Joint master Simon Robinson appealed to hunt supporters to lobby for a repeal in the Hunting Act at the traditional Boxing Day meet of the Tedworth.

He hoped it would be just a question of time before the 2004 act is repealed as Prime Minister David Cameron, he claims, is committed to seeing the law axed.

He told the crowd on Monday: “It is fantastic to see so many of you today supporting the Tedworth Hunt and hunting in general.

“Seeing your support is important for hunting and the Prime Minister remains committed to repealing the Hunting Act. I am sure the Government will vote to repeal the Hunting Act which is a bad law and like any bad law should be repealed.”

He acknowledged that the turnout of fewer than one dozen riders was one of the smallest for years but said this was a result of the cold and ice. “The weather has been against us for the past few weeks and the ground is still too frosty for us to go hunting today,” he said.

“The ground is still frozen so we will not be going off the road.”

Mr Robinson thanked the landowners and keepers who welcomed the hunt over their land and the staff at the Tedworth kennels at Burbage for looking after the hounds.

A small crowd of supporters watched the meet and no anti-hunt protesters appeared to be present.

Riders and huntsmen were treated to the traditional stirrup cup of port, together with slices of Christmas cake and ginger cake.

Although the Tedworth failed to attract large crowds, in Lacock police estimated that around 1,500 supporters braved the cold to see the Avon Vale Hunt move off amid chocolate box scenes from the Red Lion.

Joint master Jonathon Seed, who was laid low by a heavy cold the day after the meet, said: “We had about 30 horses take part, which is well down on the normal number.

“I can understand that people would not have wanted to risk their horses in that weather.

“But we decided to go ahead and it went well.

“There was a couple of inches of snow on the ground, which was very hard.

“But we managed the jumps without mishap and everyone who took part enjoyed it enormously.”

Charles Bartholomew, chairman of Devizes brewers Wadworth & Co, was on hand to distribute stirrup cups, in plastic glasses, to the riders.

The hunt’s Siberian eagle owl, Olga, was also present.