The Beaufort Hunt
Coincide your visit to The Horse Guards with this Cotswold tradition. It truly is a spectacular sight and a very special atmosphere.
With their home on the Badminton House estate, ancestral home of the Dukes of Beaufort, the Beaufort Hunt can trace its roots back to at least 1640. Then the Marquis of Worcester hunted mainly deer. However, although a detailed history of the hunt stretches back to 1728, it was not until 1762 that the 5th Duke of Beaufort, put his hounds onto Silk Wood, now part of the Westonbirt Arboretum, and the ensuing chase of a fox led him to concentrate on fox hunting thereafter.
The Dukes of Beaufort have been heavily involved in hunting ever since with the hounds, kennels and stables still belonging to the estate; making the Beaufort Hunt one of the few remaining private packs in the country.
The Beaufort also stands out with regard to its dress. The Huntsman and Whippers-In wear green and the subscribers a blue coat with buff facings - the Beaufort livery. The countryside of South Gloucestershire and North Wiltshire is home to the Beaufort including the land around Brokenborough. The Horse Guards now provides a regular venue for the Beaufort Hunt to meet.
No mention of a hunt is complete with a reference to its hounds and the Beaufort Hunt hounds are world famous. Hounds have been kennelled at Badminton since 1640 with pedigree records dating from the mid C18. The furthest back an individual hound can be traced is 54 generations to 1743. This makes the foxhound one of the most chronicled animals in the world today. All the puppies bred at Badminton are put out to walk on farms at 6-8 weeks with some families having puppy walked for 3 or 4 generations. Living with a family during their formative years enhances their inherent friendliness; amply demonstrated by their popularity with children at shows or kennel visits.
However friendly; unsurprisingly foxhounds are bred for the sole purpose of hunting foxes, with an emphasis on nose, stamina, and character. The Beaufort Hunt hounds are also famous for their conformation, in particular their size and quality. Record prize winners at all major hound shows, their blood lines are in demand all over the world. Their consistent size and quality owes much to the fact that they have been bred by one family since their inception and to the selective breeding programme carried out by the 10th Duke for sixty years.
"The Beaufort Hunt continues to flourish despite present day difficulties and to present one of the iconic images of the English countryside and its traditions."
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