Hunt 'ruined ride along Tarka Trail'

SIR - Every year we spend the February half-term in North Devon . It is an area that we really enjoy even out of season there is always lots to do. This year was no exception. However, on Wednesday, February 18 we hired four bikes from Torrington and

SIR - Every year we spend the February half-term in North Devon . It is an area that we really enjoy - even out of season there is always lots to do. This year was no exception. However, on Wednesday, February 18 we hired four bikes from Torrington and set off on what started out as a very pleasant bike ride along the Tarka Trail. It was a beautiful bright and crisp sunny day.After a few miles my young daughter began to tire, so she and I were lagging behind my husband and son. Suddenly, without warning in the field to our left, we could hear the bone chilling sound of the huntsmen's bugle accompanied by the frantic enthusiastic yapping of hounds. What was that? asked my daughter. Without being overly descriptive I was forced to answer my daughter's questions and concerns. A little further on a couple of horses and a number of dogs crossed the trail from one side to the other. Also a quad bike associated with the hunt was going back and forth along the Tarka Trail. At this point I saw a fox just to the side of the trail and for one terrifying moment I had visions of being caught in the middle of the chase.Having caught up with my husband and son, my husband had spoken to the quad bike driver who stated they were hunting a deer that my husband saw on the far side of the field. My son was also followed along the trail by two riders and a number of dogs as they crossed from one side to the other, a rather frightening experience.I feel the Tarka Trail must be one of North Devon's most valuable assets and should be protected not only for us grockels to enjoy, but also for the locals. Those people who take pleasure in chasing a defenceless deer for miles until it falls to its knees should appreciate that not everyone is of like mind and should have a greater respect and consideration for others. My son and daughter were extremely upset by what they learnt and in part witnessed. Our afternoon was anything but "the quiet exploration of the North Devon countryside" and we would rather have not seen any animals than the ones we saw at such close proximity - some running for their lives, while others were baying for their blood.Alexis LockhartFlackwell HeathBucks


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