Who are Ye Olde Delph

Ye Olde Delph Logo

Ye Olde Delph Bowmen are a local field archery group whose base is in Atherton, Greater Manchester. We are a friendly group of individuals who meet to enjoy the great sport of field archery. Ye Olde Delph Bowmen are part of the National Field Archery Society (NFAS) and are also affiliated with the English Field Archery Association (EFAA).

We were originally founded by our President, Mr. Alex Grant, around 1981. Alex from Newton le Willows, who had just resigned from an older club called The Vulcan Archers.

The name of 'Ye Olde Delph' derives from a wood near the village of Crank in St Helens, Merseyside, which Alex was then trying to negotiate the use of but failed to accomplish, as a name had to be submitted for the club at the time of discussions, this is where 'Ye Olde Delph Bowmen' originates. Having tried for a number of different woodland venues, he eventually obtained one in Grange Valley, Haydock, called Fox Covert. The Fox Covert wood was mainly flat with a stream running through but it also contained a small quarry which permitted a number of downhill shots. Being quite a small wood, it could only support about a 2 x 18 shoot. During this period, the club held regular meetings at a local pub called the Owls Nest.

After an arson attack on its storage caravan in 1986, the club then decided to move to Denow Woods in Appleton just South of Warrington. It was around this time that the club obtained the use of an upstairs room in Warrintgton Baths as an evening archery practice venue and later the club meetings also moved here from the Owls Nest.

Denow Woods consisted of a 600m long, deep and narrow valley ranging from 40m to 60m wide. It provided for many varied shots including a small quarry like cul-de-sac where we sometimes placed a moving target. Disadvantages included it's rather limited size meant that it could only comfortably and more importantly safely cater for a 2 x 20 shoot. Steep clay terrain that became notoriously slippery when wet. Parking was also limited and involved a 1/4 mile long walk to gain access.

Denow Woods provided the club a home for approximately 14 years from 1986, and whilst we where never asked to leave, the venue had by September 2000 lost its old parking facilities. During it's later years, the club had suffered its catering hut lock being filled with epoxy glues in 1998, and finaly had all its bosses burnt in a further arson attack on its hand built corrugated steel storage hut in 1999.

When the club moved to a new wood, adjacent to the A580 East Lancashire Road, south of Haydock Racecourse by coincidence this wood was also called Fox Covert. The term 'Fox Covert' is used to describe a wooded area where historically the land owner would have created artificial dens to encourage the growth of the fox population and thus facilitate the then hunting fraternity.