Our position on field sports

Fly fishing at Watersmeet, Devon

We recognise that hunting is an issue that polarises people's opinions and provokes strong reactions from them.

Our core concern is looking after special places so that they can be enjoyed by everyone for ever.

We appreciate the importance of rural traditions as part of the spirit of many of the places we look after. We allow field sports to take place on our property where traditionally practised, provided they are within the law and compatible with the Trust’s purposes, which include public access and the protection of rare animals and birds and fragile habitats.

Following the Hunting Act of 2004 we grant licences for trail hunting, ie the following of an artificially laid scent, where this is compatible with local circumstances.

We expect those to whom we grant trail hunting licences on our land to comply fully with the law and the terms of our licence. Anyone who suspects them of breaking the law should contact the local police force as the proper investigating authority.

We will take, and have taken, strong action against license holders where the police and the legal process have found them guilty of breaking the law, or where our licence terms are broken.

A badger on the cliff edge of the Pentire Farm estate on the Rumps Peninsula, North Cornwall

Our view on badgers and bovine TB 

The culling of badgers is not taking place on National Trust land. As a major landowner with many farming tenants, we understand how devastating an outbreak of bovine TB can be.

 photograph of Sir Vauncey Harpur Crewe, c.1924, on heathland with gun over left shoulder

Our position on shooting 

Our core concern is looking after special places so that they can be enjoyed by everyone for ever.