HUNTING returned to the New Forest as more than 70 riders celebrated the start of the new season.

Members of the New Forest Hounds and their supporters gathered outside the Royal Oak pub in Fritham before moving off in the direction of Stoney Cross.

The New Forest Hounds’ senior joint master, Paul Ames, made only a passing reference to the ban.

Speaking a few moments before the riders moved off, he said: “It’s a proud day for the New Forest Hounds to be hunting once again in this most wonderful part of the country.

“We will be hunting within the law and have already started to lay trails.”