MORE than 300 people gathered at Monmouth Castle on Monday, 1st January, for the annual Monmouthshire Hunt New Year’s Day meet.

Around 30 riders and hounds met in the castle’s square for the hunt led by joint-master Glyn Bennett.

Mr Bennett wished everybody a happy New Year, thanking the Royal Monmouthshire Royal Engineers (MON) regiment for hosting them that morning and praised the Hunt Supporters Club for providing refreshments and helping to clear up after the meet. Glyn also thanked the hunt staff for all their hard work throughout the year and the farmers and landowners for allowing them to keep up the tradition.

He added that to allow the hunt to continue meeting within the law, trails had been laid and would continue to be laid throughout the day

He finished by saying: “On behalf of the Monmouthshire Hunt I would like to wish you all a very happy New Year and look forward to seeing you all at the same time and the same place next year, thank you very much for all your support.”

Not all the horses headed off for the traditional drag hunting as young Theo James riding ‘Maisie’ his Miniature Shetland pony and led by his mum Rachel Walters headed back down Monnow Street.

While the Hunting Act, passed in 2005, made the hunting of foxes illegal, local hunts such as the Monmouthshire go ahead with ‘drag hunts’ where an item of cloth is dragged to lay a scent for the hounds.