We set off with our children for a three-quarter mile stroll down an unmetalled track to a remembered peaceful picnic spot by the river Barle. The first sign that all was not as it should be was a group of three motorbikes that repeatedly cast around and up and down the hillside. Then, an increasing roar signalled the progress along the track of 10 four-wheel-drives. We hugged the hedge while they passed, then plodded on. Half a mile further, having completed their circuit, they streamed past again. We reached the river and sat down. Vroom - this time three quad bikes raced past adjacent the riverbank footpath, pausing only to ask if we had seen the hunt.
Deciding that this was not the place to be, we packed up ready to walk back up the hill. Briefly, we were passed by the huntsmen and hounds themselves. As we cajoled the children back up the track we were again ousted by the motorised entourage.
The track, which years ago had been an easy walk used by pedestrians, horses and sheep, was now rutted and churned up.
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