Woodford Archers


Types of Bows and Styles of Shooting

There are a number of different types of bow and several ways of using these bows, coupled with different types of shooting. This leads to a wide range of shooting styles that appeal to all kinds of people.

Different Types of Bows

Longbow and flatbows

These bows are in the form of a simple arc (the French name for archery is Tir à l’Arc) and are made of wood. The best (and most expensive) are made from a single piece of Yew. The arrows shot from these bows are also usually made of wood. american_flat_bow



A modern development of old Turkish bows. These have a more complex curve (or re-curve) than simple longbows. They are generally made to come apart for easy transport; the riser (handle) can be of wood or metal and is used to attach two limbs often made of fibreglass. The arrows shot from these bows can be of wood, aluminium or carbon fibre. gallery-clout2013-9



A modern kind of bow that uses wheels or cams to improve the arrow speed. The arrows shot from these bows are usually aluminium or carbon fibre. compound-bow-specs


Crossbows are not common in the UK and are currently not used at Woodford Archers.

Different Styles of Shooting:-

The wide range of equipment that is available has led to a large range of ways to shoot. competitions are held that do not allow any sighting devices or any other means to improve accuracy apart from the “instinctive” skill of the archer. Other competitions allow sighting devices but nothing to help with one of the hardest features of archery, the “loose” or letting go of the string cleanly. The list below is typical of the styles of shooting in the UK but there are differences in the rules between some of the archery associations.


Use of a re-curve bow, sights and stabilisers but generally no optical sights or release aids are allowed.

Compound Limited

Like freestyle but a compound bow is used.

Compound Unlimited

As freestlye but optical sights are allowed as are release aids. This is the most accurate form of archery


Use of a recurve bow with no aids at all. This is similar to Traditional below except that “string walking” is allowed to account for different shooting distances.


Like barebow but with an insistance that the “Mediteranean loose” is used, i.e. one finger above the arrow and two below, no string walking.


Use of a longbow and wooden arrows. This is the kind or achery that has been in use in the world for centuries.

Different Kinds of Archery Shooting:


Perhaps the most commonly known form of archery. It has set distances and set rounds. The target is a set size and uses a series of concentric circles of different colours, distances shot vary from 15 yards through to 100 yards.Target archery has been a permanent Olympic sport since 1972.

Target archery rounds

Target archery scoring


Field archery comes in a variety of forms. Usually archers form groups of four and walk around a specially constructed course in woodland or undulating terrain. Here they shoot at either known or unknown distances from pegs at a series of paper targets, sometimes of animal design (to simulate hunting). A modern variation of this is to use life sized 3D rubber targets of game, instead of paper target faces. The archer has to contend with differences in elevation, lighting, and obstructing vegetation. Distances shot range from 8 metres to 60 metres.

Field archery rules including details of rounds


Clout is the old English word for cloth, and this comprises the target. A flag is placed up to a distance of 180 yards away and archers shoot at this. At this distance it would only be a truly exceptional archer who could hit a 12 inch flag, and so arrows falling within a 14 foot radius are scored, the scores dependant upon their distance from the flag.


Seldom shot in the UK due to a lack of suitably large grounds, Flight archery is a test of who can shoot the furthest.


Named after the old English word for parrot, Popinjay is supposed to simulate the hunting of birds, i.e. shooting them out of a tree. An 85 foot telegraph pole is erected upon which sit a number of “birds” made from cork and feathers. the archer stands directly under the pole and shoots vertically in order to dislodge the “birds”. Points are scored depending upon which type of “bird is hit”, and blunt tips are used on the ends of arrows to prevent injury. Again this is seldom shot in the UK due to a shortage of suitable locations. It is popular on the continent however, and is commonly shot in Belgium.


A fairly informal discipline. One archer selects a random feature on the field (perhaps a large clump of grass), the archers then shoot at this point. The closest to the target gets to nominate the next mark. The winner is the one who gets closest to the most marks.

Woodford Archers both past and present still hold a number of Essex and National records at Field, Clout and Flight rounds.