Hi there. My name is Varin smith and I started Green Man longbows in September 2007. My workshop is in Keighley, West Yorkshire, where I live with my partner Kerry and our two dogs Freya and Max.

It was as a child of 13 that I was first captured by the magic of the longbow. Living in rural Dorset, my friends and I were used to making our own entertainment and that summer it was the longbow. We ravaged many of the local Ash trees and used penknives to fashion our own very primitive though highly effective longbows and arrows. One of my fondest childhood memories is of one perfect shot (a complete fluke) at the perfect moment during that long summer back in 1978.

We had been out with our bows, target shooting in a local field and were just sitting about sharing Robs' last number 6 king size when we were approached by a group of the older lads from our village, one had even left school...Well they were quite impressed with our bows and Rob began to lay it on thick about how good we were with them.


Pretty soon we were asked for some proof and Rob casually said 'OK, Varin you show them'. Without saying another word Rob took the empty cigarette packet and impaled it on the tip of  an arrow. After a very slow and deliberate draw of his bow he launched the arrow straight up. Time slowed and the arrow seemed to climb for ever, though in reality it was only a few seconds before the arrow and its cigarette packet target began to reach its apex. At this moment, with all eyes on the target I drew my bow and shot. My arrow pierced the target just as it had reached that split second of weightlessness and the cigarette packet, with two impaled arrows came slowly spiralling down landing almost at my feet.

I have made quite a few longbows over the years, purely as a hobby and as gifts for friends, but it was not until 2005 that I began making longbows professionally. I started Green Man Longbows in 2007, specializing in self yew English longbows and war bows.

I have worked with wood for many years. At the age of 23, after completing my apprenticeship, I spent 3 years working for a large antique dealers, restoring antique pine furniture. After that I spent a couple of years making and selling furniture and wood turnings.

A few years after that I got a job maintaining 45 acres of Sussex woodland, which involved a variety of 'green wood' projects and also supplied the wood for a couple of very nice Ash longbows. During this period I also undertook several years of part time study in fine art and British history.

In 1995 I decided to return to full time education and I moved to Bradford in Yorkshire to begin a 4 year degree in archaeology. It was while I was at university that I met my partner Kerry and we have been together now for 11 years.


Making music has always been a favourite hobby of mine and I also enjoy a good sci-fi or fantasy book when time allows. Motorbikes have also played a big part in my life though these days it is just a bit of casual off roading in the summer.

Making longbows is for me the fulfilment of a dream and I find it an an immensely satisfying experience working on them. It is my goal to provide a top quality product that is enjoyed as much as I did while making it.

Varin Smith