The Avon Vale hounds have been kennelled in the glorious surroundings of Spye Park near Lacock for many years. Previously the hounds lived in kennels at Semington which were sold in order to purchase the current Kennels at Spye Park. The Hunt owns the seven acre site consisting of two detached houses and one flat for staff, an extensive brick built kennels, stables, barns, paddocks and a fallen stock disposal unit. The Hunt have been blessed with excellent relations with the owners of the surrounding Spye Park over many years and thus have easy access to wonderful exercise facilities.
The Kennels are the heart of the Hunt organisation and are well maintained by a small, dedicated and hard working staff. The management of kennels and welfare of hounds, horses and staff is overseen by Joint Master and Huntsman, Jonathon Seed. Day to day management of Kennels, staff and hounds is the responsibility of Kennel Huntsman and First Whipper-In Nick Bycroft who lives on site with his wife Caroline. He is assisted by a trainees member of Hunt staff, Callum Walsh who is with the Avon Vale as part of the MFHA/Fleming Bursary scheme to help young people into a life as hunt staff. This summer Callum completes his NVQ Level 3 in animal management which is specifically tailored to work in hunt kennels. The kennels staff are also assisted on a part time basis by local farmer Stuart Radbourne (also one of our Field Masters and Amateur Whipper In) who leads in the maintenance of the Hunt country (building fences and bridges, clearing ditches, laying hedges and coverts etc). Eve Gallo is the Stud Groom and she looks after the horses at Kennels together with helping around Kennels in the summer months.
A significant part of the work at Kennels is the operation of a Fallen Stock scheme for the farmers and landowners over whose land we hunt. This is a critical part of the thread that binds us all together in this part of the countryside. Formerly we collected all fallen stock from farms but economics have recently prevented us from continuing this service. We are, however, one of the minority of hunts in the country which have undertaken the extensive and expensive work required to comply with the DEFRA gold plating of EU Regulations which now allow us to operate as a Fallen Stock Collection Centre. We take the vast majority of fallen stock within the Hunt country and dispose of it on behalf of the farmers whose support we value so highly.
Visits to the Kennels in Spye Park are encouraged and if you would like to arrange a visit simply contact us and we will try and arrange a mutually convenient time for a visit.