SUPPORTERS and opposers of the Ledbury Hunt lined the streets of the town as the traditional Boxing Day meet took place, a day later than usual.

Security had to keep the two groups with opposing views apart, but the event remained largely peaceful.

Hereford Times: Horsemen and women and crowds at the Boxing Day hunt, LedburyHorsemen and women and crowds at the Boxing Day hunt, Ledbury

Despite the rain, the hunt was applauded as the huntmaster addressed the crowd, apparently smaller than in previous years.

He encouraged those in attendance to use local shops, with High Street and New Street closed for an hour as the hunt met.


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Cafes in the town were busy after the meet, with queues at Coffee #1 and Greggs near the historic Market House.

The huntmaster also thanked the town council for supporting the hunt, narrowly voting to not ask Herefordshire Council to block the road closure bid.

He said the hunt, made up of people from different walks of life, had been meeting in Ledbury for 175 years and said the tradition would continue.

Hereford Times: Protesters at the Boxing Day hunt, LedburyProtesters at the Boxing Day hunt, Ledbury

Protesters held signs such as "for fox sake" as they made their feelings about hunting known, with a feeling that some groups still hunted foxes, which was outlawed 17 years ago.

The hunt stressed that it was trail hunting, with a scent trail laid prior to the hunt setting off at around 11am.

There were also morris dancers performing near the Market House, still using traditional black face paint.

Some morris groups have opted to ditch the tradition, which stems from dancers not wanting to be identified as they performed in days gone by.

The atmosphere was relatively friendly and peaceful, despite the protesters, with a couple of arguments breaking out between the two groups.

But despite a little tension, the tradition continued.