Shoot for the stars.
Shooting isn’t just a great day out, it’s also an opportunity to see how your friends’ farms are going. On the third drive at Bossington in Hampshire, we saw the Roundhouse, the ne plus ultra of cattle sheds. With its durable, tented roof, it looks like something Sir Michael Hopkins might have designed for the paddock at Goodwood. It allows excellent ventilation and all-round vision for its new inhabitants—the Red Ruby North Devon cattle can munch contentedly on their grass diet, stress-free. Will Buckley and Sarah Jane Fairey recently took up the reins at this gorgeous estate, which straddles the River Test, and their energy and commitment to make it fit for modern farming in a landscape-friendly manner is inspiring.
The ancient chalkstream is being restored as a theme park for feisty wild trout, with meanders reinstated and over-dug channels restored to a more natural state. Currently, there is a taste test for the native-breed pigs—Tamworths and Large Blacks are vying to supply the bacon, hot dogs and pork for Will and Sarah Jane’s new restaurant, Chalk Valley, in Southampton. The revived shoot served its role superbly as a way for friends to get together for a day in the open after New Year parties, with some testing birds, but I won’t be surprised if pheasant burgers also appear on the menu soon.