Following a pheasant shoot is truly an unforgettable experience. I photographed a group of perhaps twenty beaters as we bounced and rolled up onto the Downs in an ancient transporter that looked and sounded as though it may have survived from World War II.
On the tops of the hills we split into two groups, one group with red flags driving the pheasants towards the shooters, the other waiting in the wind on the hilltop to ensure the birds headed down, not up the hill.
At the advice of Martin, one of the beaters, I threaded down the hillside towards the guns. Joining them, I watched as the birds arched overhead, many dropping to the ground with a dull thud beside me as the shots echoed out across the valley. All was dignified and ordered but the adrenalin still flowed!
Afterwards the dogs scurried around, scooping up the corpses for their owners before we moved to the next shooting position, in a cavalcade of muddy four-wheel-drives.
The whole shoot was carefully orchestrated by Mark, the Head Gamekeeper (pictured with his wife, Dawn) who has lived and worked on the Estate all his adult life.