A HUNT had its first meet of the season and reported a bigger than expected turnout.

Hurworth Hunt attracted about 80 people on horseback for a trail through the countryside around Welbury, in Hambleton, North Yorkshire.

Many more turned out to watch the event, which took place on Saturday.

Joint hunt master Ken Fox said: “It was a splendid day. Everybody enjoyed following the trail.”

About 32 hounds followed the fox scent trail towards Appleton Wiske.

Mr Fox said: “It was good to get the hounds doing some sort of work until the repeal of the hunting ban is considered, although that could be some time.”

Mr Fox said the boost in hunt numbers could have been helped by the reopening of the Duke of Wellington pub, in Welbury, where they stopped for refreshments. The pub had been turned into a restaurant under a different name, but following a spell closed has now reverted to its former name.

Mr Fox said: “We have met there for at least 60 years. We were made to feel very welcome.”