Archery – an activity with multiple benefits for everyone

29th August

I have watched various forms of archery and tried things like air rifle shooting but never thought this very ancient activity would be something I would enjoy or be strong enough to do.

An hour or so and a ‘taster’ session with the highly experienced Adrian Caddy who runs ACA certainly changed my mind.

We met inside the beautiful Heathfield Park where Adrian explained the different types of bows that can be used and the many different types of arrows.

He decided a Genesis compound bow and Easton 1820  aluminium arrows, designed and made specifically for that bow, would suit me best as a beginner. Made in the USA, the bows are strong, light and easy to use. You can purchase them from ACA.

Adrian explained how his own passion for field archery started when he met and was taught by Tony Weston – the highest scoring field archery champion in Britain and possibly Europe. Tony is a multi-title holder and founder of The Archery Company and 3DA, the international tournament with a series on October 5th/6th – in Heathfield Park for the first time.

Adrian is thrilled he is now  able to teach the pursuit in all its forms  in this new location and use it as a base for training school teachers who want to introduce archery to their pupils. Interesting to know that archery, under ACA supervision, is safer than any ball sport, including table tennis.

Adrian explains: “With around 20,000 years of history, archery has developed a vast number of styles and variations – and become safer and more accessible thanks to 21st century materials and training. We will be offering private events to help pay the bills, but our main effort will be bringing in teaching staff from schools throughout the UK so more youngsters can experience the safe thrill and character-building benefits of a 20,000 year-old pursuit – without screens and keypads. Heathfield Park is now the centre of this for the entire UK.”

Field archery involves shooting at targets outdoors – typically in woodland and meadows. Adrian uses a collection of specially made creatures that have target zones on them. Mine was a large rubber/foam plastic rabbit which was placed in long grass about 20 metres away. Other targets include dinosaurs and an assortment of other four-legged fake  “prey”. (Bow-hunting of any living creature in the UK is strictly illegal)


The first step was to decide whether I was right or left eyed with a quick test – this determined which side of my body I would hold the bow. It turned out I was right eyed. Apparently, 94 percent of people are right-eye dominant.

I had to turn completely sideways first, and then the arrow had to be placed carefully on the bowstring and arrow-rest . Once I got the feel for it, the bow was easy to draw but it felt slightly unnatural to have to pull right back to the side of my face near my lip. It was also tricky getting my fingers in the right configuration at first. My natural inclination was to close one eye but Adrian told me to keep them both open because there was no sight on the bow. “Barebow” first, bowsights later…

Once I lined up the arrow – or so I thought – I let go. I could feel the power of the bow as the arrow left it and a slight thrill to have released my first one. It went over the target – landing in the grass behind. The second one did the same thing. Adrian then told me the secret – aim below the target to begin with. The next five arrows hit the target – one pretty much dead centre – I was amazed. I am determined to bring my son back for a lesson and have another go myself.

Archery Heathfield Park

Adrian, formerly a MoD trained-firearms practioner, has taught archery for many years and says it can be transformational. 

He explained that it may not be a “cure” for depression and anxiety – but it clearly helps. People of all ages find the bow and its unlimited opportunities improve their – self-confidence, posture, attention span, focus and tolerance. Archery also helps maintain healthy eyesight and muscle wellbeing – regardless of height, build, gender or age. Adrian told me that American schools with archery in the syllabus all show zero-truancy on archery days.

His company ACA is one of the UK’s best qualified archery instruction and event providers and Britain’s only Instructor-Trainer for NASP® – the National Archery in the Schools Program.

ACA is also the exclusive archery supplier at all Living Heritage Country Fairs and provides archery teaching and events for groups, individuals and corporate bookings all year round.

Archery targets are no longer just coloured circles on paper – ACA is a Field Archery specialist with a collection of heavy duty foam creature targets including dragons, giant mosquitoes and life-size dinosaurs. As part of the instruction and familiarisation with both conventional and modern bows, archers are encouraged to take on the ACA balloon wall using a Recurve and Genesis Compound-style bow with aluminium or carbon-fibre arrows.

ACA will be training school teachers and parents to become BAI qualified (Basic Archery Instructor) so that Britain can enter school teams in UK and World NASP® Championships.

ACA will also help family parties or group gatherings enjoy the safest, most-inclusive target sport – ever.