Published: 12:04, 21 December 2020
| Updated: 12:31, 21 December 2020
One of the county's most historic and controversial festive traditions - the Boxing Day hunt - has been cancelled for the first time since the war.
Masters of the East Kent Hunt with West Street, which has been meeting in Elham Square on December 26 since 1903, took the decision in the wake of the increased Covid restrictions.
Hunt spokesman Nick Onslow says they had "no choice" given the rules banning large gatherings.
"It's disappointing for all our supporters but inevitable," he said.
"The masters could obviously not allow an event which encourages large gatherings of people and would clearly be irresponsible.
"In fact, the decision was taken a few weeks ago because even in Tier 3, we were limited to six people.
"But the hounds are still being taken out for regular exercise."
Mr Onslow, who has compiled a history of the East Kent Hunt, which was founded in 1814, says he believes the last time the Boxing Day hunt had to be cancelled was during the Second World War.
In the past, the gathering has attracted anti-hunting demonstrators who have clashed with huntsmen and women in the village.
Last year the hunt did not gather in the village square to avoid any confrontation and supporters were invited to gather at the kennels instead to see the hunt off.
Since the introduction of the Hunting Act in 2005, which outlawed the hunting of wild animals with dogs, the hunt says it has been laying trails for the hounds to follow.