Atkin Grant & Lang... 6 Years On
In January 2013 a small team from Francis Lovel & Co and The Oxfordshire Shooting School moved over to Hertfordshire, and after three intensive months launched the new Atkin Grant & Lang Shooting Ground. It was no easy task to turn the ground around so quickly, however with a goal to open to the public in April that year we were determined to make it happen. This gave us little time to develop a course that would be worthy of the exceptional ground that was available. The decision was made to keep the development to a limited area and to focus on the quality of the course that we were building. This seems to have set the precedent for how AGL has grown since, with meticulous care to ensure the highest standards instead of rushing ahead and missing important details. At this point we used only a quarter of the ground and opened with 6 sporting stands. Whilst the external ground work was happening renovations were also being made to the shop and the lodge, to ensure that by the time we opened we would have a well-rounded offering for everyone who came to shoot, shop and socialise with us.
We were fortunate to have a great turnout of shooters from the opening and members started signing up at a speed that astounded us. This encouraged further ground development, so we added the high tower and ‘Coverhead’ grouse butt. Having a range of sporting stands put us in a position to not only be attracting clay shooters, but bringing in game shots alike, and ensuring that the targets that we had on offer were as diverse as they could be.
The ground has been hosting competitions for many years but it wasn’t until we started holding monthly CPSA registered shoots that we came into our element with creative course design. We learnt how to use the ground to it’s full potential, offering shooters a unique and impressive course every month. When the CPSA contacted us in 2017 to enquire if we would host the English Open English Sporting Championship the following year, we felt like we had achieved a milestone. This immensely proud moment was only surpassed after successfully hosting the event to a high standard that reflected the dedication, commitment and hard work that everyone had put in.
As the shooting ground has developed and the courses have progressed it has remained a top priority to keep Atkin Grant & Lang accessible to everyone. The competitive shooting world continues to grow and it is important that we cater at this level, but clay pigeon shooting is a sport for all and we try our best to make every shooter feel comfortable and welcome. Encouraging young and new shots is a key focus, and we are honoured to have been awarded ‘Ground of the Year’ two years consecutively by the Ladies Shotgun & Chelsea Bun Club.
If I were asked if the ground has developed the way I anticipated it would back in 2013, it would be impossible to answer. One of my favourite things about AGL is that it has grown and developed naturally over the past six years, the direction that it has taken has been led by the feedback from our loyal members. As it stands, we still have areas to improve and develop, and the whole team are looking forward to working on this over the coming years.
Written by Charlie Stewart-Wood
Director, Atkin Grant & Lang