Air gun sport can take many forms, from paper target punching to field target and HFT. At Shebbear Shooters we cater for all. We have a four acre field where we have permanent field target and HFT courses laid out. For indoor shooting we have the use of our Village Hall.
At the outdoor range there is a zero and plinking area for all kinds of "fun" shooting. Indeed, some members are quite content to spend an entire day on the zero range shooting at knock down and reset targets. The main course area comprises a 40 target FT course, with a 30 target HFT or "hunter" course interspersed within it. (see British Field Target Association and the South West England Field Target Association) The hunter course is sometimes decked out in the colours of snooker balls, and shot with scoring rules that follow snooker, as a fun alternative.
Indoors we shoot Lightweight Sport Rifle, a nationally accepted discipline requiring precision shooting from a standing position at 20 yards range. (for more information see National Small Bore Association)
In everything we do, we try to ensure that the members have fun, and enjoy their sport in the safest possible manner. This is a family orientated club where partners are welcome as participators or just visitors. We have built a reputation for our hospitality which we intend to maintain.
Placed in the centre of a triangle between Torrington, Holsworthy and Hatherleigh, we are due south of Bideford by approximately 14 miles, and due east of Bude by about 20 miles. Punch EX21 5HH into your Satnav to find us.
Our landlord is Shebbear College, and we have the use of what is known as the Top Field. It's immediately adjacent to the College complex, and the entrance gate is just by the road sign showing you are entering (or leaving) a 30mph limit zone. There is ample car parking in the field.
From Brandis Corner on the A3072, take the turning by the Bickford Arms signposted Shebbear. Stay on this minor road for nearly five miles, and ignore all the fingerboard signs to the left for Shebbear, continuing until you reach a 30mph limit sign. Go over one crossroad (you have priority), go past the College buildings and watch for the de-restricted sign on the left, within a quarter of a mile. The field gate is by this sign.
From Bideford, take the A386 signposted Torrington then turn right onto the A388 signposted Holsworthy. This will bring you to Stibb Cross, where you go straight over, taking the Shebbear road. After four miles look for the 30mph limit sign. The field is the other side of the hedge on your right.
(Note pass your mouse over the letters to see a full-size version)
It all began in 2002. Rich Clark had been shooting field target competitions across the south west of England for some time, as a nomadic player with no home club. Keen to find a suitable local venue, he floated the idea of a new club in this area (the nearest was over 20 miles away) and Shebbear College offered the use of their Top Field on acceptable terms. However some significant capital would be needed, and the search was on for some grant funding.
In May 2003, after a few raised eyebrows about the whole idea of helping to fund a new gun club in today's politically correct environment, the Tarka Country Millennium Awards office backed by the Millennium Commission (Lottery money) agreed to grant a little over £4,000. This was used to equip the new club with all kinds of physical things, targets, fencing, security items, signs, a couple of trainer rifles, pellets, compressed air bottle, chronograph, paint, etc. Not only hardware, but software too.
The grant paid for first aid training, training Rich to become the first qualified shooting club instructor in this area, getting members approved by the Criminal Records Bureau to work with young people, paying for the first year's insurance and subsidising the first 20 members by paying their annual subscriptions.
Since these modest beginnings, Shebbear Shooters has expanded by including the indoor shooting in the repertoire of facilities it offers to members.
There has been a shortage of qualified club instructors across the region; to put this right we laid on a training course in the summer of 2009, employing a leading coach from the NSRA who was the team manager for our national squad at the Paralympics. This was a sell-out and even included a trainee coming from Holland to take the course. Shebbear now has five qualified club instructors of its own.
We owe a debt of gratitude to TCMA, without whose help and commitment this venture would not have got off to such a good start. Our affiliation to the NSRA provides the umbrella of insurance cover for all of the activities we pursue. NSRA have been very helpful with professional development.
Also to be acknowledged are the South West of England Field Target Association, who supported the grant application and offered affiliation to the new club. Devon and Cornwall Constabulary inspected the ground and studied our safety policy, giving whole-hearted written approval for both, even though their remit does not extend to non-FAC air gun clubs. This was a key item in securing the grant. Shebbear Parish Council also gave a positive recommendation at the same time and have since made small grants for specific purposes. Several local businesses have also given financial and material support.