Thousands out in Shropshire for Boxing Day hunts
Thousands of people gathered to see the traditional Boxing Day hunts get under way.
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
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