Until 2020 the National Trust allowed so-called “trail hunts” to use their land through a system of licences administered by a dedicated ‘trail hunting’ team. However following the outcome of the 2021 National Trust AGM vote on trail hunting these licences look set to be ended. National Trust members voted in favour of the resolution regarding trail hunting by  76,816 votes to 38,184.

This outcome follows what’s been one of the most damning months for hunting in recent memory. In early October Keep The Ban released the outcome of an undercover investigation which showed the Beaufort Hunt shooting dead their hounds (a hunt previously licensed by the National Trust). The following week the Director of the Masters of Fox Hounds Association Mark Hankinson was found guilty of encouraging/assisting others to break the 2004 Hunting Act. This trial had huge significance and provided proof of something we have all known for some time - that so-called “trail hunting” is nothing but a smokescreen for illegal fox hunting. Just to add to the misery of the hunting world one of the nations biggest landowners has now taken a further step towards banning all hunts on their land for good and Keep The Ban welcomes this decision.

Keep The Ban hopes that todays’ outcome will lead to other major landowners across the country to end the licensing of hunts on their land who continue to use “trail hunting” as a coverup for illegal fox hunting. We think everyone who voted and for helping to spread the word about todays landmark vote. Together we can and we will end fox hunting for good. Below is some background information about the extent of illegal activity involving hunts on National Trust land. 

A report from 2018-19 hunting season -


A report from 2018-19 hunting season, conducted by National Distrust highlighted that reckless and out of control hunts continue to wreak havoc across the countryside, terrorising and killing not only wildlife but domestic animals too. This same report, conducted of 44 randomly selected hunts ordinarily licenced by the National Trust, found that a third had convictions for assault upon monitors and that 70% of these hunts had members arrested for wildlife crime relating to activities carried out under so-called ‘trail hunts’.

The report is a damning reflection to the hunt groups and further fuel for the need to impose a permanent ban for trail hunting on National Trust land. 


Use of Terrier Men - Terrier men traditionally accompanied hunts and encouraged their dogs to find, fight and flush out foxes that had gone underground. Their mission was to either kill animals or drive them out from underground, so the hunt could continue with their chase and their 'sport'.

Artificial Earth - Artificial breeding dens are built to encourage foxes to remain in a desired hunting area.

Destruction of badger setts

Blocked badger and otter setts - Early in the morning or the night before, prior to a hunt meet, terrier men from the hunt will go out and block badger setts in the area where the hunt is planning to meet. This is to stop the quarry, namely a fox, from escaping the chase and hiding in a badger sett ruining their “fun”.

Assault on sabs and monitors – resulting in convictions.

Hunting in cattle fields where they cannot lay trails – further evidence that they are not trail hunting.

Invading private properties, attacking domestic animals - Again, more evidence that they are not following a trail but a live animal, in doing so, putting the public and domestic animals at risk.

Rob Pownall

Founder of Keep The Ban

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