The Countryside Alliances’ annual Hunting Newcomers Week (15th – 21th October) has seen another large number of people experience hunting for the first time. The aim of Hunting Newcomers’ Week is to introduce as many new faces to the hunting field as possible and encourage them to have an enjoyable day seeing different country while learning about following hounds with like-minded people.

Hunts holding specific newcomers’ events this year scaled the length and breadth of the country, with foxhound packs from the Fife in Scotland to the Spooners and West Dartmoor in Devon supporting the initiative. With many different types of hound packs getting involved, including the Cheshire Drag Hounds, the Readyfield Bloodhounds, the Newcastle and District Beagles and the Woolaston Bassets, there was something for everyone. All hunts reported excellent support at their meets with many gaining new subscribers for the forthcoming season.

Henrietta Rutgers who has been coordinating the week said: “Having dealt with many enquiries that have come into the Countryside Alliance office in the run up to Hunting Newcomers’ Week, it is clear to see that there is still a large market for hunting with people wanting to find out where their local pack is and to get involved.

“It is great to see so many packs of hounds, from the foxhounds to the hare hounds, taking part and giving everyone an opportunity to get involved, regardless of whether you own a horse or want to follow on foot.

“We couldn’t co-ordinate this week without the hunts and are very grateful to them and their landowners for supporting such an important initiative which gives everyone the opportunity to access different parts of our beautiful countryside and experience our rural traditions.”

Polly Portwin, the Countryside Alliance’s Head of Hunting explained: “Packs welcome newcomer’s and visitors from other packs throughout the year and not just during this dedicated week, so our advice is that if you want to find out more, then do not hesitate to contact your local hunt secretary for details of suitable meets. Please also look out for our dedicated Boxing Day meet listing and interactive map which will be up on our website throughout December –

Photo credit: Verity Johnson Photography