Brides beware – Some country wedding venues support fox hunting

There’s an ugly secret behind the UK’s rural wedding venues. While they look picture-perfect, too many country wedding venues support fox hunting. When you get married at one of them you help fuel the crimewave.

This article reveals all, gives some examples, and recommends ways to avoid rural wedding venues with hunt connections. Welcome to our wildlife-aware bride’s guide to country weddings.

Too many country wedding venues support fox hunting

It has been illegal since 2005 but the UK’s hundreds of fox hunts still kill foxes and their cubs. Between them the nation’s hunters and the landowners whose property it happens on have decimated the rural fox population, doing their bit to fuel a catastrophic loss in natural diversity.

You might be surprised how many country wedding venues host fox hunts and other hunt events. Sadly you won’t find the information on wedding venue websites or social media. They don’t want brides and grooms to know what happens once the guests are gone and the big day is over.

The owners know that slaughtering wildlife isn’t a good look. The optics are a business-killer, putting most people off. Once the secret escapes they’ll be left to fight each other for a tiny slice of the market, competing for a shrinking audience of couples who still think it’s ok to kill animals for fun.

Examples of hunt friendly country wedding venues

Castle Hill in Devon, a beautiful wedding venue, is described by Tatler as one of the best places to go shooting in the UK. Their website doesn’t talk about the shooting, or the fox hunt meets local people say are hosted there. You wouldn’t think Lewtrenchard Manor, a luxury hotel, restaurant and wedding venue at Lewdown near Okehampton in Devon, has anything to hide either. Dig deeper and unless the rumours were wrong, they hosted the 2023 Opening Meet for the Lamerton Hunt on Saturday 4th November.

Last year at the Lamerton Hunt’s opening meet people’s pets were terrified by the hounds. No wonder locals are furious that the venue is hosting the meet this year. It isn’t the first time they’ve been in trouble – have a look at this court case and see what you think about the video evidence. And here they are, caught on camera killing a fox. Bearing the owner’s close relationship with the Lamerton Hunt in mind the venue’s Sustainability Statement is ironic, verging on greenwashing. While everything else they mention is admirably sustainable, climate-friendly, environmentally aware, conservation-led and legal, fox hunting is not.

Then there’s the Cottesmore Hunt. They held their 2022 Opening Meet at the Ladywood Estate in Leicestershire, another lovely-looking rural wedding venue. You can see shocking footage here of a female saboteur, who was there to prevent crime, being hit by a speeding vehicle driven by the Ladywood Estate’s owner, a known hunt supporter and hunt host. This is not exactly what most couples would call romantic, and there’s no mention of fox hunting on the estate’s website.

The Cottesmore Hunt has a shocking reputation, as you can see on this hunt saboteurs Facebook page. A man called Mark Poskitt has been recently photographed riding with them. He was caught stuffing the remains of a fox cub killed by the hunt into a bin bag, trying to hide the crime. He is also convicted stalker who terrified three women so badly he was given a two year restraining order.

These are not isolated incidents. In Dorset, getting married at Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens leaves you in the famously fox hunt-friendly hands of the ‘Right Honourable’ Charlotte Townshend. A keen supporter of field sports, she has lifelong connections with the Beaufort Hunt, another hunt that’s had legal action taken against it.  In 1999 Townshend scuppered plans for a new nature reserve. Apparently she ‘would not enter into the agreement because of the Government’s plans to ban hunting’. 

These people live in every county. Without exception they’d rather you didn’t know about the wildlife crimes committed by their savage fox hunting friends.

How do you know if a country wedding venue secretly supports hunting?

As a wildlife-loving bride and groom, you deserve to know what you’re spending your money on. You have to ask, and by asking you’ll play a valued part in ending the slaughter. The more happy couples get wedding venues to admit their dodgy hunting credentials, the sooner the owners will realise they can’t afford to be involved in hunting. As a green-minded couple wanting a wildlife-friendly wedding venue, here’s how to stay away from the bad apples.

  • Contact the venue direct to ask two questions: One, does the wedding venue host fox hunt or deer hunt meets, or hold events to sponsor a hunt? Two, do the owners of the venue either hunt or support hunting?
  • Ask the nearest Hunt Saboteurs group for insight into local people and businesses involved in hunting
  • Search Google for ‘fox hunting at (venue name)’ and ‘deer hunting at (venue name)’
  • Check the local Hunt Saboteurs group Facebook page to see if they mention the venue or its owners
  • Check Bailey’s Online Hunting Venue Directory – we don’t want to give them a backlink, so please search Google
  • Check the Horse and Hound magazine and Tatler websites – again, we don’t want to link to them
  • Ask in local pubs, cafes and shops
  • Check Google to see if the venue appears on a list of hunt sponsors or a list of sponsors/donors for a hunt event
  • If the Pony Club holds an event there, it’s a hunt supporting wedding venue by default. The Pony Club UK still feeds young riders into hunting