Thousands gathered across Herefordshire's market towns and villages for the traditional Boxing Day Hunt.

Many of those attending said the hunt was still just as popular as it was three years ago when the ban with hunting with hounds was introduced.

Olive Greenway, watching her granddaughter ride with the Golden Valley Hunt in Hay-on-Wye, said the Government ban had actually had the opposite effect, creating publicity which attracted a new audience.

Around 800 people stood below Hay's clock tower before a smaller group followed the riders up to Hay Bluff in the Black Mountains.

Over in Ledbury, a crowd topping 6,000 cheered Joint Master Tom Leeke as he told the crowd the hunt would continue for many years to come.

Donald Haden, a spokesman for the Ledbury Hunt, was even interviewed by Russian television in the packed streets.

He said: "An enjoyable day was had by all with hunt staff taking advantage of the many exemptions allowed within the law to replicate as near as possible a traditional day of hunting."

For a full report and pictures on the hunt's festive season see next Thursday's Hereford Times.