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Guy Ritchie wins permission for shoot facilities on Wiltshire estate

Words: Huw Morris
Wiltshire Downs / Gillie Rhodes

Film director Guy Ritchie – former husband of Madonna – has succeeded with a planning application to build shoot facilities and accommodation for visitors at his Wiltshire estate.

The scheme comprises overnight lodges for “visiting guns and beaters” at Ashcombe Farmstead for the estate to compete nationally and to increasingly “appeal to the international wealthy”.   

The application to Wiltshire Council said the 485-hectare estate needs “the ability to provide accommodation the day before and after a shoot with partners if required” as well as providing “shoot lodge accommodation for visiting guns with the appropriate facilities for secure gun storage” to match rival shoots.

“The days of the relaxed shoot are now over and whilst the top end of the shoot market has survived the downturn competition is now intense,” according to the design and access statement accompanying the application. “Paying guests have become very much more discerning when deciding how to spend their money.

“A day on a premium estate now costs more than £15,000 and for that the standard of accommodation, food, game condition, the quality and variety of drives needs to be of an ever increasing standard.”

“This is a labour intensive business that provides considerable support for the local economy. This is not only in the employment of keepers and beaters, but in every other aspect of the shoot business from the improvement of the woodland and the drives, to the uprating of keep pens. To compete at the highest levels a shoot now needs high and continuous investment.”

Wiltshire Council has now approved the scheme. Ritchie secured planning permission last year for two “sporting” lakes to enhance the shooting experience for guests visiting the estate.

Image credit | Gillie Rhodes