National Trust trustees to meet to discuss trail hunting ban

An outright hunting ban on National Trust land is on the agenda on Wednesday at a meeting of the organisation's trustees.

Last month, National Trust members delivered a crushing blow to the field sport when they voted by two to one to ban “trail hunting, exempt hunting and hound exercise on National Trust land”. Although the members are overwhelmingly in favour, their opinion is only advisory with the ultimate decision resting with the trustees. 

Trail hunting was suspended on National Trust land after a training video was leaked showing leading huntsman Mark Hankinson telling his sport how to break the law and use trail hunting as a “smokescreen” for illegal fox hunting. He was convicted of encouraging people to break the Hunting Act.

In theory, that could pave the way for the trustees to ratify the members' vote but it is possible they may find another option that permits hunts to continue to use their land. 

Last week, another large landowner, Natural Resources Wales, banned trail hunting and if the National Trust follow suit it may lead many more to take the same action. 

Whatever the trustees decide it is likely to cause division amongst the members. There is no easy answer.