The Cottesmore Hunt
WelcomeWelcome to the Cottesmore Hunt’s website. Within our site you will find the history of the Hunt and its supporters club, an account of the breeding and bloodlines of our famous hounds, a description of our country (the area we cover) with an interactive map highlighting points of interest, a who’s who of officials and staff, details of the different subscription packages, calendars for our future social events, a list of what we currently have on sale in our memorabilia shop and details of how to get in touch with us. There are also details of (or links to) our other related activities such as point-to-point racing, Pony Club and the Hedge-cutting Society. We also — as you will have seen — carry advertisements. Please give your business to our advertisers: help them to help us.
The government ban in February 2005 led to some changes in the way hounds are permitted to hunt while remaining within the law, but although second-best to traditional foxhunting, excellent sport is still possible using a combination of laid trails and flushing to a bird of prey for the bird itself then to hunt.
"For the truest sport, the straightest foxes, for perfection of country, for long runs and fast runs, commend us to the wild pastures of the Cottesmore. A wide spread region scarcely inhabited; ground that carries a scent in all weathers; woodlands which breed a travelling race; and mile upon mile of untracked grass, where a fox will meet nothing more terrifying than a bullock — no wonder, then, the finest runs of the season are with the Cottesmore; that more hard riders and grand horses are present when Ranksboro' is drawn then are ever mustered elsewhere; or that the Punchbowl and Stapleford are names to make us stir in our chairs..."
So said Edward Pennell-Elmhirst ("Brooksby") in 1882. Those familiar with the area will realise that the country has changed a bit since then. But the Cottesmore's famous hounds have more than kept pace with these changes: they are lighter and more athletic than their forebears and are better able to follow a weak artificially-laid scent amid exhaust fumes and the distractions of modern agriculture.
From 1666* until 2005, the Cottesmore (say ‘Cotsmore’**) had hunted foxes with hounds in and around the ancient English county of Rutland. In spite of the construction of Cottesmore airfield in 1935, the completion of Rutland Water reservoir in 1978 which removed 3100 acres (1255 hectares) of hunting country, widespread national hunt saboteur activity in the late 1980s and the 2004 Hunting Act, the Cottesmore continues to flourish, hunting within the law. Its country converges with that of its neighbours the Quorn and the Belvoir (Duke of Rutland’s Hounds) in the Leicestershire market town of Melton Mowbray which in its heyday was a magnet for foxhunters worldwide and now has the UK's only foxhunting museum.
* - this date is traditional but apocryphal; no documentary evidence for it has been found
** - from Cott's Moor
350 years and still going strong. For’ard on!