PHOTOS: New Forest Hunt attracts hundreds to meeting in Lyndhurst

HUNDREDS wrapped up warm to watch an annual Boxing Day hunt meet.

The New Forest Hounds congregated outside Bolton’s Bench in Lyndhurst. It is the second year the meet has gathered at Bolton’s Bench as the event has outgrown the previous meeting place, by the Balmer Lawn Hotel in Brockenhurst.

The hunting of wild mammals with dogs was outlawed more than ten years ago.

However, some claim that the Hunting Act that was established in 2004 is impracticable and unenforceable, and the number of convictions under the Act compares favourably to the number of convictions under other wildlife legislation.

More than 500 people turned up to support the hunt which saw 50 people in the field with their hounds.

The New Forest Hounds-nominated master of this season, Dr Graham Ferris, said the trail-layers worked hard to ensure there was a strong scent for the hounds to follow.

Thousands of people all over the country toasted celebrated Christmas by attending or participating in a Boxing Day hunt – a tradition which dates back centuries.

Mr Ferris has again called for a repeal on the hunting ban, he said: “I look forward to the day when the Hunting Act is repealed. It is a confusing and ambiguous law and has wasted millions of pounds of tax payers’ money on unsuccessful and spurious prosecutions. It must be repealed but in the meantime, it’s good to see such solid support for hunting and the New Forest Hounds continue to thrive.”

The controversial repeal of the law is strongly opposed by anti-animal-cruelty lobbyists.

“Today was about ordinary country people, enjoying a traditional county sport,” he said.

New Forest Hounds have been staging their traditional Boxing Day meet for more than 200 years.

And people from across the county and beyond came to watch the annual festive-period event and toast to the occasion before the hunters set off across the New Forest National Park.

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