HUNDREDS of people turned out in Chipping Norton to see the Heythrop Hunt off for its traditional Boxing Day meet for another year.

Horseriders and hounds left Market Place in the town at about 11am, watched by people who crammed along High Street, Market Place and West Street.

The event was held for the 192nd year, but riders can only follow a scent trail laid out before the hunt sets out as a result of the Hunting Act, which was introduced in 2004.

Suzie Foxton, from Long Compton, said she has attended the Boxing Day meet for the past five years with her partner Andrew Badham and her daughter Georgina.

“We just come to see the spectacle. We try to come every year,” she said.

She added: “It’s just a nice British tradition.”

The event has been criticised by animal rights campaigners in the past and just before the hunt set off, one protester shouted: “Keep the ban!”

Her shouts were drowned out by people telling her to ‘shut up’.

Traditions which have been kept at the event include the riders being given port by The Fox pub, on Market Place, before setting off on the scent trail.

The Heythrop Hunt has hunted four days a week since 1835 during the hunting season.

Former riders include former Prime Minister and Witney MP David Cameron, who rode with it six times.

The area covered by the hunt takes in large parts of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire.

Emma Smith, from Banbury, visited the hunt for the first time.

She said: “It was enjoyable and really nice to see the horses walk around the town. I’ll definitely be coming again next year.”