One of Gloucestershire’s best kept secrets, Salperton Park is a hidden gem. Behind the immaculate dry stone walled entrance, the estate opens out into rolling, landscaped parkland reminiscent of Capability Brown’s finest work. At the top of the drive, the 17th century Manor presides over the village of Salperton, which sits nestled in a wooded valley. The Ian Coley Sporting Agency played host to the annual Nth Degree Shoot Day in this quintessential Cotswold setting.
Only an hour and 45 minutes from central London, Salperton is a firm favourite in shooting circles, thanks to the quality of sport, variety of drives (there are 20 in total) and stellar hospitality. Renowned for the quality of its partridge shooting, which has become its speciality – 80% of the birds put down are partridges, reared on site – the estate frequently features in the top ten UK game shoots. It’s easy to see why, with stunning topography presenting game birds of the highest calibre.
Over 150 acres of game cover is strategically sown to hold birds within a profusion of natural, secluded valleys. The birds fly high and fast off the wooded banks, offering challenging shooting that is not for the faint hearted. After two thrilling drives we stop for sumptuous champagne elevenses in the field.
The Cotswolds are not just a kaleidoscope of idyllic villages, magnificent historic properties and snug inns; they are also home to some of the country’s most renowned shoots, and Salperton is not the only first class shoot to sit within the Ian Coley Sporting Agency portfolio. Ian Coley Sporting has been the leading Sporting Agent in the Cotswolds for well over 40 years now and they enjoy an unparalleled working relationship with the area’s best estates.
Our day is hosted by Ian Coley himself. As Shoot Captain at Salperton, Ian oversees the majority of the days at the estate, ensuring that the guns are well looked after from the moment they arrive. His hosting style is effortless and down-to-earth; there is a relaxed flow from drive to drive, and his depth of experience and knowledge is evident. It is clear from the personal attention to detail that Ian has a genuine interest in ensuring his guns have shoot days which exceed their expectations; something that has built a highly deserved and well-deserved reputation in the field.
Coley is renowned in the shooting world and widely recognised as one of the world’s top game and clay shots. Six times Olympic coach, Ian first shot for Great Britain in 1971, and since then has represented the country on over 200 occasions – either as a shooter, coach or team manager. In 2012, after presiding over Peter Wilson’s Gold Medal win at the London Olympics as GB Team Manager, Ian was awarded an MBE for his services to the sport.
Now retired from his Olympic role, Ian currently runs one of the UK’s largest Sporting Agencies from a 50-acre site just outside Cheltenham, which is also home to his eponymous award-winning Shooting School and Gun Shop. The agency offers clients quality driven game shooting across the UK, as well as further afield in Spain and Argentina, for those seeking something extra special. All locations in their portfolio are hand-picked and personally approved, to ensure clients receive exceptional value for money without compromising on quality.
Like Salperton, shooting in Spain offers phenomenal partridges in spectacular scenery. High, crossing and bursting coveys of birds are presented from a rich variety of terrain, including mountains, hills, farmland and oak-dotted pastures. With prices from just €41 per bird, it presents an incredibly affordable extension to the British season. For a never-ending season, dedicated wing shooters head to Argentina, where unlimited dove shooting is available all year long. The Ian Coley Sporting Agency works closely with Cordoba’s leading estates, who have access to over a quarter-million acres of the finest dove hunting terrain – home to over 50 million doves annually.
Closer to home, Ian’s passion is grouse, and his skill on them is gold-medal standard. ‘They appear over the skyline and before you’ve realised they’re there, Ian’s dropped a pair,’ reports an awed admirer. Not much can compare with the thrill of shooting grouse, whose sheer speed and magical flight provides so many sportsmen with the ultimate sporting challenge year after year. Whether you are drawn to the beauty of the North of England Moors or to the pure romance of Scotland, the Grouse is the most revered of all sporting quarry, and is considered to be the pinnacle of driven shooting.
The Ian Coley Sporting Agency doesn’t only cater for full teams of guns – their Bugatti Roving Syndicate is well established and offers a number of dates throughout the season on grouse, partridge and pheasant at a variety of prestigious shoots. The syndicate – renowned for its relaxed feel, friendliness and for the superb shooting that is provided – is designed not just for individual guns, but also for small groups of friends who are looking for three or four spaces.
We complete four drives – Farr Hill, Lime Kiln, Rabbit Hill and Rough Bank – in total, before making our way back to the stunning converted shoot lodge for lunch. The dining room is set up a spiral staircase in the eaves of an ancient Cotswold stone barn. Roast sirloin of beef, with Yorkshire pudding and horseradish cream, followed by pear and blackberry crumble provides the perfect end to an exhilarating and memorable day.
If you are interested in booking a full team or individual peg at Salperton, or any shoot with Ian Coley Sporting, contact one of their Sporting Office team on 01242 870391.