The Quorn hunt, founded in 1753 by Hugo Meynell, the “Father of Foxhunting”, has revealed its plan of action in response to the expected hunting ban from 18 February.
A marathon “three-horse day” is planned for 17 February; and trail lines will be hunted for the rest of the season. It is founding a Heritage Fund to help ensure its future.
Sporting artist Neil Cawthorne has donated an oil painting, Our Heritage, which depicts Quorn huntsman Peter Collins and hounds. Prints are being sold and the original auctioned for the fund, which is dedicated to preserving hound bloodlines, hunting and the repeal of the Hunting Bill with donations to the Hunt Staff Benefit Society.
The Quorn is marking 17 February by meeting at 9am at its famous Cream Gorse venue, by invitation of hunting landowner Joan Crosfield.
“We shall hunt ’til dark, and if they wish, people can change horses twice during the day to keep going,” says senior joint-master Joss Hanbury.
The Quorn plans trail riding after a ban to give its field as much top-class cross-country riding as possible.
“We have some superb country and our farmers and landowners are being very supportive, for which we are most grateful,” adds Hanbury. “We are changing very reluctantly, but want to keep our hunt and our pack of hounds intact until the Hunting Act is amended or repealed.”
Prints of Our Heritage are available from hunt secretary Peter Morritt (tel: 0116 259 6694); remarques £150, prints £85, plus postage/packing £2.75.
Other hunts’ plans
After 17 seasons at the helm, current Heythrop huntsman Anthony Adams will be hanging up his green coat after 17 February.
“As Anthony is leaving at the end of the season, it would not be fair to ask him or hounds to start line hunting,” explains Richard Sumner MFH.
The Heythrop is planning just a few days of hound exercising on Saturdays before Julian Barnfield joins them as huntsman on 1 May from the neighbouring Cotswold. First whip Martin Bluck is leaving is leaving to hunt the Vale of Aylesbury with Garth and South Berks, and the current second whip Rod Wilson, will step up to first position. Wilson’s position will not be filled.
The Brecon and Talybont master Richard Evans-Bevan says: “We’re meeting on 19 February. We finish very soon after that anyway because of lambing. We’re not packing up — we will continue to meet, but whether just to exercise hounds or to follow a trail, I’m not sure yet.”
Huntsman Darren Foxley adds: “Getting the trail right is going to be harder than people think. When you shoot a fox, hounds are often very unwilling to break it up — gunposer and foxes don’t mix — so dragging a fox might not work.”
Irfon and Tywi master Ken Johns says: “We’ll do something constructive — probably laying a trail, I should think.”