Lewes Boxing Day hunt meet returns

A rolling road block will be in place when the Southdown and Eridge hunt meets in the centre of Lewes on Boxing Day (this year on Monday, December 27).

Lewes
Lewes

Hundreds traditionally flock to see them - both supporters and objectors.

In 2019 there were silent protests as the riders paraded through the town centre and in 2018 scuffles broke out after they were confronted by hunt saboteurs.

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“Yes, there are people who disagree” said spokesman Ivan Massow, “But Lewes bucks what can be standard thinking elsewhere.

“Hunting has never been more popular,” he argues.

The meet is outside the White Hart Hotel and this year there’s a rolling road block, agreed with council and police.

Hounds and followers head over natural obstacles and across country on a pre-laid scent trail.

As Ivan said: “We are rural but almost a suburb of south London, criss-crossed by paths, tracks and roads and objectors can follow us every inch of the way and film if they choose.

“There is absolutely no reason why hounds would follow a fox trail, it just doesn’t happen.”

He said: “Saboteurs say they film ‘terriermen’ but there aren’t any.

“They look at quad bikes ridden by those who lay the trail and assume terriers are in the back. They’re not!”

Pre hunting legislation, controversially terrierman would follow the hunt to dig out foxes that had gone to earth.

Ivan was a Master of Bloodhounds but took on the challenge of a Foxhound pack five years ago.

“There’s an overwhelming sense of goodwill here. As farms are built over or bought by people escaping from town, rural families can feel isolated.

“The hunt does bring them together and create a great community spirit. Winter can be lonely in the countryside.

“If we lost it something irreplaceable would go too.”