The Countryside Alliances’ annual Hunting Newcomers Week (22th – 29th October) has come to a close with a number of people having experienced 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, due to the co-operation of many hunts, we have successfully managed to do just that.
Hunts holding specific newcomers’ events this year scaled the length and breadth of the country. From the Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire in West Scotland, the Middleton in East Yorkshire, the Oakley in the Home Counties, the Carmarthenshire in West Wales, to the Western in West Cornwall, hunts reported large turnouts of newcomers’ and lots of happy faces.
The New Forest (Hampshire) reported an extremely well supported day with Hon Secretary Penny Rendle saying, “we had over 100 riders out and at least 80 were newcomers – it was amazing to see.” The Derwent (North Yorkshire) reported equally high numbers with a large field of 80 mounted, double what they normally have for a Saturday. Secretary of the Curre and Llangibby (Monmouthshire) Charlotte Breese also reported an excellent show of support at their meet stating that they had the “best attendance ever” this year with many of the field expressing an interest in a further day with the pack.
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 appetite for hunting with people wanting to find out where their local pack is and get involved.
“We couldn’t co-ordinate this week without the help of the hunts and, considering the pressure that a lot of them are facing from masked anti-hunt protestors, it is great to see such a spread of hunts throughout the country taking part and lots of smiling newcomers enjoying their days. Whether this is their first and last day or they become annual subscribers, it is very important for hunting and the rural community as a whole that hunts continue to open their doors and give future generations the opportunity to experience our rural traditions.”
(Pictured are Holly and Sid out with the Banwen Miners as photographed by Simon Rees.)