Hunt Profile: North Cotswold Hunt

Huntsman: up until the end of the 2017 – 2018 season Nigel Peel hunted the hounds for the NCH, now Oliver Dale is Huntsman with Guy Fitzearle as Kennel Huntsman (KH)
Kennels: Broadway
Hunting days: Monday, Wednesday and Saturday
Hunt country: Areas around Evesham, Moreton and Broadway (including Wormington, Stanton, Stanway, Didbrook, Hailes Abbey, Snowshill, Spring Hill House, Pebworth, Weston Subedge, Mickleton, Broad Marston, Long Marston, Meon Hill – shared with Warwickshire Hunt – Bourton Woods, Buckland and Willersey).

West Midlands Hunt Saboteurs also kept an eye on them in previous seasons, as have the independent Hunt Monitors on occasion.

In 2014 footage was filmed which showed people connected to the hunt feeding foxes in an area which they hunt in – the vehicle was traced to the hunt kennels. This was covered by a number of media outlets at the time. Following this, “West Midlands sabs decided to pay them a visit. After ensuring one fox escaped the hunt safely, the sabs found the Huntsman (Nigel Peel) with the hounds in full cry in the same field that featured in the ITN report. A combination of foot sabs in the field and sabs back in the van ensured the 2nd fox also got away. A third fox then ran past the sabs who stayed in the area until it was safe to leave“. Please check out West Midlands Sabs for more on the great work they have done and continue to do!

Also in 2014, we caught the hunt illegally chasing foxes despite knowing that sabs had filmed their behaviour…

This doesn’t come as a massive surprise and their behaviour had still not changed a couple of seasons later when whistles and holloas were used at this meet to indicate that a fox had run from the covert the hunt were in. Supporters then pointed to show where the fox had run (even Calvin Crossman, the guy with the eagle, who is there to pretend that it’s all about falconry…). Luckily scenting conditions weren’t good at that time of day, so the scent was lost of that particular fox.

Videos were shot throughout the day of the hunt barging on to various roads, more holloas and whistles, more pointing, lots of dodgy terrierman activity and the blocking of roads… This video mainly stars the man driving the flesh wagon (also seen at the VWH and Cotswold hunts…) which blocked the same road twice, called a sab a ‘slag’ and then swerved at the sab vehicle when it was parked in a layby on a bend of the road. Nice guy!

Moving on later in 2016 and September saw the breaking of a camera, assault of a sab and the breaking of her glasses at a cubhunting meet… all to try to distract from what the hunt and their terriermen were up to nearby.

Around a month later, on October 24th during a cubhunting meet near to Evesham, hunt hounds ran a fox to ground. Sabs caught terriermen at an active badger sett that they had begun to dig into to get to the fox, entrances to the sett freshly blocked up. Terriermen then abandoned the terrier who had been put into the sett for 2hrs, facing off with the hunted fox and potentially the resident badgers.

With no hunt staff in sight when she emerged from the sett, she was taken by sabs to a vet with a suspected bite to the neck with sabs subsequently accused of theft. Ironically due to this allegation and arrests of sabs which followed those looking after the terrier responded by moving the terrier to a safe house and even sabs concerned no longer know her location, only that she is safe.

A vet report confirms that she had been repeatedly used for breeding, that she must have lived mainly on concrete, that an old dislocation of a hip had never been set to heal properly and many of her back teeth had been violently broken. Additionally she is roughly only 5yrs old, although she looks much older.

Following this incident, the next time we caught up with the hunt was on December 28th that year when hunt staff took it upon themselves to punish sabs. The three unmasked, female sabs present at the meet were driven at, sworn at and had threats of sexual violence made towards them as well as one sab being punched in the face, having her head slammed into the frozen ground and being kicked in the groin by hunt members who were attempting to stop them finding artificial earths which the hunt were acting suspiciously around.

While the ‘theft of dog’ case against the sabs has been dropped due to there being no evidence that they stole the terrier, investigations continued into the revenge attacks against the sabs in December.

This fact did not deterred one culprit, Calvin Crossman of Evesham, from inciting other hunt members to act in the same way towards sabs. ***UPDATE: In June 2017 we were told that Will Haines, terrierman who was responsible for putting the terrier into the sett in October and who was filmed trying to hide the spades and who then rode into the sab with his quadbike in December has been giving a caution for assaulting her. No further action is being taken against Calvin Crossman as police do not believe the footage is clear enough to show the kick to her groin, the punch to her face or whether anyone was at fault with regards to the fall… regardless of the fact that his behaviour prior to the fall would constitute ‘assault’ anyway (assault does not require any actual physical contact to be made)***

More recently, anti-hunt campaigners were tipped off that hunters were assisting in promoting pro-hunt Conservative MPs in the run up to the election in June 2017. One such MP is Alex Chalk of Cheltenham, though he denied being associated with the hunt (given their behaviour, we’re not sure anyone would want to be publicly associated with them). The hunt repeatedly break the law and given the amount of evidence we have of this despite the fact that we have not been able to attend even half of their meets during any specific season, should worry anyone about the behaviour of the hunt. We will continue to keep an eye on them over the coming seasons, in particular keeping an eye on known artificial earths and badger setts that we know to be targetted by them – setts which could well be targetted by cull contractors in the ongoing badger culls in the area. Worryingly, if the badgers at these setts do have bTB, the hunt could well be spreading the disease themselves on to neighbouring farmland, farms and land further afield, to other badgers in other setts that they are targeting and potentially to their hounds and terriers… as well as potentially increasing perturbation in the badger population due to the constant disturbance they face through the blocking and digging out of setts. We, on the other hand, wash our hands and shoes down after visiting these areas… 

For more information on the hunt, in later seasons especially, see our page ‘North Cotswold Hunt Ball’ which was published in October 2019 when tickets for the Christmas Ball were on sale from the hunt.