IT might have been too cold and slippery under foot for horses but hounds kept children and adults entertained at a traditional hunt meeting.

A brass band playing carols got about 100 people in the festive spirit on Christmas Eve while warming mulled wine was supped in the streets of Upton as Santa spread some cheer.

As more hunts gather across the county and the rest of the country today, Croome and West Warwick-shire’s event has been hailed a success.

Anna Millington, honorary secretary, said: “It was really good. Although it’s not the same without the horses I think it went very well.”

At 11am on Friday, between 50 and 60 hunting people gathered outside the King’s Head, Riverside, where the band was playing.

Their presence was matched by groups of children, parents and older people all wrapped up in a bid to combat the wintry weather. The hounds, of which there were about 26, were in a particularly playful mood and children as young as three stroked them before the group, led by the masters dressed in traditional attire, set off before noon.

Miss Millington said: “It wasn’t as good a turnout as previous years. We had a lot of calls from the tourist board asking if we were still coming and I think a lot of people were very dubious about whether we were going or not but we went out on foot.”

She said there weren’t any anti-hunting protesters and thought the event had gone down well with those who attended.

“Everyone had a good morning and went to the pub afterwards to warm up,” she said.