dovey Valley has been in the Jones family since the 60’s but Richard and his partner Nia only took ownership last year, as Richard explains.
“My grandfather, Hugh, established the grounds and was well known for just how realistic his targets were. He would hide his traps and make the targets appear out of thin air. Eighteen years ago, he leased the ground out to a couple, but they retired in 2018, so Nia and I took over and brought the family back into the business in January 2019.”
Since then Richard and his family have been hard at work refitting the clubhouse, clearing out overgrown sections of the grounds, adding new targets and installing a Promatic Claymate system. “Nia and I decided that if we were going to take over Dovey Valley then we were going to do it right,” continues Richard. “We wanted to do the location justice and turn it into a truly modern shooting ground.”
Their hard work has paid off, with Dovey Valley now featuring a huge Sporting area with more than 100 stands alongside a Skeet area where visitors can practise ABT, DTL or classic Skeet shooting.
“Our Promatic Claymate system currently covers about 25 targets,” explains Richard. “We are continually extending the system so every month we are able to offer even more choice and freedom to our visitors.” With so many targets on offer, it’s well worth booking in for a bit of instruction.
“All of our instructors are able to help anyone, from first timer to experienced shot. We are particularly lucky to have double Commonwealth Games medallist Peter Croft on staff. He’s a tremendous coach and able to offer instructions up to the very highest standard. We also offer caddied rounds, where our team can help visitors make the most of more than 500
targets on site.”
Clearly there is a fantastic selection of clay shooting opportunities on site, but Dovey Valley is perhaps best known for its historic connection to game simulation. “My grandfather was one of the first to offer simulated game in the UK,” says Richard.
“With 50 years’ experience we feel we have mastered the art. Here at Dovey Valley we offer simulated flush, which is great fun, but for the most authentic experience we head to the nearby Brynmelin Estate for full simulated days.”
“Our simulated days run in much the same way a traditional shoot would, with a full day of challenging targets divided up by a delicious breakfast, divine elevenses and a classic relaxed field lunch to keep everyone going. We are very proud of our history with simulated game and aim to provide a wonderful experience whether clients are joining us for a pre-planned
package day or for their very own, personally designed, bespoke experience.”
Staying on site? Don’t worry, you can still partake in the ‘divine elevenses’ thanks to the onsite café, where Nia and Richard’s own mother, Trish, serves up a wide array of refreshments. “We offer everything from a full Welsh breakfast to coffee and cake, and not just for shooters. We welcome anyone who fancies popping in for a bite to eat.”
Soon there will be another reason to pop in for a non-shooting visit too, as Richard and the team are planning to open a gunroom and country store here in the near future. “We can’t give away too much at the moment,” hints Richard, “But we have all the major gun brands on board and the
future looks very exciting!”
With over 500 targets to try, historic simulated game, world-class instruction, some of the UK’s most stunning scenery and big plans for the future, Dovey Valley Shooting Ground beats out even the most ancient castles or highest mountain top for North Wales’ most exciting attraction.
One-hour individual lessons start from £40, exclusive of clays and cartridges. Additional students can join for £25 per person. Lesson packages are available. Discounts are available for young shots, students and young farmer members.
Richard Jones and Nia Witts are the owners. Stuart Claire is the in-house
instructor, while Keith Hiatt and Commonwealth Games double medallist
Peter Croft provide additional tuition as needed. Richard’s parents Trish and Alan Jones round out the team, with Alan maintaining the traps and Trish helping Nia to keep guests refreshed from the café.
What’s on offer?
English Sporting, DTL, ABT, Skeet and Simulated Game
When is it open?
Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, 9:30am-4pm