Thousands turn out to see annual Boxing Day hunt

Almost 3,000 people braved the cold to see the start of a Boxing Day hunt.

The centre of Brigstock was filled with people, hounds and horses as they gathered in preparation for the start of the 134-year-old Woodland Pytchley Hunt yesterday.

The weather was cold but fine, and organisers said the turnout was at its usual level with about 3,000 spectators turning out in the square and lining the village lanes, as well as about 70 people on horseback.

Joint huntmaster Luke Wheeler said: "We were glad to see so many here.

"People come from all over Northamptonshire to see us."

He and fellow huntmaster Steve Hobbs thanked the farmers who let them use their land, as well as all the spectators for going along.

Since the ban on hunting, the hunt follows a pre-laid trail and foxes are no longer chased or killed.

Plenty of children turned out to enjoy the sights and sounds of the hunt as the riders prepared themselves in the village.

Eight-year-old Holly Ashcroft came from Duston, near Northampton, with her family.

She said: "I like the dogs, they all jump up on you, it's fun. They are really friendly."