The Shoot at Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal

Moody skies over the autumnal ruin of Fountains Abbey

Studley Royal Shoot owns the freehold shooting rights at Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal. Their arrangement to shoot on the estate is entirely separate to the National Trust.

Why does the Shoot take place at Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal?

In 1966, Henry Vyner, the last private owner of what was the 18,000 acre Studley Royal Estate, placed the contents, rights, chattels and land on the open market. One part of the sales included the freehold shooting rights. These rights were purchased by a private individual who sold them on to the current owner, Studley Royal Shoot, in 1971.

When the National Trust bought the Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal estate from North Yorkshire County Council in 1983, the shooting rights were not part of the sale.

What do the shooting rights mean?

Like all freeholders they have a right, in law, to shoot at any time within the respective shooting periods. At Fountains Abbey, they have the right to shoot anywhere on the estate including the abbey and water gardens.

When does shooting take place at Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal?

Shooting takes place at Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal within the water garden and abbey grounds on Fridays in November, December and January every year (except Boxing Day). We close the abbey and water garden on these days, but all other areas (including deer park and valley of the seven bridges) remain open as usual.

The closure dates are always printed in the National Trust members’ handbook and online.

The Friday closures in winter are planned Shoot days, however the Shoot can and does, shoot anywhere on any day within the confines of their shooting rights during shooting season (October – January). This means shooting can take place on any parcel of land within their portfolio.  We are given limited notice of these ‘extra’ days. We give notice to visitors on the Fountains Abbey homepage and onsite that the Shoot will be taking place.

What are the Shoot’s responsibilities when at Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal?

As an independent company with freehold rights the Shoot is clearly responsible for all aspects of their work including the management of others who use the countryside.

Does the National Trust make any financial gain from the Shoot?

No. We take no part in any aspect of the Shoot at Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal and there is no financial gain or otherwise to the Trust. Studley Royal Shoot operates as an independent company and totally separate from the National Trust.