Purdey might be known as a consummate London brand – their heritage gunmaking operations have been located between Soho and Hammersmith for over 200 years, after all – but, appropriately to a marque so inextricably tied to the countryside, they’ve made a more pastoral home, too.
Purdey at the Royal Berkshire Shooting School can be found 50 miles west of London near the idyllic towns of Pangbourne and Goring. Nestled within 70 acres of beautiful English countryside, it offers a complete sporting experience to both budding and experienced guns.
Across a downhill valley and swathes of mature woodland, you’ll find six towers, three grouse butts, pattern plates and nearly 100 traps that simulate an abundance of birds – as well as a host of private tuition sessions (a particular boon with the festive gifting season looming), simulated clay days (of which more shortly), and informal diversions such as the Ten-Ten Challenge (in which skilled guns can shoot 100 clays over a predetermined course, accompanied by a member of PRB staff).
PRB, as it is known, is also home to an in-house Sporting Agency – gatekeeper to the finest shooting and estates across the UK and abroad. Money, goes the old adage, can’t buy you everything; but a bespoke trip facilitated by the Agency does afford as close to a perfect day on the drives and/or pegs imaginable.
Through to the end of the shooting seasons (which traditionally run from August to February), the team can provide elite access to exceptional estates of varying appeals and landscapes, from stunning high and wild-bird shoots (pheasant and wild grey partridge among them) at West Sussex’s Arundel Park, to lofty drives over the heath-clad hilltops of Northumberland’s Linhope Estate, and classic downland partridge shooting at the old-world Benham estate in Berkshire.
The Sporting Agency also offers somewhat more exotic trips to further afield regions. There are big-yield shoots for red-legged partridge in Spain and Mallorca; thrilling hunts for rock pigeon, wild duck, goose and upland Francolin partridge around Bloemfontein in South Africa; and truly premium shooting for fast-flying eared doves in the Córdoba province of Argentina. Running over 100 bespoke trips a year, the Sporting Agency is a second-to-none service for experiencing some of the finest traditional sporting trips the planet has to offer – with each trip hosted by one of its own seasoned sportsmen.
Of course, these excursions are limited to the rigid Autumn/Winter shooting seasons. Those inclined to year-round sporting would do well to consider one of their exceptional simulated Really Wild Clay Days. Purdey is often credited with having pioneered the simulated shoot, having hosted their first in 1994.
Running out of season – from February to October – they’re held at five beautiful estates across the Home Counties and the Cotswolds: Englefield House, Highclere Castle (where Downton Abbey was filmed), Kirby Estate, Farmcote Estate and West Woodhay House. The days are ideal for all levels of experience (and for single guns and groups), and they apply their usual, rigorous experience of an estate’s topography and nuances to the use of manual traps, to create experiences as exciting as they are realistic.
Whatever your sporting inclination or weather preference, Purdey at the Royal Berkshire and the Sporting Agency offer perfect sport at any time of year. It’s just another string to their bow – or rather, another meticulously crafted gun in their arsenal.
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For more information and available dates, contact Sporting Agents Matt Smith (email@example.com) and Gordon Robinson (firstname.lastname@example.org) on +44 1491 672900. For more info, see Purdey and Sporting Agency