2nd January 2017 – North Cotswold and Heythrop Hunts

We’ve had a few days where hunts have been failing to go out – three on one day cancelled their meets either due to hard ground or wet ground. This gave us a rest and meant we could be up early to check for blocked setts on the ‘New Year’s Day’ meet (one day late as NYD fell on a Sunday)…

Chipping Campden, North Cotswolds cull zone. Men out on quads this morning at 05.30, freshly blocked setts and a very worried game keeper. The North Cotswold Hunt have just had their New Years Day meet in the centre of Chipping Campden.

Meanwhile the Heythrop have just met at Stow on the Wold, also in the North Cotswold cullzone. Reports to follow…


New Year’s Day meets are big events in the hunting calender and for some packs they are nearly as important as Boxing Day. Local papers in the North Cotswolds always report on the local meets, hundreds, attend and this is what they are supporting. So we have situation whereby just for “sport” badger setts are trashed on an industrial scale so that the hunted fox does not escape down them. We found numerous blocked setts yesturday and judging by what is found and then multiplied by the ground each hunt covers maybe as many as 30 setts get filled in by each hunt on each hunting day. Both meets and all setts blocked are in the North Cotswold badger cull zone and so these badgers are also targeted by a government sponsored cull so potentially 60 setts, maybe more, were systematically vandalised in on one day in a cull zone. With the frost turning clumps of earth to hard unyielding boulders and making it VERY difficult for badgers to dig themselves out these gross acts of cruelty can kill and are not even taken into account by Natural England as a factor in badger population.

Anyway, sett blockers are up early and so are we. The North Cotswold Hunt were due to meet at Chipping Campden and so we were there when they turned up hid from the quad bike and saw the torches going through the woods at one stage coming towards us! The quad was on the move and out by 07.00 after doing their dirty work. Gloucestershire police responded quickly and efficiently. The NCH met in Chipping Campden town centre and were seen hunting in the area later in the day.

The Heythrop met at Stow on the Wold and setts were also checked in that area. Some were not blocked but others, near Upper Swell were. The hunt were around the Slaughters, in and out of the Eyford Park area and finished as it got dark after hunting a fox for miles.

Both hunts are validated by the local media, the town councils and those who turn up to support them. Time to change things.

28th December: North Cotswold Hunt

Full report on the day’s events and what led up to them will come soon, so watch this space. In the meantime, blocked setts were found out at the North Cotswold Hunt meet on Wednesday near to another active sett where terriermen were caught attempting to dig out a fox during a cubhunting meet in October. Quadbikes were heard out at 6am by sett-blocking patrols on the land.

We use this opportunity to post again about our articles (which can be found in the static pages on this website) ‘Terrierwork: Past and Present’ and ‘Hunts vs Badgers’, both of which cover some of the incidents which we deal with in regards to blocked badger setts and terrierwork out with the hunts in the three counties, along with more information and quotes from hunters regarding blocking setts.

We’ve recently put up a few ‘clarification posts’, a bit like responding to frequently asked questions. One of these referred to badger setts and whether it was unlawful to unblock them. We’ve put together a video from the 28th December of sabs unblocking the sett found blocked (pictured above) and will also copy the post about unblocking setts here…

“Information on the legislation which protects badgers and their setts can be found at legislation.gov.uk and at gov.uk itself. The Protection of Badgers Act 1992 came in to close up gaps in previous legislation which did not protect setts, just the badgers themselves.

The law states that DAMAGING or BLOCKING setts is an offence but does not list unblocking of setts as an offence, Obviously when we unblock setts, we are only removing items that have been put into the entrances, whether they are tree stumps, staves, clods of earth or bricks, etc. and we are not causing further damage to the entrances.

28th December: Ledbury Hunt

Today a few 3C sabs attended a Ledbury Hunt meet in Castlemorton NR Malvern with Bristol Hunt Saboteurs. The hunt were good at avoiding us for most of the day disappearing into pieces of land but the hounds were quiet on the most part so weren’t finding foxes.

The main event of the day was Bristol Hunt Saboteurs being assaulted in a field near a badger sett by Ledbury Hunt terriermen. Bristol Hunt Saboteurs left the area to follow the hounds and avoid further violence. A short while later two 3C sabs revisited the area of the assault and found the four terriermen digging out at the badger sett, The terriermen were quite threatening and aggressive to the sab closest to them who was taking their photos. After ‘antis’ turning up twice, terriermen left on their quad.

The two 3C sabs went up to the sett and found blocked holes, a filled in dig out hole, hound prints and hand prints in the mud. We do not believe the terriermen were able to complete their dig out. The police and Malvern Hills Conservators were in the area monitoring the hunts activities but the dig out was off the common on private land.

While this happened in Worcestershire other 3C sabs were assaulted in the Cotswolds, Gloucestershire resulting in a trip to A&E, but that’s another story…

A facebook page called ‘Fox Hunt off Malvern Hills‘ has been set up in order to condense information on the huntwhen they hunt on Castlemorton Common and into the Malvern Hills, partially to make the Malvern Hills Conservators more aware of what the hunt are doing on and near the land they manage.

They do a separate report on what happened in the hills and on the common throughout the day. Bristol Hunt Saboteurs also got their incident covered by the media and have released a video…

26th December: Heythrop Hunt

Hethrop, chipping Norton. 4 blocked badger setts so far. Hunt have gone shitty pants and changed their plans but called us to say that they know where we are…. They don’t :)


5 years ago the Heythrop killed a fox near Sarsgrove wood and it was filmed by hunt monitors becoming evidence in the case where they were forced to plead guilty as a corporate body to multiple charges of illegal hunting. You would have thought that they would have learned something but alas,same old same old. Anyway one sab was on a bike and another was up early sett checking.

It was expected that the Heythrop would come into the area but with it approaching 15.00, 5 badger setts having been found to be blocked and phone calls from the hunt asking where we all were it was assumed that they had decided not to take the risk of anything happening in front of cameras. It was only then that hounds were heard in full cry at Sarsden House and a fox ran past this admin only to be holloaed at by a woman (holloaing is a high pitched scream used to call hounds onto the hunted fox). The elusive Charlie Frampton emerged and did make a token effort (not a very good one BAD Charlie) to stop hounds, this pack can stop on a pin if they are told to do so. He then packed up by 15.30, unheard of for this hunt.

Anyway, 4 slashed tyres on return to the car. Police and RSPCA fully briefed on setts. The setts were made safe for badgers and foxes. Of course the Heythrop denied all knowledge so presumably the badgers are digging themselves in with spades now on every hunting morning after dining on hedgehogs and bees, in between plotting celebrity deaths…?

24th & 26th December: CVFH

Lots of action with the Cotswold Vale Farmers’ Hunt this Christmas along with our Welsh Borders mate. On Christmas Eve we attended their meet in Sandhurst and, despite some trouble from some locals (who were also annoying the hunt when they weren’t offering to sell them bagged foxes) we caught them hunting, in full cry, and spotted the ‘lovely’ Ben Hughes checking out a barn full of hay bales where the fox had sought shelter, fellow terrier man Nick Hodges getting spotted by sabs when he tried to sneakily point out where the fox had run to Mike ‘Pervy’ Smith.

They headed up into the hills and we kept an eye on them the best we could, helping one fox by spraying his line when he ran close by. The wind played havoc with the scent at a couple of points which also helped. We had the usual ‘hounds on roads’ situation. No surprise there! Simon is learning to be more assertive and when one sab made a sarcastic remark about his riding style, Simon replied with an insult which included the C-word. We’re feeling very proud of him…!

Today the hunt were hosted by The George Hotel in Newent. It was a day of bad luck and good calls. Sabs decided not to hold a demo but prioritised pre-spraying areas we thought they might go to (good call as we guessed right). The vehicle broke down (bad luck). But that’s what legs are good for! We had already split up (good call) which meant that someone always knew their location. Then a foot sab lost her phone (bad luck) and whilst finding it the hunt had turned towards her and she spotted terrier men and another quad heading in front of the hunt. With other foot sabs heading her way and keeping tabs on the hunt, she went to find the quads (good call) and found Ben Hufhes , Nick Hodges and friends at an active badger sett (which was heavily targeted during the cull).

With hounds in full cry other sabs stuck with the hunt (good call) and ended up helping the 3 o’clock fox escape. Many thanks to those who were dotted around the countryside nearby checking setts and ‘walking dogs’ as well as those mingling at the meet.

Off home to eat Christmas leftovers and chocolate and wait for the sab who dropped by the Heythrop today, found several blocked setts, had all her car tyres slashed and helped a fox escape whilst her stalkers were still searching for her.

We can’t guarantee a no-kill day (we rarely do) but it wasn’t a bad’un. Lovely to chat to some people at the meet too and to hear comments from people in town like ‘sometimes they lay trails, but they still go after foxes’ and ‘I like seeing the horses and dogs but did you know the still stop up the earths? So they’re still hunting foxes so I stopped supporting them’.

17th December: CVFH

CVFH, Morse’s Farm Tibberton. We were joined by Bristol, South Wales and Bath sabs. Sett checkers were also inland first thing with a thorough knowledge of the area. First off was Jamie Griffith’s land (some of you may remember him as a leading pro cull farmer) and shortly they had hunted a fox to the golf course near Huntley upsetting a sheep farmer in the process. Clearly they were not meant to be there….what has Simon scatterpack done now, we asked ourselves. Then lo and behold out comes Mark Meladay (huntsman of the Ledbury) carrying the horn. Clearly Simon is still recovering from last week’s tumble and Mark is enjoying some extra hunting. And so the CVFH field was considerably bigger with Ledbury supporters all over the place including their terriermen. Not sure if the CVFH knew what hit them but some Ross Harriers support were out too. The lanes around Tibberton became unusually busy as the day wore on.

Sabs kept an eye on them all day moving them on forming pincer movements. At one point a fox came away from where the terriermen were and to say that they looked decidedly shifty is an understatement. The line of this fox and one that passed earlier was liberally sprayed with citronella. The terriermen and other supporters from various hunts went off fairly quickly once they noted sabs. especially the idiot who tried to holloa.

They finished in Highnam woods an RSPB nature reserve. At this time Mark’s son and his friend decided it would be fun to throw a firecracker into a beehive so 2 sabs got stung. Cruel to the bees and this could have been very serious if anyone had been allergic to bee stings.

We received no less than 5 calls regarding 5 different regarding hunts in the three counties whilst we were out. Some of these were duly attended by local anti hunt folk. Please keep the information coming in. Last week we received news that hounds were on road A44 at Whitbourne Worcestershire last Saturday lunchtime and that one had been hit. We cannot always respond but will carry on recording and passing on to other groups when possible.

After reading our report from the day, a supporter of ours contacted the RSPB about the hunt being on their land and received this reply:

Dear Charles,

Thank you for your e-mail which our enquiries team passed on to me.

Thank you for bringing this to our attention. I can confirm I was not aware the CVFH had been on the reserve and we have not given permission for them to do so. I was on site yesterday afternoon and saw there had been horses through, so it is useful to know the explanation.

Kind regards,

Hannah Booth
Site Manager

We weren’t going to name Mark Meladay’s son, Sam, as being one of the two culprits regarding the bee hive damage, but he obviously felt the need to draw attention to himself and name himself by posting a highly amusing comment on our facebook report… and then, when we failed to respond to him, he ‘liked’ his own comment…