Big crowds turnout for popular New Year hunt meets
Large crowds lined the streets to watch traditional New Year hunts which took place in Wansford and Melton on Monday.
It was the turn of Cottesmore Hunt this year to gather in Play Close in Melton Mowbray - and over in Wansford, the centuries old Fitzwilliam Hunt gathered.
The hunts usually take place on New Year’s Day but because that fell on Sunday this year, they were moved to Monday.
It followed the previous week’s Boxing Day Hunts - and for all the events, big crowds came out to watch members and their hounds prepare before setting out for their hunts.
Clare Bell, secretary of the Cottesmore Hunt, said: “We had a fantastic turnout of townsfolk on Monday.
“There was a lovely reception for us from the senior townwarden and the people of Melton.
“On the day we had 53 horsemen and women riding with the hunt and a good number of followers on foot.
“We come to Melton every three years because we share it with the Belvoir and the Quorn and once again it was a lovely event for us.”
Mrs Bell declined to comment on speculation that Prime Minister Theresa May is to lobby to repeal the ban on hunting foxes with dogs.
It has been mooted that a free vote might be held in Parliament on the issue.
The ban came in almost 12 years ago but hunting has continued, mainly in in the form of drag hunts, where hounds follow an artificial scent.
The Cottesmore, which has kennels near Oakham, has been hunting in this area since 1666.