A DECADE ago there were fears it would not have a future. But hunting in the New Forest is still thriving ten years on from the ban on using foxes.

New Forest Hounds staged their opening trail hunt of the season from the Royal Oak pub at Fritham.

Dr Graham Ferris, joint secretary of the Hounds, said it was a great day and he was pleased to see so many youngsters involved.

He said: “It was a very successful day from our point of view. There were a large number of supporters including 80 on horseback and many more on foot.

“And the most pleasing thing was half of those on horseback were children or young people, so I think the message is that hunting is going from strength to strength.”

Hunting in the UK dates to the 1500s when farmers began chasing foxes with dogs as a form of pest control.