Fol­low­ing the magic five

Some of the most tra­di­tional, un­spoilt hunt­ing in Eng­land is to be had with the five packs of fox­hounds in the Cotswolds. Cather­ine Austen is your guide

Country Life Every Week - - Reel Life - Il­lus­tra­tions by Emma Mccall

Founded 1858 Size of coun­try 17 miles north to south and about 15 miles east to west Masters Tim Bel­lamy, Chris Adams, Jane Gwillim-david, Sarah Bliss Hunts­man Si­mon Hand Satur­day cap £125 Best meets Fox­cote, Stow­ell Park, Charl­ton Ab­botts Best covert names Oys­ter Wells, Lit­tle Hum­ble Bee, No Man’s Patch Big­gest fence The Fox­cote hedges Hunt hero Richard Mer­rett, hunt sec­re­tary for nearly 30 years Fa­mous fol­low­ers The Vestey fam­ily Did you know? ‘The Cotswold has al­ways been known for its ex­cel­lent pub­lic re­la­tions,’ says joint-mas­ter Chris Adams. ‘Her­bert Lord (MFH 1904–19) had his own unique style and, when con­fronted at the meet at The Air Bal­loon pub by a very dead fox hung from a handy tree by an old ad­ver­sary, he dis­mounted, stripped off his coat and knocked the man out cold. Lord was in the habit of chal­leng­ing all­com­ers at the Keep­ers’ Sup­per and, for a bit of sport one sea­son, the keep­ers hired a “pro” from Birm­ing­ham to pose as one of their num­ber to even things up a bit. The Lord left hook pre­vailed!’ Why I love it ‘The time­less air: we have a long her­itage of hunt­ing the hills and we can still have mar­vel­lous days over grass and walls, but the real plea­sure for me is the com­mu­ni­ties and the warmth of it all’ Chris Adams www.cotswold­hunt.org.uk Founded Hounds have been ken­nelled at Bad­minton since 1640, switch­ing from hunt­ing deer to foxes in 1762 af­ter the 5th Duke put his staghounds into Silk Wood and had such a suc­cess­ful hunt on a fox that he changed Size of coun­try 760sq miles, al­though only 550sq miles are hunt­able due to the M4 and ur­ban­i­sa­tion Masters The Duke of Beau­fort, Capt Ian Far­quhar, Matt Rams­den (hunts­man) Ken­nel-hunts­man Nick Hop­kins Satur­day cap £225 Best covert name Scotty’s Bot­tom Big­gest fence The Wi­d­leys Three and some big, well-re­spected ones in the Sod­bury Vale Best party Two big drinks par­ties— one for farm­ers and their fam­i­lies and one for keep­ers and their fam­i­lies— with 350 peo­ple at each Fa­mous fol­low­ers The polo-play­ing Tom­lin­son fam­ily and, pre-ban, mem­bers of the Royal Fam­ily Did you know? The Beau­fort has more hunt­ing farm­ing fam­i­lies than any other pack and more Welsh blood in ken­nels than in any other pack out­side Wales Why I love it ‘It’s like be­ing part of a large, friendly fam­ily, whether you’re a farmer, a sub­scriber, a puppy walker, a hunt sup­porter or, like me, hunt in a car’ Jo Aldridge, long-time hunt sup­porter www.beau­forthunt.com

It’s like be­ing part of a large, friendly fam­ily, whether you’re a farmer or a car fol­lower’

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