Oxfordshire's hunts will be out in force for their traditional Boxing Day meets this year - and are predicting more public support than ever before.

Almost two years after the ban, huntmasters across the county are determined their annual Boxing Day meets will still go ahead within the law.

And they said the ban had only helped increase their support.

Thousands of people are expected to turn out for Bicester and Whaddon Chase Hound Club's annual event in Winslow on Boxing Day.

The hound club, formerly known as Bicester Hunt with Whaddon Chase, has its kennels in Stratton Audley, near Bicester.

Secretary Robert Vallance said: "We will meet for hound exercising and line hunting in the field opposite Winslow Hall at 11am. Everybody is welcome.

"The whole event is very much a traditional affair. People have always traditionally come to a meet of hounds on Boxing Day, wherever it may be.

"We always get a very large crowd, well over 1,000 people turn up to support us - our support is increasing all the time.

"The hunting community and the Countryside Alliance are committed to the repeal of the Hunting Act.

"The support that we have been getting since the ban has been incredible. We have really been delighted by the number of people that are still coming out and supporting us."

The Vale of Aylesbury with Garth and South Berks Hunt, which covers parts of Oxfordshire, is meeting at Cholsebury Common, near Wendover, at 11.30am on Boxing Day.

Secretary Mike Murray said: "We are carrying on under the new regulations. Our support seems to have increased. We usually have hundreds and hundreds of foot followers and last time 80 to 100 mounted part- icipants."

Richard Sumner, joint master of the Heythrop Hunt, said they would be meeting outside The Fox Hotel in Chipping Norton at 10.45am on Boxing Day.

He said their support was also increasing, and added he expected it to be the hunt's best turn out yet.

He said: "Thousands usually turn out. Everyone is welcome."