Trail Hunting frequently asked questions

Trail Hunting statement - 31 May 2022

A spokesperson for the Lake District National Park Authority said:

"The Lake District National Park Authority has confirmed its intention to suspend trail hunting licences indefinitely for activity on land owned by the LDNPA. Officers made the decision and at a briefing members expressed support for their decision. This continues the suspension which has been in place since November 2020.

We will continue to liaise with fell packs, landowners and other stakeholders, including Cumbria Police."

If you have a question about trail hunting on land owned by the National Park Authority, you may find the answer below.

Trail hunting incident report form - to report a trail hunting incident on Lake District National Park Authority owned land - for any questions about trail hunting not answered below.

Please note: following the recent high level of interest in this subject, we may be unable to respond to emails sent directly to members of staff.

Do you allow fox hunting on your land?

No. Fox hunting is illegal and the National Park is no exception.

Hunting was banned in England and Wales by the Hunting Act of 2004. This law does allow what is known as trail hunting to continue. This activity involves people on foot or horseback following a scent along a pre-determined route with hounds or beagles. It effectively replicates a traditional hunt but without a fox being chased, injured or killed. Prior to November 2020, we licensed trail hunting in some areas and at certain times of the year as it allowed us to monitor activity on our land (less than 4 per cent of the National Park) in a legally compliant way.

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What is trail hunting?

There are approximately twelve fell packs operating with the permission of landowners in various parts of Cumbria. Prior to 2004, these fell packs were generally engaged in fox hunting, but since the Hunting Act 2004, which bans the hunting of foxes, their activity is restricted to the exercising of hounds, trail-following or drag hunting.

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How do you manage this activity?

Prior to November 2020, we issued licences for activities taking place on common land owned by the Lake District National Park Authority. This is a blank trail hunting licence for the 2020-2021 season.

The Lake District National Park Authority (LDNPA) does not have any overall power or responsibility to manage this activity on land owned by others in the National Park.

Several fell packs have traditionally used areas of Common Land that is now owned by the LDNPA (amounting to less than 4 per cent of land in the National Park).

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How are ceremonial meets on Boxing Day and New Year’s Day licensed?

Licensing for trail hunting on National Park Authority land is suspended. Where the fell packs meet in a public place this will be a matter for the local town or parish councils or for those private individual landowners concerned.

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Are you aware of reports of unlicensed trail hunting on National Park land and what are you doing about it?

We take any reports of unlicensed trail hunting on our land very seriously and we seek urgent clarification from the relevant groups. The majority of groups are responsible and recognise the importance of working with us.

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If you have a question about trail hunting on Lake District National Park Authority land, please email:

Page last updated on 31 May 2022