Melton Hunt Club
by: Decomplexity • 4
The market town of Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire, England, is the cradle of foxhunting. For nearly 350 years, the pastures of Leicestershire and the neighbouring counties have been home to the most famous names in hunting: the Belvoir, the Cottesmore, and the Quorn Hunts. The boundaries of these three Hunts converge on Melton, and the Hunts take it in turn to meet there at New Year.
The Melton Hunt Club was formed in 1955 to raise money for the improvement of the Leicestershire side of the Belvoir hunting country. Founder Lance Newton had a vision that the Club should help and encourage the young (and not so young) from other hunting countries throughout the UK to come and experience the thrill of hunting in Leicestershire. It was decided to invite the Quorn and Cottesmore Hunts to join the MHC, and it was stipulated that any money raised would be divided between the three Hunts to be spent on country improvements within a ten-mile radius of Melton and not deposited in general Hunt funds.
MHC maintains the permanent infrastructure and track of a racecourse at Garthorpe (five miles east of Melton Mowbray) on behalf of landowner Buckminster Estates, and the course is widely recognized as the finest point-to-point course in the UK. There are currently five race-days each year. The Belvoir, Cottesmore and Quorn are each invited to organise one race-day, and an adjacent ‘guest’ hunt, currently the Meynell and South Staffordshire, is also invited to do so. MHC itself also organizes its own race-day.
MHC also run an annual cross-country ‘ride’ – a keenly contested cross-country event over natural country, which under UK Jockey Club Rules has to be referred to as a ride (with prizes ‘in kind’) and not a race so as not to jeopardize the point to point races.