Sporting at Loyton
Challacombe & Edgcott
“Entry in the Field’s Top 50 Shoots, 2012″ Amongst the highest partridge in the country.
Challacombe was for some years managed by the nearby Castle Hill Estate who raised the shoot to a high standard and earned it a great reputation. When this partnership came to an end the shoot became redundant for a year at which point Angus was able to take on the ground in 2010, in collaboration with Rob Eggins as Head Keeper and Daniel Hartford as his right hand, senior Beat Keeper. They planned and created a smaller but equally successful partridge shoot, presenting some of the highest birds in the country.
This season a truly spectacular parcel of land has been added, which will mean even more challenging birds. Most excitingly though, it will add some pheasant into the mix and enables us to offer smaller, mixed days, towards the end of the season.
Set in pure Exmoor landscape, this is an incredibly beautiful location. At the heart of the shoot is the reservoir surrounded by moorland, through which the birds are driven over the guns to astounding effect and giving the dogs a veritable retrieving challenge when, as is more often than not the case, the birds fall into the water. A wonderful spectacle for guns, dog handlers and onlookers alike.
Daniel has been with Challacombe for these last four seasons working in collaboration with Rob Eggins to manage this fantastic ground to resounding success. All the drives are exceptional and exciting but those that stand out as much for their beauty as for the high birds would be Pixie’s Rocks, Niagara, Swincombe, and the applauded Reservoir.
Quarry: Partridge and pheasant
Boundary days: Partridge, pheasant, woodcock and duck
Head Keeper: Rob Eggins
Senior Beat Keeper: Daniel Hartford
Under Keepers: Richard Masters, Sam Meale and Brodie Smith
Chef: Tom Godber-Ford Moore
Wonderful shooting fare is provided by chef Tom in a converted mill on the estate. Tom coordinates the lunches for four of the Loyton Sporting shoots as Head Chef, bringing to each estate a defining food style, inspired by his travels through Europe and North Africa. At Challacombe, Tom presents robust flavours with a delicate touch – expect more interesting meats and cuts such as rosé veal steaks or roast bone marrow, with rosemary and garlic oil as typical flavours. A gentleman’s feast!
Family origins ensure a warm welcome at this vibrant and exhilarating partridge with pheasant shoot situated at the heart of the Exmoor countryside. In beautiful surroundings Edgcott offers a good mix of testing drives from a fascinating topography.
“Entry in The Field’s Top 50 Shoots, 2012 [under Challacombe entry]”
The Edgcott shoot began as a small pheasant shoot some 25 years ago, established and overseen by estate owner Linley Williams. These family origins set a precedent which has endured, bringing a very special atmosphere to this extremely impressive and convivial Exmoor shoot, famous today for its spectacular driven partridge.
Angus became involved with the shoot 6 years ago, recognising a demand and the potential for establishing partridge at Edgcott, which from October is offered as a mixed bag. Linley preserves the character and personal standards of the shoot and will be out hosting the days alongside Head Keeper Rob Eggins who has been with Edgcott for the last 8 seasons. Very much a family affair, Rob is closely supported in running the shoot by his wife Sarah, whilst daughter Amy is the lunch and break host. This family commitment always ensures a warm welcome. Phil Woods makes up the team, adding much fun and mirth to all proceedings.
Coveys of partridge are flushed out to spectacular and stimulating effect; flying with grace and speed, these high birds are a pleasure to watch and a challenge to bring down. With October comes the mixed drives of pheasant and partridge to astound the most accustomed shots! Amongst Rob’s personal favourites and the most testing of drives are Lane and Buckworthy.
Quarry: Partridge and pheasant mixed days from mid-October onwards
Keeper: Rob Eggins
There is a fantastic team in place at Edgcott led by Rob Eggins – a seasoned keeper – who is always entertaining, energetic and knowledgeable, calmly guiding both the guns and their guests through the day with great ease. Rob is supported by his close-knit family and by shoot owner – and natural host – Linley Williams; the day appears effortless with seamless management and wonderful hospitality.
Head Keeper: Rob Eggins
Assistant Keeper: Phil Woods
Edgcott is kitchen headquarters for chef Tom who also oversees exquisite shoot lunches for Challacombe, Combe Sydenham and Stuckeridge. An established member of the Edgcott ‘family’ he runs his kitchen with joyful professionalism and good humour and may at times be heard breaking into resounding song. His famed lunches are served back in the shoot lodge – a simple, elegant conversion looking onto the farmyard, which has a continental feel to it. On the warmer days of early September, sitting out in the yard, which acts as a suntrap, you could almost be abroad. This is fitting for Tom who takes inspiration from his travels in Europe and North Africa. To Edgcott he brings a Spanish flavour serving tapas style pre-lunch snacks with homemade salamis and Iberico ham, robust, flavoursome salads with padron peppers, suckling pig or spiced, slow cooked lamb. If lucky, you may be served some of the fresh goat’s cheese, handmade on the farm. In keeping with the early autumn weather – although not guaranteed! – breaks are often in shirt sleeves and shades with Amy cooking up BBQ’d snacks (tiny, tasty pheasant burgers) from the back of the truck with its built-in bar.