Guy Ritchie’s 1,134-acre Wiltshire shooting estate was recently targetted by hunt saboteurs, according to Stop the Cull. Some people may remember that the millionaire film director (and Madonna’s ex-husband) had another of his mansions squatted by the Really Free School in Fitzrovia, London, back in 2011.
“Saboteurs Against Shooting” have ransacked one of the countries top shooting estates in an attempt to move birds out of the firing line of drunken rich idiots, feed bins full of grain were emptied and thousands of birds were beaten* away from the top of hills.
In an anonymous communique sent to “Stop the Cull”, the group calling itself “Saboteurs Against Shooting” made it clear they had tipped over, emptied and destroyed many of the estate’s hundreds of pheasant and partridge feed barrels. They’d also spent a number of hours using traditional and not so traditional methods of moving the birds away from areas where they were being encouraged to stay for shoots on the Ashcombe estate.
Guy Ritchie’s Ashcombe shooting estate is not only David Beckham’s favourite place to slaughter birds for fun, but also listed as one of the top 50 shooting estates in the country by “the field” magazine.
What makes this estate so desirable to those who enjoy killing is it’s steep chalk valleys, this means pheasants and partridges which are held in place with feeders at the top of the hills when moved on by beaters*, fly high above the killers’ heads.
Unfortunately what makes this shoot so desirable, also makes it incredibly easy to sabotage. Anyone wanting to destroy the fun of the blood junkies, just needs to walk the ridges along the top of the valley, locate the feeders and beat* the hundreds of birds down into the valley. Although the birds will still be on the estate, they won’t be at the top of hills where they are best located for a day of shooting.
The only real requirement, is that beating* isn’t done whilst a shoot is on, no shooting takes place on Sundays (by law) and most shoots don’t get going till about 11am, so any early morning walks would do a LOT of damage to a days shooting.
Not only is the Ashcombe estate vulnerable due to it’s topography, it’s also vulnerable due to the estate being covered in open access land, marked on this map in yellow:
A guide to sabbing pheasant and grouse shoots is available here.
* Beating is a hunting/sabbing term referring to flushing out animals to be hunted