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're no longer issuing licences for any trail hunting activities, including the exercising of hounds. We're only licensing drag hunting, all other forms of hunting will not be licensed on National Trust land.

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 or other public rights of way.

We do not allow illegal activity on our land and we take any reports of trespass and/or illegal activity very seriously. We ask that any reports are passed to our staff on the ground or sent via email to trailhunting.management@nationaltrust.org.uk.

We carefully consider all information submitted to us. We continue to work with our partners in the police to robustly investigate incidents on National Trust land.

We do not comment on the outcome of any reported incidents for legal reasons.

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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