Well that didn’t take long.

Since the National Trust vote on trail hunting there’s been a lot of interest in what would happen next, and rightly so. I’m not going to comment on the irregularities of the vote itself (that’s for another time) but instead I’m going to look at what’s actually happening in the field.

Before the vote the NT released a set of rules by which all hunts would have to abide by. I covered those in a previous blog entry here (The Pressure Mounts). However it soon became apparent that the so-called Countryside Alliance were pressuring the NT to drop some of these rules. Of course there’s no surprise there, as we all know trail hunting is merely a cover for real hunting and the rules as advertised would effectively curtail that and with the opening meets of the main hunting season taking place over the last couple of weekends all eyes were watching to see what would take place.


Reports were soon emerging of hunts using NT land where no licenses had been issued.

Had these hunts been licensed to use the land or were they trespassing? They were certainly not abiding by the rules set out by the NT as there were terrier men present and also quad bikes were being driven along with the hunt, both were to be excluded in the new set of rules. Of course there was no way of knowing what kind of substance was being used as a trail or even if a trail had even been laid (highly unlikely).


West Somerset Vale Hunt with terrier man with quad on NT land last weekend (Quantock Hills).


Clearly searchinging for live quarry complete with terrier men (Quantock Hills).

The examples above are a clear and blatant violation of the new rules set out by the NT.

What is even more disturbing is now the NT seemed to have caved in to the pressure by the so-called CA by reneging on their promise to publish meet locations in advance. Their original statement is shown below.

“Greater transparency for our members and the public.  We will post on our website the agreed days and locations, in advance, for our members and supporters to view. This will include a primary point of contact for each hunt”.

Now it seems that they will no longer do this.


So the NT are claiming that they have been advised by the police not to publish meets and claim this has been done avoid any potential unrest.

Unrest from who?

Clearly if the NT wish to remain open and transparent there has to be the ability to independently monitor any hunt which uses NT land. The NT have already stated they don’t have the resources to do it themselves so therefore the only option is for other groups to do so. Whether these be monitors from LACS, independent or members from local sab groups makes no difference, the only time there is any conflict and violence it comes from the hunting side, both those actively taking part and their supporters. One has to wonder whether the NT did actually consult with the police or they are just using this as a handy excuse. And if they did it would suggest a level of collusion within the police force that they consulted.

Either way the NT are being shown up once again for what they really are, a big land owner who facilitates an illegal activity for the benefit of an influential minority. If the NT don’t take immediate action against the hunts in question we can only assume that all the fine words and statements were in fact complete lies and only there to help swing the vote on trail hunting.

One commentator on social media summed things up perfectly:

“As hunts are not monitored and specific routes wont be published how the hell are you (the NT) or anybody else going to be able to make sure our wildlife is protected from those who wish to slaughter it for the fun of it by calling it an incident? With an independent investigation imminent your charitable status is teetering on the edge of that hole you’re digging”.

I concur.

Keep up the pressure. Contact the NT and let them know your views. Twitter, Facebook, Phone: 03448001895 Email: enquiries@nationaltrust.org.uk

UPDATE: It seems the NT did promise to publish routes etc in the AGM material (thanks to Lou for the image (see below).


  1. Steve says:

    Great post.
    Just untangle my mind a bit. Did the NT ever say it would publish routes?
    I can only find previous reference to dates and locations which it still provides
    Being devil’s advocate here, have we misinterpreted what the NT said?
    Have I missed something?

    • I don’t believe they said they would publish routes but they did say location, that would imply the hunt meet location which is what they now say they won’t. Considering the large areas hunts can cover simply giving out a large vague area isn’t sufficient for anyone to know where they will be if they want to avoid them or in fact monitor the proceedings.

      • Stevemacsweeney says:

        Location is a vague term.
        Inasmuch as they are publishing maps of areas where hunts will take place they could be seen to be fulfilling that commitment.
        Imo this information, together with dates, is a big step forward, and will doubtless make life uncomfortable for Hunts.
        The proof will be evident by the number of Hunts seeking NT licences.
        Give it time.Whilst not perfect ( like a total ban), it’s a big step in the right direvtion

      • I love your optimism Steve, simple fact is they have no intention of enforcing their rules and will let the hunts self-regulate, which is of course nonsense.

      • Stevemacsweeney says:

        I’d rather wait and see. I still see this as another large nail……

    • Lou says:

      They did say in the agm material (before the vote in October) that they’d publish routes. Now claiming police met them in September and advised not to-something stinks here.
      I have a screenshot but can’t post-will do on twitter

    • Marta Falco says:

      NT said they would public dates of Hunts on NT lands so NT land is often next to farmland belonging to others and that could be why there’s a confusion with the word Routes?

  2. Beth Orwin says:

    No surprise really is it. What a set of liars. Totally corrupt.

  3. Paul Berryman says:

    I just hit the email button and sent them this;

    Dear NT,

    I’ve been keeping track of the debate around hunting on NT land. The NT’s allocation of discretionary votes to swing the topic towards the pro-hunt lobby was pretty unpalatable, but the developments since suggest that far from being pro-active in ensuring the law is upheld, the NT is in full retreat on all the suggested measures of progress to drive hunting on NT land towards a law-abiding methodology.

    You implied that going forwards non-Fox urine scented trail hunting, with pre-published dates, times, locations and without Terriermen (why does a trail hunt need someone to dig out a fox?) would be the ONLY permissible form of hunting on NT land.

    Please read this, which I have just come across and tell me exactly how this can be allowed to happen in light of everything you claimed you were going to do?


    Hunting is a highly emotive issue, and time and time again it’s been proven that between 80 and 90% of the public support a complete ban on hunting – your actions now are dragging your venerable institution towards a place where hard public opinion and subsequently the publics money too will flow against the best interests of the NT. Looking at your current actions, it’s not hard to make the judgment you are merely an openly (illegal) hunt-supporting landowner, which allows itself to be influenced by the “well connected minority” who choose to kill small animals for pleasure against the will of the people and the law.

    The massive flare of interest I’ve seen around this on social media probably isn’t going to go away until the NT does what it set out to do prior to the vote, and that is simply implement the measures to ensure law breaking isn’t happening on NT land – I’d love to hear how you plan to turn this now directionless policy around. To ensure you retain the support of the public I’d suggest it’s a matter of some urgency to provide confidence the NT can be trusted to deliver on it’s original intent and stop all forms of illegal hunting on its land (which IS happening) –

    Sadly, right now, all the evidence suggests the opposite of that appears to be the case…

    With regards

    Paul Berryman

  4. amanda davis says:

    All that is happening is what we already suspected would, NT letting our wildlife down to the few who wish to kill, its disgusting and barbaric, trail hunting needs to be banned, its not an old time honoured tradition it was only created after the ban, its time for NT to rid itself of hunt supporters in its ranks

  5. Yvonne Day says:

    Since when has the police shown any interest?
    They usually “turn a blind eye” or side with the hunters!
    “….not be appropriate to share further details…..” Why not? Why so secretive?
    In that case, as you’ve changed the ball post, get permission from them to share, as we have a right to know!
    Liars! Corrupt! Guilty! The so-called National Trust is a National DISGRACE!!

  6. Sally-Ann Kingham says:

    The NT and hunters appear to be laughing at all those who voted against allowing ‘trail hunting’ on their land. Is there any chance that even those who never bothered to vote will be so disgusted by this that they will leave the NT? We can but hope. Thanks for getting the word out. Have noticed on FB today that this latest post from you has received a lot of attention.

  7. Sally-Ann Kingham says:

    Thought this may interest you. Post from myself on NT page and their response.Sally Kingham‎
    National Trust
    1 hr ·

    Why were West Somerset Vale Hunt with terrier men and quads on NT land last weekend (Quantock Hills)? NT stated no terrier men or quad bikes would be allowed as obviously they are not required if a hunt is ‘Trail Hunting’.
    Show More Reactions
    2 2
    National Trust
    National Trust Hello Sally, we take any reports of unlicensed hunts on our land very seriously and we’ll be seeking urgent clarification from the relevant Hunt. Until we establish the facts, we won’t be able to comment further.
    LikeShow More Reactions
    · Reply · 1 hr
    Sally Kingham
    Write a comment…

  8. Spike25 says:

    Clearly some sort of deal or informal arrangement has been done behind the scenes between the Countryside Alliance and NT. There were signs of panic amongst CA members when the new NT rules came out with Bonner receiving friendly fire on Twitter, but I was very suspicious when the CA itself kept very quiet and avoided its usual hysteria – this suggested to me they had stitched up an accommodation with the Trust. And thus it appears now, with the new rules mimicking the Hunting Act in existing on paper but being ignored safe in the knowledge that nobody will attempt enforcement.

    If we had an impartial police force that actually enforced the law the Trust would now be sailing perilously close to a Hunting Act prosecution for wilfully allowing hunting with dogs on its land. We may have to wait for a new government before this can happen but until then the law and the NT are in deep disrepute.

  9. Barbara says:

    This barbaric sport must stop . All animals have got a right to be live on our planet .

  10. Jaz says:

    One woman, in the debate on the day, suggested the trail layer uses a mobile phone app that tracks hikes or runs such as mapmyrun (theres loads of different ones). The trail hunts-folk then use similar apps to track their ‘hunt’. If the two differ then licence revoked. Like a blackbox recorder on a plane. Its real easy. Everyone has a smartphone. Especially the wealthy folk on horseback. Bring it into the 21st century, no excuses.

  11. Peter B says:

    NT didn’ say they would publish “trails” only map of licenced area.

  12. Marta Falco says:

    the NT’s offer of reduced prices of membership for the Police – WOW what is this, bribing them but NT is ignorant of many things or in denial and doubt if many police will have any spare cash to join this elitist and nasty orgnisation.

  13. Michael King says:

    Reference to which police force have advised them not to publicise hunting events would be nice. I simply don’t believe them.

    • Lou says:

      Exactly-I quite agree. Drag hunts happy to publicise details so what’s the problem if all is above board? And what’ll happen next time someone’s dog is attacked-as happened on the NT beach in Cornwall earlier this year when an elderly couple attacked along with their dog. So now people can’t use the area and simply avoid the ‘trail’ routes? Endangering the public. An FOI request could also be made as to why police gave this advice and which police officer/s specifically. NT have avoided question of which police force this was so far-needs to keep being asked.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s