Bowmen of Backworth

About Us

The Bowmen of Backworth is a section of Backworth Miners Welfare, at Backworth Hall. Today there is not a “geet big pair of byeuts” (great big pair of boots) or a whippet to be seen, but we do see the odd cloth cap. We are situated in the grounds of the Hall set amongst a stunning backdrop of 85 acres of land, with a rich history dating back to late 18th Century, Backworth Hall was once the home of Ralph William Grey, a wealthy landowner and gentleman. Backworth Hall is unique, set up as the welfare and recreational centre for the whole of the Backworth coalmining district, which had over 3,000 employees. The miners used to pay sixpence (old pennies, 2 1/2p today) out of their wages to the social fund to keep the place going. The mission was and is to provide welfare and sporting facilities to the local community. The hall is a registered charity dedicated to providing a unique environment for your chosen sport, wedding or social function. Whether you would like to participate in golf, cricket, bowls, archery or croquet or you wish to book the hall for a wedding or a function, you are assured a warm welcome at Backworth Hall.


Why Archery?

Archery offers a popular, flexible, low-impact sport, which gives moderate low-key exercise with a chance to mix with a friendly bunch of people of all ages and backgrounds, making it a truly inclusive sport. It does not require high levels of fitness to simply have a go and enjoy.
We have had archers from 8 to over 80 years old, from 4’ 3” to over 6’ 3” and all shapes and sizes. The able bodied or not so able bodied, including visually impaired and wheelchair users, can all learn to shoot and enjoy it either recreationally or competitively alongside each other. It is an ideal sport for families, and we have several family groups and other archers who are supported by non-shooting family members.


Archery Coaching


Our nationally recognised beginners’ courses run from May to October and consist of a single full Saturday, depending on the candidates and the weather. Your course will be taught by Archery GB qualified coaches with the club’s senior archers assisting. During your course we will teach you the basics of archery and safe shooting techniques to allow you to progress to a full club member. You will be given guidance and knowledge of the various bow types and shooting disciplines available to you. All the necessary archery equipment that you require to successfully complete the course will be provided, along with a number of free archery related items, to help you achieve your goals.

As a new archer, we advise that you do not rush out and buy your own equipment, though we understand the urge as we have all been there. Our coaches will measure you and advise the type, size and power of the equipment that is best for you. The club has several “pre-loved” bows available for sale which can be tailored to your requirements. We are also able to loan you a club bow for up to 12 weeks at a very reasonable price to allow you to progress before purchasing your own equipment.

The course organiser is Keith Ritson. Please read our FAQs for some common questions relating to beginners.


As a novice archer, we will encourage you to meet your goals, be it competitive shooting or a recreational shoot with good laughs and fun. We have various schemes, both national (Archery GB) and international (World Archery), to encourage and improve your shooting. We also have in-house achievement awards including the 252 Award Scheme, where an archer must score at least 252 points at various distances to qualify for a badge for that distance.


We encourage our members to become more competitive and to this end our senior coaches are always willing to assist. We also have other resources and coaches that can be called on for advice when required. We are always on the lookout for archers who can be “passed up the chain” to higher and higher achievements.

Don’t worry if you do not feel competitive. We, as a club, will do our utmost to ensure that you enjoy your archery.


Apart from our target shooting we also have fun shoots, including a special Christmas shoot and mini-clout, where everyone can have a good laugh and a safe carry-on.