THERE was disappointment for hunting supporters on Monday when riders and their horses were unable to gather in the town centres of Chard, Crewkerne and Ilminster because of safety fears.

Hunt organisers decided that the roads were too slippery for the horses, due to the recent adverse weather conditions, and so the annual colourful spectacle of red-tunic riders on horseback was postponed for this year.

But large crowds gathered in the town centres for the Cotley Hunt in Chard, the Seavington Hunt in Crewkerne and the Taunton Vale Hunt in Ilminster and there were cheers as the hunt staff raced off with some of the hounds.

There was a small and peaceful protest staged by anti-hunt campaigners in Fore Street, Chard, as the hounds of the Cotley Hunt prepared to move off.

The Boxing Day hunts were moved to Monday because, by tradition, no hunts take place on a Sunday.