Bowbrook Archers was founded in 1984, based in Shrewsbury. It had a small membership and shot at various indoor and outdoor venues until 2008. It was a club that welcomed all archers and bow types and encouraged all forms of archery, Field, Clout and Target. Throughout that time, members worked hard in game fairs and other similar events raising money towards their long term goal – buying their own land. This looked an increasingly unrealistic aspiration until the chance came in 2007 – and was grabbed with both hands.
Our field was purchased at auction – a rough green field that had been in agricultural use for many years. It is just over 6 acres and based in the village of Withington, about half way between Shrewsbury and Wellington. Appropriate change-of-use planning permission was granted in 2008 and the range has been in operation since then. Our indoor shooting venue remained at Sundorne School in Shrewsbury until 2017.
It took a while to transform the rough pasture to a decent shooting surface – until this had happened, lost arrows were a frequent occurrence although many of them were found, sometimes years after they had gone missing – retrieved arrows made their way into the “rack of shame” which was always fuller than we would have liked. With access to our field possible 24/7 (well, during the hours of daylight anyway) combined with a welcoming and friendly atmosphere, it has allowed the club to thrive and become the largest archery club in Shropshire.
Our indoor accommodation at “The Field” was limited to a small (but very picturesque) sports pavilion that we had transported in one load from our previous shooting venue, plus a small green portacabin that had been used for many years as a construction site cabin. Our archers coming to the field to shoot always had half an eye on the impending weather – with a catchment area of over 20 miles radius a wasted trip could be costly both in time and fuel.
the club took a massive leap of faith with a stated ambition to establish an indoor archery facility on our field. After a lot of hard work, an application to Sport England’s “Inspired facilities” fund was successful (to the tune of £75,000) at the second time of asking in the middle of 2016 which allowed the club’s dreams to become a reality.
Contractors were on site early in the year and the formal opening of a 32m long, well-insulated agricultural building happened in August of that year. This allows 7 full sized bosses to be set up indoors enabling shooting at up to 25metres range although most activity is based on the normal 20yds/18m distance.
With the facility available to members since the opening of our indoor facility, it was not surprising that Bowbrook Archers grew significantly in numbers, topping out at almost 200. With several actual or would-be Olympians among our members the standard of shooting improved significantly although the club has never lost its central aim to encourage all archers whatever their aspirations in the sport and whatever type of bow they shoot with