“We shoot over about 3,000 acres, of which 1,000 is old woodland, 200 is permanent pasture and 1,800 is cultivated to oilseed rape, sweetcorn, peas, coriander, wheat and barley. We sowed about 120 acres of cover crop, mostly maize, sorghum and wild bird mix, and this was distributed in 32 strips about the place. Everything we shoot is over chalk, most of it is steep. It gets trappy when it gets wet and the topsoil is a bit thin on the downs but, overall, it is beautiful countryside and produces well.”
“We have around 20 drives on our ground and this will allow game shooting between 30 and 40 days this season without overloading any of them. The bigger days are all shot on high ground and valleys and we put sufficient pheasant to wood to cope with this schedule. We buy in as poults a mixture of lighter, smaller fen birds, which are better for the lower ground and bulkier, harder flying black necks, which go better off the higher banks.
“This is not the easiest ground. All the woodland is on the lower slopes, all our drives are out of game cover, but it is rewarding when you see it working properly. Of the 21 release pens, nine are on mains water but 12 are served by bowser, and there is no natural water anywhere. On the other hand, every drive has a footpath or bridleway alongside or through it. We have buzzards, the rarer hawfinches and we had the first red kite nests in West Sussex, so we are a twitchers paradise.”