THE traditional New Year’s Day meeting of the Derwent Hunt was held yesterday.

Riders turned out in force to meet for the Derwent Hunt which went across the Ryedale countryside from outside The Hall in Thornton-le-Dale.

Speaking to The Press previously, master of the Hunt Sean McClarron has defended the tradition of hunting.

While fox hunting is now banned, he said: “It was never about killing for fun, it was a balanced method of wildlife management.

“I can appreciate it is difficult for anybody without any first-hand experience of hunting to understand what we do and why, but we welcome them to see it for themselves.”

Mr McClarron said those involved in the Derwent Hunt had “a true passion for hound and horse, the countryside and the local rural community”.

The pack was founded in 1808 by Richard Johnson Hill, who kennelled the hounds at The Hall. It was then his home but later became a pub and hotel as well as a care home, leading the hunt to make it their traditional meeting-point.