Thousands out in Shropshire for Boxing Day hunts

Thousands of people gathered to see the traditional Boxing Day hunts get under way.

An inquisitive hound investigates our photographer at the Albrighton and Woodlands Hunt meet in Newport
An inquisitive hound investigates our photographer at the Albrighton and Woodlands Hunt meet in Newport

Crowds filled the streets in Newport, Ludlow and North Shropshire to see off those taking part in the annual hunt, despite the enforcement of the Hunting Act 10 years ago which bans the hunting of wild animals such as deer and foxes.

Instead, people took to their horses to follow trails of scent to carry on the tradition of the hunt.

Oliver Dale, joint master of the Ludlow Hunt said: "We see more than 1,000 people easily at the hunt come and support us and we are having between 70 and 100 out on the hunt itself.

Meanwhile, thousands also flocked to Newport today to see the meet for the Albrighton and Woodlands Hunt.

Julian Hill, honorary secretary for the hunt said:  "I think perceptions are changing about it now and more people are wanting to get involved because they understand more about it."

Other hunts also took place in South Shropshire, North Shropshire and Tanatside in Welshpool.

Across England and Wales the meets welcomed at least a quarter of a million supporters on foot and horseback, despite the controversy surrounding the tradition.

And according to the Countryside Alliance, around 45,000 people regularly follow hunts while more than 11,000 are sustained by hunts including saddlers, vets and feed merchants.

  • See further coverage in Saturday's Shropshire Star
Riders head through town at The Ludlow Hunt Boxing Day meet at Ludlow Castle
Riders head through town at The Ludlow Hunt Boxing Day meet at Ludlow Castle
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Comments for: "Thousands out in Shropshire for Boxing Day hunts"

Foxy lady

Shame on you all for supporting this barbaric pastime.

twisting my melon

Whats barbaric about it , no foxes were killed , and the horses and dogs appeared to look very healthy and happy .

the real salopian

"Julian Hill, honorary secretary for the hunt said: "I think perceptions are changing about it now and more people are wanting to get involved because they understand more about it."

So shall we bring back Bear baiting , Cock fighting and Dog fighting ?

Primitive pass times enjoyed by savages and inbred aristocracy and wannabe 'money' types.

If foxes are such a problem either a) shoot them or b) look after your livestock better.

If you left your wallet on a pub table would you be surprised if someone took it?

Hunting with dogs should be left in the past where it belongs.


Urgh every year, these photos worshipping hunters turn my stomach.

Mr Majestic

Fantastic spectacle of a great british tradition now long gone and replaced by drag hunts . Should the parading of hounds and huntsman in traditional dress upset some please state why???? no hunting is taking place its the high street. Thousands out on boxing day enjoying the spectacle , The sport is now Drag hunting NOT fox hunting . Still clearly a misguided ill informed issue for many Antis .

The tory party plan on putting it to a free vote , labour are already instigating a class war over it as we speak prior to the election take your mind of the cuts labour will implement wont it and ukip suggest a referendum and let the British public decide on clearly such an important issue and the parliamentary time it will take up .

Also why do these protesters not get out and protest about halal meat? or at our ports for the live animal transportation to europe? , demonstrate out side all supermarkets which sell pate , Turkey/chicken/bacon/veal/piglet/duckling/ sausages , all grown and dispatched abroad where animal welfare issues are far less constrained as ours or non existent ? Not likely, as they like their cheap meat don't they?, ask the supermarkets , ask the the burger bars, etc etc hypocrisy once again by some of the great british public . Granted you have your vegi antis but that does not stop them at least 2/3 times a week camping outside supermarkets ports, halal slaughter houses etc and harassing those law abiding citizens .

Port Hill Boy

For someone who makes great play of it hunting being a "great british tradition" it's a shamrock that you seem intent on murdering the English language , its grammar, punctuation and syntax.

Mr Majestic

Do not worry about it , address the issue instead thats a good boy.


as long as people can read it what does grammar matter snobby sod


I really do not care about how the wealthy spend their money, it's nothing to do with me. I would care if they were cruel to animals or destructive of property in which I include the hounds and horses. Nothing wrong with a bit of carnival.


Mr Majestic put it in a nut shell.

A traditional event carried out in drag.

That is exactly how it should stay, an interesting spectacle, dressing up in costume like morris dancing, no cruelty, no blood shed.

As for a referendum on such a tiny worthless matter she obviously has no concept of the cost of referendums.

On the other hand the principle of the using of the death of animals for our pleasure/sport is widely disliked and a referendum would back this. The promise of the Tories to repeal the legislation before the last election has not happened due to their wanting to get back in power again and quite frankly, those they really care about own thousands of acres where they can indulge themselves in whatever way they choose anyway.


Disgusting and barbaric and the only people who claim that the hunts are drag hunting are people themselves that hunt or those who support it. Thank goodness the people who don't support hunting, far out weigh those who do in large numbers and always will. Let's not forget it is not just the cruelty to the foxes and other hunted animals but the poor hounds and horses are never mentioned. They are just a commodity for the hunt to dispose of at will....

Mr Majestic

Terry you do seem rather Angry over nonsense .What really is you sad issue on how people dress get a grip man .

NO arrests NO illegal activity at any of the drag hunts uk wide on boxing day which is what we are discussing .

Worthless matter both Tory party and Labour party do not agree look at the parliamentary time it took to get the ban .

Then you say no referendum ,i say yes lets start giving the people a voice no matter the cost mps voted for the ban not the people mps made a personal choice not the peoples choice .


Terry's response is measured and well put. When you see a response you don't like, you accuse the author of anger - and, by extension, of losing the plot. Just like you did with me over the creationism issue.

Back on subject. If you (ie anyone) attend/s a hunt meet you will see that there are all sorts of people there. It crosses political and wealth boundaries. You see all sorts of people - it appeals to a very wide spectrum. Not just milords and ladies.

My view? - there are more important things to worry about.

Mr Majestic

Not at all you like other anti religion people bang their point home with words such as Fairy stories etc etc, surely your scientific view on it should be enough .

Terry and his issue with dress is an issue he is preoccupied and bases his not support for hunting like many do by using words as sillyclothe get up, toff, rich, etc etc its all class based and utter nonsense .

thomas the tank

Drag hunts? Get a grip onrelity please.

Mr Majestic

Definitely needed by the Antis in 99% of cases nope never saw a fox killed by hounds yesterday at all , if you did lets see it.

Mr Majestic

I would also add these ridiculous figures being put out by LACS on successful prosecutions these prosecutions are mainly for other hunting with dogs crimes, NOT fox hunting .


Could you interpret this gobbledygook for us all, basil?

Second thoughts don't bother my comment was a mere observation, Mr Majestic is the one getting hot under the collar and her knickers in a twist.

Mr Majestic

Well Terry i did think a person giving an opinion on this subject did have some knowledge or experience on the subject so i will do it again for non participators .

Figures given out by the League Against Cruel Sports LACS for short state they have had thousands of successful prosecutions for hunting with dogs crimes??? how these figures are made up i am at a loss . Many people who are non blood sport enthusiasts ie hunting /shooting/fishing are making the assumption they are talking about fox hunting ie hunting with a pack of hounds , they are not, they are talking people caught using dogs for poaching , hare coursing , using lamping dogs to bring down dear and foxes badger baiting , dog fighting etc etc . The successful prosecutions with regard fox hunting indeed any arrests have been minimal.

Tony in BC

Thanks Terry... I've always thought that basil and Mr. M., speak, and write in a Shropshire dialect that you folks in the Motherland understand - whereas those of us living in the far-flung colonies become quite lost in the conversation. So - if there is somebody who could translate these posts, we colonials would be most appreciative.


Tony, to try and interpret certain posts read it as if the author was talking to you directly. Hope this helps and Happy New Year!


You may find you are not missing anything, Tony!

One of the clubs my OH could have joined at his boarding school in the late sixties early seventies was hare coursing apparently!!!

Mr Majestic

Rabbiting with dogs is legal and a very popular sport and adopted by the hare coursing fraternity . Since the coursing ban.


This is not a class thing , toffs are not the only ones who kill animals for fun, this is a morality question do you think killing other species for pleasure is fun?

Mr Majestic

Well of course its not a class issue it is simply the labour party try and make it so .

No i do not kill things for fun personally . However my husband and sons belongs to a shooting syndicates and shoot pheasants/partridges they also participatein rough shoots .

We do eat most of what they shoot other than the vermin the control by shooting and yes it is classed as a sport/hobby and so i imagine every shooter you could say is enjoying him or herself on a days shooting so yes they are having fun too .

My husband and sons also fish dependent on what they are fishing for depends what gets put back and what gets taken home to eat so again its a sport it is done for enjoyment and fun . So in general my own view on the subject is all of the above involves in some way killing an animal etc for fun and anyone who participates in any of these sports is killing an animal for an element of fun ie the actual act of shooting it or catching and pulling it from the water is fun but in general the dispatch is quick and the animal eaten .


I have mixed feelings on this, having grown up on a farm and in my younger days bred ducks I have seen what a single fox can do. Being greeting in the morning by the sight of every single one of my 20+ ducks headless should make me side with the hunt, but it doesn't. That was a fox, not foxes. If you want to hunt foxes go into the cities, there are millions of them. You certainly don't need 200 dogs and 50 horse. Moreover, my time living on the farm regularly saw the hounds chasing (and killing) cats and worrying cattle; the horses tearing up land and wrecking hedges; and the whole circus blocking the roads. So I also have grounds to hate the hunt.

However, they are no more disruptive than a football / rugby / music concert crowd (possibly less so) and the dogs love it. The hunt brought thousands out into the streets to buy coffee and cakes when they would otherwise be sitting infront of the TV. As long as the hunt doesn't actually hunt they can dress up in their funny outfits, blow their amusing horns and charge around the country (just like football, rugby and music crowds). We will buy a warm drink and watch.

Unfortunately it's rather tricky to ask 200 dogs NOT to hunt if they see something interesting. Let's hope that bag of fox urine is suitably overpowering.


An interesting and well balanced comment, thank you.

Port Hill Boy

Here you go - one thought in this I found especially interesting is that people who hunt enjoy the hunting of foxes, the killing of them. It's not a horse show that attracted them, it's the possibility of encouraging dogs to rip another animal apart.


Well stated ML, keeping to the point and reiterating what most think here.

I certainly don't remember my two brothers having hare coursing on the agenda at their state grammar school, so it is a toff issue to a degree having started out that way.

The mange killed the fox who had my cockerel and chickens only a week after his desperate spree and it is what ultimately kills 60% of them.


Occasionally the fox outwits the hunt! When I lived in Northamptonshire the hunt were on the scent of a fox. The fox was about a half mile in front of its pursuers, whether this fox had learned from previous experience on not I don't know, but it made for a large covered storm water channel and disappeared out of sight.

For the next 30 minutes the hunt seemed to go around in circles in its quest. Whether there was the scent of another fox I don't know, but the cavalcade of riders shot off in a different direction. I sat in my car for the next ten minutes waiting for the re-emergence of the fox. Sure enough the fox, first just its head and then the whole being was back in the daylight. It looked around for a while and then just casually trotted off. The odds were stacked against it, but the wily fox outwitted the hunt. Well done Basil!

Mr Majestic

The main issue the tories have stated they will give a free vote on the issue .

The hunt in general act well within the law.

Prosecutions of hunts since the ban has been minimal for a reason nothing untowards happens , however prosecution for other hunting with dogs issue has had many successful prosecutions but thats not fox hunting is it .