Bow Types

Within archery, there are a number of different types of bow that are used. The most commonly used bows are described below. Within the club, you are welcome to shoot whichever bow you want, though we do not allow the use of crossbows (which don't really count as archery anyway!).



A recurve bow is named for the distinctive curve in its limbs. You can see this by comparing a recurve bow (left) to a longbow (right):

Recurve and Longbow

This curve in the limbs gives the recurve bow more power, making it faster and more accurate. It is the most popular choice for modern archers, using modern materials and accessories, such as sights, stabilisers and clickers, to help produce an efficient and consistent shot.

This type of bow is also known as an "Olympic" recurve, reflecting its use at the Olympic games.

Recurve is the most commonly used bow within the club, and it is the type of bow used on our beginners courses.




Following its retirement as a weapon of war, the Longbow was developed into the recreational sport of archery in Victorian times. Shooting a longbow is a skilled and extremely satisfying form of archery, free from modern gadgets!

Read Longbow for Beginners for a great introduction to the art of longbow shooting, along with Wooden Arrow Folklore to learn all about the trials and tribulations of launching wooden sticks in the approximate direction of your target!

Longbow is the second-most popular choice of bow amongst our membership after recurve, and our members take part in a number of longbow only shoots each year.


Compound Bow


Developed in the USA for hunting, the compound bow is very powerful and accurate, utilising modern materials and technology. The use of cams on each limb result in a bow that is light to hold at full draw, but powerful on release.

Shooting a compound bow will give you the most accurate shot possible, and compound archers actually follow slightly different rules when shooting some rounds to take into account their incredible accuracy.

The club provides foam targets specifically for the use of our compound archers (as opposed to the straw bosses most of the members use).


Traditional Recurve Bow


If you take a recurve bow, and remove all of the fancy gadgets, such as the sight, stabilisers and clicker, you end up with a barebow. Shooting barebow is a step towards traditional archery techniques, while still using modern bows and materials.

While most barebow archers use a standard recurve bow with equipment removed, the bow pictured is a traditional recurve. These bows are made from wood and fibreglass, and are another step closer to traditional shooting. 

In 2017, the club held its first open tournament commemorating the Battle of Burton Bridge. This tournament had a separate category for traditional bows, but in most competitions traditional recurves fall under the barebow category.


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