Chris Woodward

GUILTY: Criminal hunter Chris Woodward convicted three times since July

A court has found the Wynnstay Hunt’s notorious ex-huntsman Chris Woodward guilty yet again. Woodward is a  man racking up a long criminal record.

Woodward denied the charge of hunting a wild animal with dogs in Lower Wych, Wrexham, on 14 January 2023. But it was the hard work of Cheshire (Borderland) Monitors volunteers that managed to film his actions and ensure a conviction.

The hunter said that the fox chase was “accidental”, but the prosecutor stated:

“It was a thrill, an opportunity, and you allowed them to pursue the fox.”

The magistrate agreed with her, saying to Woodward:

“[you] deliberately allowed [the hounds] to pursue the fox.”


A spokesperson for Cheshire (Borderland) Monitors told Protect the Wild:

This rewarding news comes after many years of battling with the legal loopholes in the ridiculously weak Hunting Act and at the same time trying to save foxes from hunts and particularly the Wynnstay Hunt.

Cheshire Monitors are over the moon with the result and thank the locals involved, the CPS and North Wales Police for helping us finally serve justice.

Hunting is on its knees and it’s looking likely that it won’t be too long now before we can all enjoy the countryside without these medieval barbarians in it.”


Chris Woodward when he was huntsman with the Wynnstay Hunt
Chris Woodward when he was huntsman with the Wynnstay Hunt. Photo courtesy of Cheshire (Borderland) Monitors

Three convictions

This verdict comes just months after another guilty conviction. In August, Woodward pleaded guilty to interfering with a badger sett near Malpas, north Wales. The guilty plea came after the Hunt Saboteurs Association (HSA) released footage back in February 2023, showing two men escaping on a quad bike after they were confronted by sabs. The men were named as Woodward and whipper-in Charlie Young. The men were blocking the sett so that foxes couldn’t run into them to escape being hunted.

And in July 2023 Woodward pleaded guilty to causing intentional harassment, alarm or distress, an offence under the Public Order Act. The hunter rode his horse at a Cheshire (Borderland) Monitors volunteer during a fox hunting meet on 7 January 2023. Woodward galloped towards the monitor on his horse, almost knocking the man to the ground. At the same time he screamed:

“F*ck off now! That’s my f*cking job. If you do that again I’ll f*cking kill you! Do you hear? You leave them alone; that’s my responsibility!”

Before that, the hunter narrowly escaped being convicted under the Hunting Act when he appeared in court in December 2022. Woodward was found not guilty of illegal hunting, but only after the Crown Prosecution Service dropped a monitor’s video from the evidence bundle at the last minute. At the same time, Woodward was on trial for another incident of illegal hunting after North Wales Police officers also witnessed Woodward chasing a fox on a different date. But he was found not guilty of this charge, too.

So, Woodward has appeared in court four times in the past twelve months and has been convicted of different hunting-related offences three times in the past six. This time he was fined £525 and ordered to pay costs.


We urgently need stronger legislation

Cheshire (Borderland) Monitors should be applauded for their dedication to monitoring the Wynnstay, and for their persistence in trying to get fox hunters convicted. It is no easy feat to secure a conviction under the Hunting Act: after all, the legislation was deliberately brought in with loopholes so that hunters could go on terrorising wildlife as usual. In his memoir, Tony Blair even admitted that he had deliberately sabotaged the Hunting Act with exemptions and loopholes.

Woodward left the Wynnstay before the 2023/24 season began, and joined the Heythrop Hunt. In September, Three Counties Hunt Saboteurs caught the hunt tearing up a fox cub under Woodward’s command. The fact that he is free to terrorise Britain’s wildlife highlights yet again how flawed the Hunting Act is.

Protect the Wild argues that the law needs to be scrapped and urgently replaced with stronger legislation, which would stop men like Woodward once and for all. We want the Hunting Act to be replaced with the Hunting of Mammals Bill. Inspired by Scotland, which recently passed its own Hunting With Dogs Act, we know that legislative change is possible.

If the Hunting of Mammals Bill were implemented, a court could disqualify an individual from working with or using animals for any purpose, including hunting. This would, effectively, put criminal huntsmen out of a job with future hunts. Under the current Hunting Act, all too often we see convicted huntsmen like Woodward skipping from one hunt to another with pitiful fines.



The Hunting of Mammals Bill will stop hunting in its tracks, and finally give wildlife much-needed protection from illegal hunting. Almost 50,000 people have already signed. Please support it and help us make it law. You can read the Bill in its entirety by downloading a pdf version here. And you can sign our petition for a proper ban on hunting here.

  • Please support the wonderful Cheshire (Borderland) Monitors in their hard work to stop fox hunting. You can donate to the group here, or you can volunteer with them on the ground. Find out more about volunteering with them here.