Our happy hounds
Our Kennels are at Kimblewick, near Aylesbury and visitors are always welcome. The Kennels are run by the Kennel Huntsman, who is assisted by the Countryman. Stud grooms are responsible for the horses.
The Kennels were redesigned in 2017 in a major rebuild of the site and now they are considered amongst the finest kennels in the country.
Hounds live in groups in yards, or lodges, which provide them with an indoor resting area and a yard which is both under cover and outside. In the warm weather they love nothing more than to stretch out and soak up the sun! They sleep on thick straw beds on raised platforms, and are often in contact with a neighbouring hound.
Daily exercise and professional care
In the summer months, daily exercise consists of a long walk first thing in the morning, with the Huntsman and Kennel Huntsman either walking with the hounds or riding bicycles, and a spell in the large grass yard later in the day to romp and play. As the season approaches, their exercise becomes more intense, similar to getting a horse fit. This hardens their feet and increases their lung capacity in preparation for Autumn Training, in which they will be taught to find and follow an artificial trail.
The hounds may run 40 miles or more in a single day, so health and fitness are important. The breeding programme prioritises stamina and hunting ability, with both bitches and doghounds selected for the pack's future. The pedigrees of some of the hounds can be traced back for many years, and they are all recorded in the Foxhound Stud Book, as is every litter of foxhounds born in the country. Each hound is named after the mother's first one or two letters, so Peanut, Pedlar, and so on are names from Pageant's litter, and Dandy and Daffodil are names from Dancer's litter.
Hounds are not bought or sold, but rather drafted (given) to a pack that best suits their hunting abilities. A hound who shows an interest in deer, for example, may be assigned to a stag hound pack.
The Huntsman and Whipper-In of the Kimblewick Hunt wear a tawny yellow-coloured livery. This is quite unusual as staff with most other hunts wear a red coat (although some wear green or other colours) and it is a tradition that harks back many years and has remained constant despite a variety of hunt mergers and splits along the way.
The Hunt staff wear five brass buttons on their tawny yellow coats, mahogany tops on their boots and they carry white hunting whips. An amateur whipper-in is usually a subscriber who helps hunt staff with their job, and may wear a red or black coat.
Hunt staff, Masters and officials are the only people who may wear a traditional velvet hunting cap with the ribbon tails left free. This is so they may be identified from behind. Anyone else who wears a velvet cap should sew up the tails of the ribbon.