Shooting in Shropshire – The History of S.J. Barker Pheasant Shooting
The Barker family have been shooting in Shropshire for generations now. It would be fair to say we have ‘the shooting bug’ running through our veins! Whether that is a good or a bad thing I’m not sure, but it certainly is incurable !!
My grandfather was the owner of Jabez Barker’s Timber Merchant’s, a considerable business cutting and selling timber from all over Shropshire and large parts of Wales, in fact just after the war he ran over 100 teams of heavy horses tushing timber off some wonderful Estates.
He developed a passion for shooting in Shropshire, getting invitations from his timber clients and soon took on the lease of Marrington shoot where his sons, and indeed grandchildren, enjoyed the sport for over thirty years. This was and still is a beautiful Sporting Estate created by a deep valley which cuts through fabulous scenery and it is in fact next door Estate, but one to Leigh Manor.
My father John just loved high pheasants, spending his days trying to create higher and higher birds. The opportunity came up in 1987 to lease the sporting rights at Leaton Knolls Estate, next door to our farm which gave him the chance to put his passion into effect and sell a bit of shooting alongside his dairy farming business. John along with myself, Steve, acting as part time Keeper approached the pheasant drives with energetic gusto abandoning most of the old well proven drives and experimenting with all sorts of different driving techniques. Many of which proved be be total flops, but sufficient came out trumps. It gave the Shoot quite a shake up and provided us with great fun. Most of these drives we still do today although, like the trees and woods, things constantly change and we try to adapt with them accordingly. One major change came when we introduced partridge shooting, these explosive little birds have certainly given the shoot days a new dimension and the Keepers and Beaters a different challenge !
As the years rolled by I became more and more involved with our sport, as I said it’s in our veins, and this led to us taking on the sporting rights of a second shoot, Leigh Manor with a friend.
Sadly though, my Father passed away soon after this, thrilled to have seen the new Shropshire shoot, but alas he never saw any pheasants fly that year and boy did they fly!!
Our Shooting Estates in Shropshire
The result is that we are delighted to have the management of two shoots in Shropshire. They keep us very busy in the winter months and now for most of the year as we rear all our birds from day old chicks on our game farm at home with the help of our two Keepers. Leigh Manor is half an hour’s run (20 miles) from here but we always love popping up there to do odd jobs, as it is such a beautiful spot with phenomenal views and lovely woods and valleys.
A Passion for Shooting
I guess we are extremely lucky to have a business that is also our hobby and passion, we are truly blessed.
A few people think our sport is unnecessary and cruel, but they normally don’t understand our sport and very very few who are introduced to shooting in a proper manner turn against it . We are after all evolved from hunter gatherers!
Certainly our beautiful countryside would not be as it is today had it not been for our sporting ancestors planting and creating the landscape we all take for granted!
Finally we hope you enjoy browsing our website and can only wish you good sport and hope that we might cross paths shooting in Shropshire.