Cumberland Hunt officials, who claim that hunting is necessary to keep down fox numbers in their sheep rearing area, have admitted that an artificial earth found in a wood near the West Cumbrian village of Bothel in March, was built to provide healthy foxes for hunting.
The local British Field Sports Society representative, Jeffrey Olstead admitted, “There are artificial earths in almost every hunting county in England,” but he denied that they increase the numbers of foxes in the area. He claimed that their purpose was to encourage foxes to ‘lie away from main roads and built-up areas.’
In fact the wood in which the cosy fox breeding chamber had been built was surrounded by pregnant sheep! Understandably, the artificial earth was not of the same construction as the expensive concrete and pipe structure built by the wealthy Beaufort Hunt.
The Cumberland version consisted of two tunnels strengthened by a sheet of corrugated iron, bent to form an arch. The main chamber for the rearing of fox, was made from wooden planks.