The historic Bicester Hunt with Whaddon Chase attracted a record number of spectators at its traditional Boxing Day meet today.

Almost 3,000 people turned out to watch the 104 riders in their traditional hunting outfits at Winslow Hall, just across the Oxfordshire border in Buckinghamshire.

Hunt master Christopher Hodgson said: “It was the most lovely day.

“We met at Winslow and took the hounds towards Botolph Claydon.

“There was a huge amount of people there supporting us and wishing us well and there was absolutely no trouble.”

The Bicester Hunt has been hunting since 1800.

In 1986 it joined with the Whaddon Chase, and when the ban on hunting with dogs came into force in 2005, they formed a Hound Club to continue hunting under the new legislation.

Instead of hunting foxes to kill, as previously happened, new laws mean the hunt lay artificial trails for the hounds to follow instead.

Hunt secretary Robert Vallance<<corr>> said: “We are extremely grateful to the Tomkins family and to Shirley and Michael Brazier for their generous hospitality and use of the field.

“We would also like to thank all the farmers and landowners who so kindly permit us to cross their land, and all the many, many other people who, through their help and expertise, together work to make every element of this day possible.”