Claims of a further merger among Herefordshire’s hunts have been denied by the sport’s governing body.

British Hound Sports Association (BHSA) managing director Oliver Hughes said: “Contrary to the claims made by the Herefordshire sabs group, the Herefordshire and Clifton Hunt has not folded and is not considering an amalgamation with the Worcestershire or anyone else.”

Last week Herefordshire Hunt Sabs (HHS) claimed that the hunt, formerly kennelled at Bodenham, was to merge with the neighbouring Worcestershire Hunt, having already undergone two recent mergers.

But Mr Hughes said: “Some of the Herefordshire hounds are being cared for at the Worcestershire kennels because of some staffing issues at the H & C kennels, in the interests of the welfare of the hounds, which may have caused the confusion.”


On the wider claim by the sabs that hunting with dogs is now “in terminal decline”, Mr Hughes added: “Hunts amalgamate because of increased urbanisation leading to lack of country for them to operate in, not through any lack of support.

“Amalgamation is often the best way to ensure that the livelihoods of those employed and the welfare of the horses and hounds are protected. So whilst there has been a reduction in the number of registered hunts, it is not commensurate with a reduction in the overall area of the countryside that hunts operate in.”

HHS maintained that the hunt’s amalgamation “had been announced by a relatively official source” but declined to say which.

Its spokesperson added: “Urbanisation is hardly an issue in Herefordshire. Hunts here are struggling for money and supporters, and lots of landowners increasingly feel able to stand up to them and say they are not welcome.”