TRADITIONAL ARCHERY SPECIALISTS
TRADITIONAL BOWS ARROWS & ASSOCIATED EQUIPMENT FOR ARCHERS
MUSEUMS & QUALITY RE-ENACTMENT
Sylvan Archery was founded by bowyer & fletcher Hilary Greenland in 1994, incorporating her longbow business 'Amaranth longbows'.
Hilary started in archery at the age of 5 -shooting a willow bow made for a 'western' filmed by a neighbour. She looked like the Milky Bar Kid (some of you may remember) so was mainly on the cowboy side; the bow was eventually confiscated as the cat was beginning to show signs of stress.
1985: learnt to shoot in a church crypt in Bristol, but consistently found her arrows in the wrong (15yd) target. Found talk of clickers, buttons, sights and stabilisers confusing. Determined to see if there was a more simple way of shooting, took up the English longbow, roving and field archery, and immediately felt happier, not only when shooting, but also when dragging targets around muddy woods and helping build courses.
1987: made her first longbow. (Named ‘budgie’ due to the falcon shaped top nock.) Working through trial and error and with the few references available at the time, bowmaking became an obsession. Not easy in a one bedroomed flat, but who needs a living room anyway and wood shavings are as good as a carpet. Archers began asking her to make them bows.
Hilary has won several championship medals from the National Field Archery Society, winning the AFB class with a GRP clad flatbow of her own making. While shooting 'self’ bows such as native american flatbows and Holmegaards in competition, she realised that so-called 'primitive' bows were under-rated if not actually dismissed by many archers, and so founded the Society for the Promotion of Traditional Archery to promote these and the various forms of traditional bow shooting not commonly encouraged by other UK archery Societies.
Through SPTA she introduced the 'Primitive' class to the UK in 1997, and SPTA was the first Society in the UK to actively promote horseback archery; a potentially serious accident (horse + handstand = Hilary + somersault) meant she has restricted herself to encouraging this through SPTA. Roving Marks and flight are her favourite types of shooting.
She has written articles for specialist magazines, appeared on TV, gives demonstrations and presents academic papers on various archery related topics.
With practical knowledge of all types of traditional archery -from prehistoric bows (specialising in the Somerset finds) to the wide variety of Asian composites, she enjoys the fact that you never stop learning.
The recent worldwide surge of interest in the subject -it's history, sociology, culture and craft suits her just fine!