Saturday at the Sprakes’

Saturday, and we find ourselves at Milborne Wick. The village is only a mile or two from where the B&SV hounds are kennelled, so the hunt staff trot their timeless entourage up through the lanes as the dark gently seeps from surrounding fields and coverts.

At Sprake’s the farmyard exceeds every expectation of the perfect rural scene. Countless tea-trays, biscuit tins and birthday cards have imitated its charm . Roses wander the soft walls and chickens compete for top roost on farm machinery of every generation. Ever loyal, an old grey ferguson tractor noses from one stable. A tacked up and turned out hunter observes us from the next.

Climbing up the southerly wall of the farmhouse is an ancient espalier pear. Nearly reaching the apex of the roof, Mr. Sprake senior tells me it has been there all his life but yields few fruit this year.

It is a bad year for fruit generally. We will have to look hard for the sloes to make the gin to fill our flasks this winter. Apples and plums too are spare after late frosts last spring. Only the hawthorn is really happy. Maybe we need to find a recipe for turning the dense clumps of little red berries into something tasty – or quaffable!

The maize doesn’t look bad on Sprakes’ hilly ground. A number of large fields bear decent cobs and certainly provide the main event for our morning’s hunting. The hilly, rolling country means provides a grand stand to watch the hounds work. This is always a nice place to come.


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Please note, throughout our website we use the term fox hunting to mean all of the activities carried out by our participating hunts operating within the constraints of the Hunting Act 2004.