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Hunting Country

This map shows the boundaries of the Cottesmore country at a hedgerow level of detail. The Cottesmore's eastern boundary is unclear. Notionally, its country extends to the east coast around The Wash, but the Cottesmore/Belvoir boundary beyond Pinchbeck and the Cottesmore/Fitzwilliam boundary beyond Crowland are ill-defined. Lincolnshire's South Forty-foot Drain and River Glen are, for practical reasons, the usual eastern boundary although the Cottesmore does meet further east during Autumn hound exercise. The eastern Cottesmore boundary is thus shown on the map as a straight line connecting the eastmost 'definitive' boundary points.

How to use this map

The boundary of the Cottesmore Hunt country is drawn in cream/orange and markers highlight points of interest. The boundary is the traditional one taken largely from maps kindly loaned by the late Mrs Ann Reid-Scott. The country currently hunted has changed in places due mainly to road-building and to diversions and canalisation of the River Welland and the Eye Brook. These changes are summarised below.

The map can be zoomed in and out by clicking on the '+' (zoom in) and '—' (zoom out) buttons or using the scroll-wheel on a mouse. The map can be panned up, down, left and right by dragging the map.

Clicking your mouse on one of the markers will cause a 'balloon' to open with more details. Some markers just display a name, and for these markers moving your mouse off the marker will close the balloon window. Other markers display a photo and an extended text description; these balloon windows remain displayed even when your mouse moves off the marker (this is to allow you to use the mini scroll bar which appears in some balloon windows), and for these markers you should click the 'X' in the top right-hand corner of the balloon window to close it.
To avoid clutter on the map where, in places, markers would otherwise jostle to be visible, some markers are not displayed until the map has been zoomed in sufficiently.
The meaning of each marker symbol is:

Kennels, Ashwell Coverts the hunt owns Neutral (shared) coverts
(Allexton Wood is also part-owned)
Meet venues Meet or second-horse venues (the ones you might have trouble finding!)...
just click on a venue in the list below: the venue's marker will appear in the centre of the map and a balloon will open which points to the marker

Lastly, please be patient as the map loads — there is a great deal going on behind the scenes to provide you with a unique way to explore the Cottesmore country

Changes to the hunted country

East of Melton Mowbray, the boundary between the Cottesmore and Belvoir countries follows the River Eye. But in Melton itself, things get more complex as the boundaries of the Belvoir, Cottesmore and Quorn notionally meet in the Market Place. Coming from the Stapleford direction, the River Eye enters the town alongside the railway, meets the Scalford Brook as it passes the Mars (formerly Pedigree Petfoods) plant, and follows the railway under the bridge that carries the A606 Melton-to-Oakham road. For the three 'countries' to meet in the Market Place, the Belvoir / Cottesmore boundary would have to follow Sherrard Street as far as Thorpe End (under which Scalford Brook is now culverted), and then Scalford Brook until it meets the River Eye. But no documentary evidence for this has been found. An alternative and commonly depicted boundary (and the one shown here) tracks the River Eye to the point where it runs under the Melton - Oakham railway bridge and stops there.
To make things more complex, the now-vanished Melton-to-Oakham canal (1795 — 1847) also closely followed the course of the River Eye to a now-filled-in canal basin sited where the railway bridge was later built, so it is difficult to have the last word on exactly where the boundary originally lay. These boundaries are of academic interest within the centre of Melton as the hunts meet on neutral ground (formerly the Market Place and now Play Close) at the invitation of the Town Estate (which, in passing, pre-dates all three hunts...).
Several purportedly definitive boundary maps have been produced over the past hundred years or so which, more often than not, are surprisingly different. They differ typically in the boundary depicted for (clockwise from Melton Mowbray) Melton itself, Stapleford Park, Buckminster Lodge to Colsterworth, Irnham, Harringworth to Duddington (the boundary has sometimes been shown as running south of the Welland through Wakerley Wood), and Little Dalby Lakes to Melton. Some maps show the boundary as running from Dalby Lakes, skirting east of Gartree Hill, then running north west or west to meet the track which turns into Sandy Lane, and thence to Melton; this boundary is the one currently accepted by the Quorn. And historically, a large and roughly triangular tract of land from Palace Hill (between Houghton-on-the-Hill and Billesdon) to just short of Whissendine and thence down to to the bottom of Wardley Wood was loaned by the Cottesmore to WW Tailby (a predecessor of CWB Fernie) from 1856 to 1871.
The list of coverts which were at one time neutral (shared) has changed markedly over the past 150 years. The known changes are mainly on the Cottesmore/Belvoir boundary — unsurprisingly since this boundary extends from Melton Mowbray to the Wash. In 1822, it was agreed between the Cottesmore and Belvoir that Stoke Park Wood, Kirkby Wood and Aslackby Wood would be Belvoir coverts. However, when in 1842 William 1st Earl of Lonsdale (MFH Cottesmore 1788-1802 and 1806-1842) finally retired from the mastership, the boundaries were restated as follows (inter alia): "The road that runs between Easton and Witham Woods to Irnham Village divides the country", and that the following were neutral: "Burton Woods, Easton Wood and Pasture, Bitchfield, Osgaby Coppice, Irnham Old Park Wood (perhaps Irnham 'Far' Old Park Wood did not exist then as a separate wood), Stoke Park Wood, Butley (?? - Bulby?) Hall, Kaisby, Kirkby, Aslackby and Dunsby Wood". But by the 1890s, most of these neutral coverts were, with the exception of Irnham Old Park Wood and Dunsby Wood, solidly within Belvoir country.
However, in the 1950s, a piece of land north of Haconby Drove that goes up as far as Ingoldsby and Aslackby was regularly loaned to the CH by the BH. This piece included the currently neutral woods of Dunsby Wood, Bulby Wood, and Irnham Old Park and Far Old Park Woods, but also the more substantial Temple Wood (which isn’t neutral). In the 1980s onwards, a part of this land - whose northern edge is delineated in red on the map - has been hunted by the CH; this part is a section from Irnham to Hawthorpe, then south towards Bulby, and then eastwards along Callans Lane to Kirkby Underwood, then along the Rippingdale Road to Rippingdale.