Country mouse enjoys a shoot

There is something special about constantly returning to the same spot. Many artists paint the same scene over and over again, capturing the changes of light as the seasons progress, but, last weekend, it was not seasons but the years that enthralled me. For the past five, I’ve been going to a shoot run by Colin Hayward. It’s been created almost out of nothing and the hundreds of trees that were planted are just starting to get some height and shape. The landscape is changing.

* Subscribe to Country Life and receive a bottle of single malt whisky

The vineyard has progressed well and 2013 has produced a fantastic crop of grapes. The cover crops, a disaster a year ago due to the wet summer, stand bold and thick; the partridges and pheasants have made the most of the warm summer together with finches, tits and wood pigeons. The hedges are brightly bejewelled with heavy loads of glossy berries and, despite the storms, many leaves still cling to their hosts, with the exception of the ash trees.

The shoot itself was fantastic. A strong wind made every shot a challenge and success was something to savour. It may take almost a year of a gamekeeper’s work for that partridge to come whizzing towards you, but creating a beautiful landscape for all of Nature to benefit takes longer.

* Follow Country Life magazine on Twitter