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Countryside Alliance announces dates for Newcomers' Week 2023

The Countryside Alliance’s Hunting Newcomers’ Week, supported by the British Hound Sports Association (BHSA), returns this year from Saturday 21st until Saturday 28th October 2023. 

Hunts are being encouraged to organise a specific meet or other newcomers’ event during this time to continue to promote trail hunting to a wider audience and welcome those who are interested in following hounds, either mounted or on foot. 

Polly Portwin, the Countryside Alliance’s Director for Hunting commented:

“One of the primary purposes of newcomers’ meets is to offer those new to hunting the opportunity to experience following hounds across country while learning how hunts conduct their lawful trail hunting or exempt hunting activities. 

“We look forward to seeing many new faces following hounds during this time and anticipate that foot packs, such as beagles and basset hounds, will be amongst the different hunts which newcomers will be able to join, as well as those supporting mounted packs for the first time as they cross our wonderful countryside.”

These dates have been chosen ahead of the start of the main season so that newcomers can get a feel of trail hunting without the pressure of a full-blown hunting day. Hunts will tailor their days to accommodate those who may not have hunted before or are less-experienced than others, with jumping being optional and guides available to assist where necessary. Some hunts will be organising breakfast after hunting - or perhaps a bbq when a meet is held in the afternoon - so that newcomers have an opportunity to meet other members of the hunt and to get involved in the social element of hunting which is important to so many. 

Oliver Hughes, Managing Director of the BHSA said:

“Newcomers’ Week will give everyone with an interest in horses, hounds or the countryside the opportunity to learn more about trail hunting, how it works and the welcoming, friendly, inclusive community that surrounds and supports it. We hope that hunts will support this initiative, which aims to encourage as many people as possible to try the pastime that is loved by so many. If you need to know which is your local hunt, then please contact the BHSA or the Countryside Alliance.”

For those wishing to learn more about following hounds, the Countryside Alliance’s “A Newcomer’s Guide To Hunting” leaflet is available in PDF format online here.

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