MORE than 100 spectators braved the wind and rain to watch the start of the traditional Boxing Day hunt in the New Forest.

The New Forest Hounds (NFH) set off from a huge area of grassland near Bolton’s Bench, a landmark hill on the edge of Lyndhurst.

Hunting with dogs was outlawed by the last Labour government 15 years ago.

Since then the NFH and other packs have switched to trail hunting, which involves hounds chasing an artificial scent laid by hunt supporters.

One of the organisers of the hunt, Jas Barker, said: "Today was very wet and considering the weather we had it was okay.

"We usually get around 500 people attending the Boxing Day hunt, but this year it was less.

"There was also the Point to Point event, which did not help with the turnout as it happens on the same day.

"I should think half of the people went to Point to Point, which is a race across the New Forest, and the other half came to the hunt."

The Boxing Day hunt saw members assemble at 10.45am before moving off at 11am.

The hunt was due to finish at "3.33pm", according to Ms Barker.