Thousands gather to watch traditional Boxing Day Hunt

After a week of miserable weather, the sun came out for the annual Boxing Day hunt – drawing crowds of onlookers.

The village of Brigstock filled with people, as almost 3,000 spectators gathered to see the start of the Woodland Pytchley Hunt.

Woodland Pytchley Hunt Boxing Day meet in Brigstock.  Hunt followers watching members of the hunt as they prepare to leave the village

Woodland Pytchley Hunt Boxing Day meet in Brigstock. Hunt followers watching members of the hunt as they prepare to leave the village

People filled the square and lined the village lanes as about 70 people set off on horseback.

The historic hunt, which was first held in 1881, was a big success according to huntsman George Whittaker.

He said: “I think it is great.

“The Boxing Day meet is all about tradition and people come here to share in that tradition.

“We have people here today that we may not see all year but they come out and show their support on Boxing Day.”

The hunters paraded through the centre of the village twice before setting off on the hunt with hounds by their side.

Before galloping up Church Street, the masters and huntsmen enjoyed mulled wine and mince pies at the Green Dragon pub.

Hunting with dogs was banned in 2005 and now the dogs follow a scented pre-laid trail rather than foxes – who are no longer chased or killed.

To see more pictures from the hunt click here.