Our position on trail hunting
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.
The Trust does licence trail hunting in some areas and at certain times of the year, where it is compatible with our aims of public access and conservation.
Our clear, robust, and transparent set of conditions will allow participants to undertake a version of this legal activity that’s compatible with our conservation aims.
Any activity associated with the term hunting continues to provoke strong emotions on both sides of the debate. We recognise our approach will not satisfy everyone.
Our charity’s core aim is to look after the places in our care and that remains our top priority when considering whether to licence any outdoor activity. This would be true whether it’s mountain biking or a food festival.
But our charity was also established for the nation’s benefit and to provide the widest spectrum of public access and enjoyment. We therefore always look to welcome people to our places and to host the broadest range of outdoor activities on our land.
We believe this should include trail hunting, where it is consistent with our conservation aims and is legally pursued.
Most of the work we do is affected by wider global issues, which is why our interests extend far beyond just bricks and mortar.
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