AboutThe History of the Aire Valley Archers

One of the most exciting archery clubs in West Yorkshire

We offer our members a fun, social and competitive environment in which to shoot. We have an inclusive culture – whether you’re a beginner, a practising archer or an experienced archer looking to compete with a club – and affordable annual membership fees with special rates for junior archers.

If you’re interested in trying archery, we run courses for beginners (led by qualified coaches) every year, giving you a taste of the sport and teaching you the basic skills you’ll need to get started. During the course, you can use the club’s equipment so you can decide whether you enjoy it without having to buy your own bow and accessories. For more information on our beginners’ courses, please click here.

Experienced archers are also welcome to join us: you must be a member of Archery GB or an Archery GB affiliated club. We may also be able to welcome Archery GB members who are visiting the area by prior arrangement. Please get in touch, using our contact form, for more information.

A timeline of the Club’s History

The club is formed

2nd December 1958

Our archery club was initially formed as Baildon Archers on 2 December 1958. As a suitable shooting ground was not available, founder members shot at Sharp and Griffiths Garage using straw bales as targets. The membership subscription was set at two pounds and two shillings per year. Regular practice nights ran throughout the year, with monthly and annual shoots taking place during the outdoor season, between 1 April and 30 September. In the winter, social events were held, with an annual dinner dance and presentation of trophies.

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The club moves to the rugby ground and plans for a clubhouse form.

4th June 1959

In June 1959, the club began shooting on land at the rear of the rugby ground on Jenny Lane in Baildon. The club had bought shooting equipment, bosses and stands, and plans were being made to buy a clubhouse. The wooden building that was eventually purchased is still in use at our ground at St Ives today. During August 1959, Ben Hird, a renowned archer, founder member of ‘Ye Greene Company’ and a past captain of the ‘Ancient Scorton Silver Arrow‘. Club members had met Ben at the 1959 Scorton Arrow tournament (the oldest sporting event in the world) and he had expressed an interest in visiting the club. When the visit took place, Ben was made an honorary member of Baildon Archers and an illuminated parchment was presented to him. By December 1959, the club had twenty-six members and a bank balance of £52.

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The club grows

5th January 1972

In 1972 the club had to find a new home, as the Jenny Lane ground was developed for housing. They briefly moved to a ground on Cliffe Lane in Baildon, before moving to the current site on the St Ives Estate. On 4 May 1973, the club was renamed St Ives Bowmen and began shooting at St Ives, although the ground was originally only half the size it is today. Over the years, the top fence of the ground has been moved twice, allowing for more targets and increasing in size to…

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The club starts Beginners Courses

8th May 1974

By 1974, the club was receiving a many applications from people who wanted to attend a beginners’ course. The club decided to limit the courses to a maximum of twelve people for the coming year, and the small strip of land next to the pond was designated as the beginners’ area. This meant that the main shooting line could be kept open for competent archers. During the year, eight beginners completed the course and were accepted as members of the club. In order to increase the outdoor shooting season, and allow archers to shoot all year round, the club introduced field archery during the…

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The Antient Scorton Silver Arrow

6th September 1978

21 May 1977. Eddy Chattaway – a longbow archer from  St Ives bowmen – now Aire Valley Archers – won the coveted Scorton Silver Arrow  on 21st May 1977. the silver arrow competition is one of the oldest sporting events and is hosted each year by the Captain of the Arrow – the winner from the previous years competition. St Ives bowmen held the 1978  the 269th competition at Nab Wood School grounds Bingley.

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Chiricheck Archers

16th May 1979

During 1977, members of St Ives Bowmen formed an offshoot field archery club (called Chiricheck Archers) in Hollins Wood on the far side of the St Ives Estate. They took their name from an historical figure: a local archer who was declared an outlaw by the Abbott of Rievaulx Abbey. Due to constant vandalism, the club had to withdraw from Hollins Wood around 1983.

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A new name for modern times

7th May 1999

By 1999, the club had grown in size and a number of changes were required.  Because of the club’s wide geographical catchment area, its members decided that a second site, in the Skipton area, was needed. To coincide with this, the club changed it’s name to Aire Valley Archers.

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Archers aim for world record 11/12 November 2000

17th November 2000

  Fundraisers were left all of a quiver at the weekend after a sponsored 24-hour archery competition. Keen shots from the Aire Valley Archers held their test of endurance indoors at the Oakbank Sport Centre, Keighley, from 5pm on Saturday until the same time the next day. Peter Thompson, from the club, says: “It’s an idea I’ve had for nearly two years and I didn’t get a chance to do it last year. I just thought it would be something different to do for Children in Need.” Peter says the archers were aiming at six targets set up in the sports centre hall. Together participants managed to accumulate over 84,000 points and…

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Skipton ground became unavailable

5th May 2005

At the end of 2005, the Skipton ground became unavailable, so an alternative was arranged for summer shooting in Cross Hills.

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The club goes from strength to strength

16th May 2014

The club is now going from strength to strength, with around 80 novice archers taking part in beginners courses in 2014, and over 130 members. Work has been carried out at St Ives to make the site more accessible to archers of all abilities – including wheelchair users – and further plans to make improvements are well underway.

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