Field Archery

South Hams Field Archers

Field Archery


The main purpose of field archery is to simulate hunting, as carried out many years ago to survive. Nowadays, hunting with a bow and arrow is illegal in the UK. For South Hams Field Archers, it is all about enjoying the sport and having lots of fun at the same time as competing against archers in the same class and style.


You may have been lucky enough to have seen Archery on the television at some time. The Archer, dressed in team colours of some description, shooting arrows at a target of known distance, across a beautifully flat field, against archers of similar ability using similar equipment. This is great sport if you like that sort of thing, but there are people within the Archery fraternity who would rather get “back to nature” and therefore indulge their passion by taking part in a spot of "Field Archery" instead!


In Field Archery, you shoot on a course set mainly in woodland in small groups (no more than four people). Your group can be made up of archers of any age, sex and ability and will also contain a variety of shooting styles. Traditional English Longbows, Olympic-style recurve bows, American Flatbows, and compound bows (see shooting styles page) making up some of the styles. And this is by no means all the possible styles or types of bow. You will consequently always have a good mix of styles and archers in the group. You might even find entire families shooting, albeit they will be in different groups where there are normally no more than two members of the same family and or club shooting together in the same group!


Field courses are not usually set out on a flat, level field. In fact, field courses often involve the archers shooting at targets placed at the top or bottom of sloping ground. The archers may also be faced with natural obstacles such as trees or bushes that have to be shot over or around. The targets are normally 3D foam animals or images of animals (2D) with scoring areas marked on them, these targets come in all shapes and sizes. This all goes to present the archers with a considerable challenge which is to hit the target with one arrow. The field archer needs to judge the distance to the target: across, up (or down) hill, across water or between trees and not too thick vegetation. The archer must also take note of the prevailing weather conditions and adjust accordingly, in order to hit the target. Yes, you've guessed it, Field Archery is an all year, all weather sport! If you miss, don't panic, you just move forward to the next peg and have another go. You’ll get three shots at the target to score points. Basically, if you hit the target on the first shot, your score is higher than taking the maximum three shots.


Field Archery Clubs are found the length and breadth of the UK, and many hold competitions where all comers (NFAS Members) are welcome to shoot to their hearts’ content. Competitors are divided into groups, but compete only within their shooting style and age (Cub, Junior and Adult). If you’d like to know more about this wonderful and entertaining sport, please contact us. If you are looking for a Field Archery Club in your local area, the National Field Archery Society (NFAS) may be able to help.


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