The Hunt on the Hill

I do not ask anyone to approve or disapprove of fox hunting. I guess I am basically a countryman and one who has kept poultry. My keeping of poultry was ended by foxes that ‘broke the rules’. Foxes at night were one thing, but when they came in the middle of the day I felt powerless. My poultry was carried away to feed a fox family.

Yet despite this I am not in favour of hunting. I can’t call the killing of animals sport. I can’t object to the killing of animals for food. I don’t think people should get pleasure from it.

But hunting used to take place and 60 years ago my dad caught (on camera) a bit of a hunt riding up the track just above our camp.

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I suspect that with just three riders – and the one on the grey horse looks too small for it – these were youngsters just exercising the hounds.

I’m going to compare this picture with another one – a painting by Eric Ravilious.

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I think, and so do other members of my family, that the track in this painting is the one the hunt is on in my dad’s photo. Eric has, of course, used some artistic freedom and perhaps exaggerated the height of the hills. We know there was a chalk pit alongside the track near the hill top. It doesn’t show in Dad’s photo. Of course, I absolutely love the painting which Ravilious just called ‘Chalk Paths’ with no location given.

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2 Responses to “The Hunt on the Hill”

  1. izzwizz Says:

    I can’t remember whether I’ve told you that my son and I are walking the South Downs Way… Not all in one go (120 miles!) but the odd section whenever we have a day free. About a month ago we walked from Southease to Exceat which took us past Firle and I thought of you and took a couple of pictures. One of the dominant colours is of the rapeseed flowers… Not at all what Ravilious would have seen when he was drawing and painting these scenes…

    • locksands Says:

      What a lovely walk that is. I hope to be in the area again this summer to visit a Peggy Angus exhibition in Eastbourne.

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