28 March 2022
The Festival of Hunting returns as one of the highlights of the countryside events diary this summer, on Wednesday 20th July 2022.
Last year, 25 packs of hounds and over 5,000 spectators were in attendance for this countryside spectacle, and the East of England Agricultural Society, organisers of The Festival of Hunting, along with the Chairman and committee of The Peterborough Royal Foxhound Show Society, hope to build on the success of last year’s Festival as it returns to the East of England Showground, Peterborough, supported by the Countryside Alliance.
Host to the prestigious 134th Peterborough Royal Foxhound Show, the Festival welcomes Foxhound packs from across the country to this distinguished competition, which also hosts classes for Beagles, Harriers, Basset Hounds, Draghounds and Bloodhounds. With such a range of hounds competing and on display, the Festival of Hunting is one of the largest shows of working scent hounds anywhere in the world. The top rosettes went to the Vale of the White Horse (VWH) and Heythrop Hunts in 2021, and they will return to contest their titles this year.
Whilst primarily a foxhound show, the Festival of Hunting offers something for everyone in the wider hunting community. The popular Young Handler Class returns for a third year, giving the next generation an opportunity to demonstrate their skills at hound showing. Last year’s winner, Thomas Hopkins, was recently awarded a place with the Hunt Bursary Scheme at the Thurlow Hunt, whilst he followed his win in the first instance with an agricultural course at Brooksby College, Melton.
The Inter-Hunt Relay is a fast-paced competition on the day, with over 60 Junior and Senior teams hotly contesting the ‘knock-out’ style tournament to find out the quickest and most skilful team of four riders over a course of obstacles; a great sight to watch!
Spectators are well-served too, with this year’s ‘Local Larder’ food and drinks suppliers promising a range of opportunities to enjoy catching up with friends and acquaintances from across the hunting community. There is also a range of retail trade stands, with everything from high-quality hunting apparel to country clothing, art and gifts.
The Hunt Picnic competition returns for another year, with Country Life Chief Subeditor, Octavia Pollock, and local food writer, Jenny Jefferies, lined up to judge the hotly contested lunchtime event.
Alison Queenborough, Secretary of The Peterborough Royal Foxhound Show Society, said: “We are thrilled to welcome competitors and spectators to the 134th Peterborough Royal Foxhound Show and the Festival of Hunting again this summer; it was an absolute joy to see this event back at the East of England Showground last year and for it to be so well supported by the rural community with over 5,000 spectators and 25 packs of hounds.”
“We can also announce the 2022 Peterborough Royal Foxhound Show judges are H.J.M. Berkeley Esq., M.F.H. and H.G.B. Bailey Esq., M.F.H. judging the Dog Hounds, whilst A.P.A. Waugh Esq., M.F.H. and G.L. Landau Esq., M.F.H. will judge the Bitch Hounds. The Old English Hounds will be judged by C.R. Clark Esq and J. Reed Esq.”
“The schedule of classes was as well attended as ever in 2021, and we hope to build on that in 2022 as well as grow the offering of shopping, food and drink for our spectators. Our ‘Local Larder’ will really focus on those small rural businesses and we hope will be well-supported by those attending.”
Admission to the Festival of Hunting will be by prior online ticket sales only with tickets available from mid-April at www.festivalofhunting.com.
All photos credit Sarah Farnsworth Photography.
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The Peterborough Royal Foxhound Show Society was founded in 1878 under the Chairmanship of the Marquis of Huntly. The first show was held under the patronage of HRH The Prince of Wales KG and the first President was the then Earl Fitzwilliam. The importance of the Show was recognised in 1934 when HM King George V gave permission for the name of the Society to become the Peterborough Royal Foxhound Show Society.
By tradition, its achievements, and by the continuing excellence of its standards, The Peterborough Royal Foxhound Show is the major event in its field in the world. 2022 will celebrate the 134th Peterborough Royal Foxhound Show and there is no doubt that Peterborough continues to serve this great sport as a unique annual focus for all that is best in foxhound breeding.
The Festival of Hunting has grown around the Foxhound Show and incorporates The Association of Masters of Harriers and Beagles, The Masters of Bloodhounds and Draghounds Association, The Masters of Basset Hounds Association, Fellhounds, Gazehounds and an Equine section hosting the Inter Hunt relay.