Our position on trail hunting

Parc Farm, Great Orme, North Wales

Hunting wild mammals with dogs was banned in England and Wales by the Hunting Act of 2004: National Trust land is no exception.

The law does allow what is known as trail 'hunting' to continue. This activity involves people on foot or horseback following a scent along a pre-determined route with hounds or beagles. It effectively replicates a traditional hunt but without a fox being chased, injured or killed.

We are no longer issuing licences for any trail hunting activities. In coming to a decision on this complex, contentious issue, our Board of Trustees considered a wide range of factors, including but not limited to, the recent guilty verdict in the court case of the Masters of the Foxhounds Association, the appropriate use of charitable funds, the risk of reputational harm to the Trust, and the result of the recent members’ resolution vote on this matter at our October 2021 AGM.
Read the latest media statement >

Please note:

  • the Trustees' decision means that no licences will be issued for the exercising of hounds on National Trust land
  • there may still be some ceremonial meets on National Trust land which will not involve trail hunting activity
  • trail hunting groups, like other groups, do not require licences to cross our land if they remain on bridleways, public footpaths, or other public rights of way.
Winter panorama, Parke, Devon

Trail hunting FAQs 

Read some useful background information and the most frequently asked questions and answers on trail hunting.

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