Video: Boxing Day Hunt in Lewes

Lewes town centre was packed on Boxing Day for the traditional meet of the Southdown and Eridge Hunt.

Thousands lined the streets to savour the colourful spectacle as some 90 riders trotted through, the hounds weaving among the prancing hooves.

Boxing Day hunt Lewes

Boxing Day hunt Lewes

The Hunt was met with cheers and applause as members congregated outside The White Hart Hotel for stirrup cups in an event which stretches back more than 70 years.

The Southdown and Eridge then headed out of town for a drag hunt on the hills above the county town.

It came on the same day as news was announced that there is not enough support among MPs to repeal the ban on foxhunting.

Owen Paterson, the Environment Secretary, said there was no immediate prospect of winning a Commons vote on making hunting legal again.

However Sir Barney White-Spunner, the chief executive of the Countryside Alliance, said he was “confident” that the act would be repealed in the long-term. He said: “If we are going to go for some form of repeal it will take a huge amount of time. But I’m confident that the act will be repealed and in the meantime the Prime Minister will deliver what he can.”

Despite the legal ban, hundreds of local hunts across the country met on the busiest day of the hunting season. More than a million people were expected to attend at least 300 hunts.

Joe Duckworth, chief executive of the League Against Cruel Sports, said his organisation was “intensifying” its campaign against illegal hunting.