Shooting school is aiming even higher

ONE of the country's top shooting schools based in north Suffolk has an impressive new feature that is one of the tallest structures in the area.High Lodge Shooting School based at Haw Wood, Hinton, near Halesworth, has been voted the top clay pigeon shooting ground in the country by a national specialised magazine.

ONE of the country's top shooting schools based in north Suffolk has an impressive new feature that is one of the tallest structures in the area.

High Lodge Shooting School based at Haw Wood, Hinton, near Halesworth, has been voted the top clay pigeon shooting ground in the country by a national specialised magazine.

Owner and former clay pigeon shooting world champion, John Bidwell is determined to keep improving the sport and leisure complex.

A giant crane arrived at the complex yesterdayto help lift a 120ft high shooting tower into place.


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The £35,000 tower, 19ft higher than Southwold lighthouse, will enable clay targets to be released automatically from different heights and will appeal to enthusiasts from a wide area.

"We have been working closely with local residents, parish councils and the district council to get planning permission for the tower and we are extremely grateful for all the help we have received," said Mr Bidwell.

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Last year a tethered balloon was flown at the height of the tower to give Suffolk Coastal planners an idea of how the structure will appear in the local landscape.

"The tower will be visible from part of the A12 road but with all the trees around it will not dominate the skyline," said Mr Bidwell.

With the new facility in place it is hoped that a number of important clay pigeon shooting tournaments can be held at the Suffolk venue.

In July this year it will be host the English national championships.

A £285,000 improvement scheme will see 4,500sq ft of extra space added to the clubhouse, which includes a larger banqueting hall as well as extra kitchen

Space. A new shop selling shooting and golf equipment will also open in April.

"We are very much in the leisure business and want to attract more people to this part of rural Suffolk," said Mr Bidwell.

The complex also has planning permission for 15 lodges that provide visitors with overnight and weekly accommodation.

"So far we have six lodges open and are able to provide bed and breakfast breaks for our visitors but more lodges will be opening shortly," said Mr Bidwell.

As well as providing a leading sport and leisure facility for residents and visitors High Lodge plays an important role in the local economy.

At the moment it employs 16 staff full-time with another 24 working part-time but these numbers are set to be increased in the near future.

"The entire complex has grown considerably in recent years and we are very keen to maintain the excellent relationship we have with our neighbours and nearby villages so that this can continue," said Mr Bidwell.

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david.lennard@eadt.co.uk

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