THE Malvern Hills Trust recently banned trail hunting on its land after a number of breaches of bylaws by hunting groups.

The Trust took the decision after the Ledbury Hunt and Croome and West Warwickshire Hunt were both caught breaking rules on the hills.

READ MORE: Trail hunting banned as hunt groups cause chaos 

Little evidence of 'trail hunting'

The first main reason was that the trust believed there was "little evidence" of actual trail hunting taking place.

Trail hunting is supposed to involve laying a scent for hounds to chase, but on 10 occasions in which the trust observed these groups, it said it only saw evidence of a trail being laid once.

Papers from the November 11 meeting of the trust say: "The laying of a trail is a critical part in ensuring that the event is a trail hunt and nothing else.

"During the monitoring of 10 hunt events, evidence was observed on only one occasion immediately prior or during the event."

On this one occasion, staff were said to have seen a rider dragging a sock on a stick along the ground for "a couple of minutes".

The trust report goes on to state that this was done behind the progress and route of the hounds, which were travelling at speed in the other direction.

It adds that the hunt was not reported returning to that location later in the day, the implication being they hadn't been laying a separate trail for later.

'Out of control' hounds

Other infringements noted by the trust included allowing hounds to loiter in cover, where trails are not allowed to be laid, and hounds being seen "out of control".

The report said: "This includes an event where hounds were observed to be running loose and uncontrolled in MHT woodland for around 20 minutes and 10 hounds observed uncontrolled on the ridgeline of Hangman's Hill for around 15 minutes.

"This area was explicitly excluded in the permissions by MHT for the subsequent event.

"This instruction was ignored and hounds and hunt staff were seen in this area during the second event (one month later)."

Quadbikes on hills

The trust also said riders were seen using quadbikes on its land on four occasions.

This includes one occasion where staff spoke to the driver, who was parked on Castlemorton Common, requesting he leave.

45 minutes later the bike left the nearby road again and travelled across the common.

At the meeting, the trust's board decided to indefinitely suspend trail hunting on its land.

We have approached the Ledbury Hunt and Croome and West Warwickshire Hunt for comment.