A historic hunt which traditionally set off from Welshpool on Boxing Day has disbanded, citing “increasing urbanisation” of the area.

The Tanatside Hunt has announced that it is folding after several decades in operation.

The hunt, founded in 1935, has covered the area of Powys between Llanfair and Welshpool, but will no longer operate after the recent decision – although it said it could reallocate some of its land to other hunts.

Its annual Boxing Day Hunt usually began its route in Welshpool and had become a recognised tradition in the town on Boxing Day, with crowds turning out onto the streets to watch the horses and hounds prepare to head across the countryside – although the attitudes between supporters and opponents of the hunt is notoriously fractious.

Master of the Hunt John Jones said that the hunt had decided to disband because of the loss of accessible land on which the hunt can operate.

He said: “The committee of the Tanatside has made the responsible decision to disband due to increasing urbanisation which has resulted in a loss of accessible and suitable hunt country.

“The Tanatside Hunt has a rich history, has been an integral part of the rural community and the committee wishes to thank the farmers, landowners and all the supporters for their commitment over many years.

“Some of the country will be reallocated so that trail hunting and its strong relationship with the local rural community can continue where possible.”

Hunts have found land on which to operate increasingly sparse after landowners such as the National Trust and Natural Resources Wales began enforcing bans on trail hunting on their properties.

Both organisations announced they would no longer issue licenses for trail hunts in November 2021.

Natural Resources Wales put the policy into place following a decision from its board to not renew its Master Agreement with the Masters of Foxhounds Association.

In October 2021, Masters of the Foxhounds Association director Mark Hankinson was found guilty of encouraging the use of legal trail hunting as a screen to carry out the unlawful chasing and killing of animals.

Dominic Driver, Head of Land Stewardship for Natural Resources Wales said: “We have carefully considered the court ruling and our role before coming to a decision at the board meeting, which we held in public session.

“In order to assure ourselves properly that trail hunting on our estate wasn’t being used as a cover for illegal activity, we would have to invest in skills and resources that we currently don’t have, to police it properly.

“Given what has historically been a minor use of the land we manage, this does not represent good use of our limited resources.

“As all trail hunting was managed under the same agreement, all trail hunting activity on the NRW-managed estate will end with immediate effect.”

There was no suggestion that the Tanatside Hunt was acting illegally.

Hunting wild mammals with dogs was banned in Wales and England by the Hunting Act of 2004 but the law does allow trail hunting, which sees people on foot or horseback following a scent along a pre-determined route with hounds or beagles.