It’s not every day you get to go and fire a few rounds in a shooting range, so when I was given the opportunity to visit Spitfire Shooting Range for a little clay pigeon fun in Stockbridge I jumped at the chance. Stockbridge in itself is a stunning part of the Hampshire countryside and there’s almost no better place to be on the rare occasion that the sun is beating down on our cloudy little country.
We pulled up to the almost secret spot that is Spitfire Range, a little sun trap off the A30. Greeted by Rich, he explained that this family run business has been around for almost 25 years and successfully hosts everything from the experienced shot, first time shooters and even Hen & Stag parties. Almost as if a set up, at that very moment a stag group arrived for a Saturday morning of competitive sport before no doubt enjoying that last big night of freedom in several of the local pubs and bars.
We were lucky enough to have a very experienced instructor Gordon to take us round and give us a strong introduction into using a shotgun. He was a true expert at making us feel comfortable and safe throughout the session and would often challenge us or make us compete against each other. Nothing like a little competition to get people interested! For a taster lesson of 30 shots it’s jut £45, or you can do 50 shots for £65, which also means a slightly more in-depth lesson as well.
This adventurous morning was followed by a sumptuous meal at the massively under-estimated Peatspade Inn nearby, in Longstock. I had briefly heard about this modern pub in the past but couldn’t have imagined the intricate menu they offered. It’s only a short drive from the historic city of Winchester and even a relatively short journey from London, not forgetting it’s surrounded in stunning, untouched British countryside.
We started with a fresh crab and avocado toast, and I chose the hot smoked trout and English asparagus, with a crispy hen egg, and pickled vegetables. As if that wan’t enough to get our taste-buds going my other half opted for a classic Ribeye steak served medium rare with hand cut chips, vine roasted tomatoes, wild mushrooms and thyme & garlic butter, something he simply devoured without taking a breath! I went with another pub favourite, a dry aged beef burger, with wild mushrooms, truffle mayonnaise, fries & a mixed salad – I wasn’t left disappointed!
The photos don’t do their food justice by a long shot, the colours were full and inviting and the fact that the garden was packed with punters by 11:30 said it all! Despite the lack of room in my stomach I’m a total sucker for anything with pistachio so I had to try the Chocolate Fondant, with Pistachio Ice Cream and sugared almonds – who knew sugared almond were good for something?! The melt in the mouth rich chocolate centre just oozed out as soon as you broke the fondant.
Having spent the morning at Spitfire Range I quickly learnt just how varied the customers were, coming from all over the country to try something new, or just to have a change of scenery whilst they practised their shot. We saw everyone from the large group of men practically high on testosterone from such a masculine activity, a father enjoying a morning out with his son and even guys treating their girlfriends to a very different kind of date! For more information on Spitfire Range and The Peatspade Inn follow the links and try something new!