ONE thousand spectactors gathered in Abergavenny town centre for the annual Monmouthshire Hunt yesterday.

Riders and their hounds made their way to Cross Street, which was closed to traffic, where they were met by the event’s host William Griffiths of The Angel Hotel.

The hunt, organised by the Abergavenny Hunt Committee, has been taking place since the 1700s.

Rider and joint master, Liz Egerton, 45, who has been attending the event since she was three, said that the number of riders were lower than in previous years because of the weather.

"We have been meeting here for the past 50 years and it is a part of my life as my family have always hunted," said Mrs Egerton, of Pandy.

"My son Phillip, 13, is taking part in the event this year but due to the bad weather we have fewer riders and will not be going out on the horses because it’s too slippery," she added.

Spectator Ceri Pugh, 49, brought her two grandchildren to see the horses.

"I come to watch every year. It’s a tradition and lovely for my grandchildren to see the horses and hounds," said Mrs Pugh, of Hillcrest Road, Abergavenny.

Malcolm Ewers,59, of Llwynu Lane, Abergavenny said the event was well supported and is a firm part of the town and its traditions.

"I’ve been coming since I was little," said Mr Ewers.

Elsewhere in Gwent, the icy weather kept the horses safely wrapped up in their stables, but it did not stop hundreds turning out to show their support for an annual Gwent hunt yesterday.

A crowd of around 300 people gathered in Bassaleg to welcome the hounds from the Tredegar Farmers' Hunt, but the weather was deemed too dangerous for them to go much further.

Huntsman David Harris held the meeting in the Tredegar Arms car park, giving local children a chance to see the 23 hounds up close.

He said they abandoned plans for the horses to join the hunt, as the side roads and fields were a safety hazard.

"We have a hunt in the village every year and it's a shame to let them down. But it's far too dangerous for man or beast," he said.

One of the observers was 98-year-old Gethin Davies, who comes to the event every year with his wife Edna, 90 and daughter Marian Harris.

Up until ten years ago, the plucky pensioner used to ride a horse to the annual event.

Once huntsman Mr Harris thanked the crowds for attending, the hounds headed off down the A468 to the village, much to the excitement of Spot the Jack Russell, who was at the spectacle with his owner Marie Blackmore, 61 and Stephen Thomas, 62.

But a trip back to the kennels awaited instead of the hunt as the weather played havoc with proceedings.