PASSIONS ran high at the annual Tredegar Farmers' Boxing Day Hunt as hundreds of protesters and supporters clashed.

Bassaleg came to a standstill this morning, as more than 200 people gathered outside the Tredegar Arms pub, waving a mixture of anti and pro-hunt placards.

Police officers stood between both sides as they launched verbal blows at one another.

Cheers and jeers drowned out other sounds when the hunt kicked off at 11am. But the loud noises spooked one horse which then backed into a crowd of people.

Steve Deneen, who lives in Newport, was one of the protesters.

He said: "I find the whole thing absolutely sickening.

"It should not be allowed to happen in the 21st century.

"I am here with my wife, son and dog to show our opposition."

South Wales Argus:

Another Newport resident, Shay Holland, also aired similar views.

"Originally I am from Essex but now I am living in Marshfield," she said.

"I am totally against the hunt. I know this is a traditional hunt but everything it stands for is opposed by the majority of people in this country.

"It should not be allowed."

And teacher Ruth Griffiths, who lives in Bassaleg, added: "I have been coming here every year to show I am against the traditional hunt.

"It was shocking to see one of the huntsman lose control of a horse - it ended up going into a crowd of people - which was quite scary."

South Wales Argus:

The hunt was made up of riders of varying ages.

Attempts were made to get a comment from members of the hunt.

And a Boxing Day hunt also took place in Abergavenny, where crowds packed the roadside in front of the Angel Hotel in Abergavenny.

At least 300 people had turned out in force to watch the yearly spectacle.

Gathering on the road outside the hotel at the centre of the town, around 60 riders, some as young as two and all dressed to the nines, prepared for the days hunt.

 All were offered a complementary mince pie and glass of mulled wine by the staff at the Angel.

Gary Yeomans, who is the hunt master of Monmouthshire Hunt and a regular participant for the last 40 years, said: “I’ve been doing this for about 40 years.

 “We’re planning to ride a few miles out of the town and then we’ve got seven trails set up."

 All of a sudden, the call from the bugle went up and the hunt departed leaving only a few members remaining with brushes, shovels and buckets.