Historic hunting at Llanerchaeron
The courtyard at Llanerchaeron was a hub of activity every Monday and Thursday between October and April as it was the fox hunting season. Hunting was an important interest for Mr J.P. Ponsonby Lewes, his father Captain T.P. Lewes and their family before them.
Dai Birch's memories
You can listen to Dai Birch's memories of working as a kennelman at Llanerchaeron from 1947 to 1972. Thanks to Field of Vision for sharing the footage.
Preparation for the big day
The day before and after the hunt were always busy. All the irons such as the stirrups and buckles would have been burnished and all leather tack was cleaned. The horses would be given special attention with a good grooming and a feed of mash (consisting of oats, bran and linseed oil) to build up their strength.
From April to October Mr J.P. Ponsonby Lewes' hounds would have hunted otters on foot. Rather than wearing the red jackets of the fox hunt, the otter hunt uniform was an indigo blue jacket, breeches, stockings with a red tie, waistcoat and a red cap decorated with an otter paw.
Mr J.P. Ponsonby Lewes, his huntsman David Birch and the Llanerchaeron Otter Hounds (L.O.H.) stopped hunting in 1971. River pollution from sheep dip, acid rain and frequent hunting meant that the otter became increasingly rare. In 1978 the otter became a protected species.
With cleaner rivers, otter numbers are now recovering well. They've returned to the River Aeron that runs through the Llanerchaeron estate.