SPORTS AND PASTIMES.
VI. Sports and Pastimes
Although there are few places in Great Britain which do not
offer the visitor more or less facility for sport and pastime, the
stranger will find the most varied programme when he locates him¬
self in some large town. The tendency of the time is to bring as
many amusements as possible within the limits of enclosed grounds.
These enclosures are, almost without exception, the property of a
club, for the members of which the best accommodation is reserved.
The public, however, can obtain admission by payment to the
grounds and to stands not set apart for members. Forth-coming
events are advertised in the papers, and any information on sporting
matters may be obtained by addressing a letter to the editor of one
of the sporting journals , such as the Field or the Sporting News.
Horse Racing. The chief Race Meetings held in enclosed grounds are
those at Sandown and Kempton Park (see Baedeker's London), Manchester,
Leicester, Derby, Four Oaks (near Birmingham), and Gosforth Park (near
Neweastle-on-Tyne). There are several annual meetings at each of these
places; and owing to the large sums raced for, and the superior nature
of the arrangements, these 'Gate-money' meetings are very popular. Many
of the old-fashioned 'open' meetings, however, still survive. There is no
charge for going on the course at Newmarket (p. 449), Epsom, Ascot (see
Baedeker's London), Goodwood (p. 56), and many other places, though, of
course, payment must be made for entrance to the stands and paddocks.
When the racing season closes, towards the end of November, the enclosed
grounds are used for steeplechases and coursing meetings, the hares being
kept in a pen and 'enlarged' as required. The chief steeplechase of the
year is the Liverpool Grand National, run for in March; the course is
upwards of 4V2 M. long and the value of the stakes is about 1000/. The
Grand National Hunters' Steeplechase is for horses coming under the
definition of hunters, and takes place on a different course each year.
Hunt Steeplechases, confined for the most part to horses which have been
ridden with specified packs of hounds, are frequent in March and April,
and are growing more and more popular.
Hunting. Nearly the whole of England is hunted over by hounds of
some kind or another, and no difficulty need be experienced in seeing a
pack at work. In most counties hunters may be hired at a charge of
2-3 guineas a day. — The Devon and Somerset Slaghounds hunt over Ex-
moor (p. 164) and the Quantocks, pursuing the wild red deer which is
found by the 'tufters.' Horses may be hired at Dulverton (p. 128), Taun¬
ton (p. 127), etc. With the exception of the New Forest Pack, all other
packs of staghounds hunt the carted deer. Fox-hunting, however, is the
most popular branch of this sport, and is seen in its glory in the so-called
'Shires', including Leicestershire (the chief), Northamptonshire, and parts
of Rutland and Warwickshire. Most packs are maintained by subscrip¬
tion; and though anyone may hunt with them for a day or two without
giving anything, more frequent visitors are expected to contribute to the
support of the hounds. The packs of harriers are very numerous. The
hunting season is opened by the Devon and Somerset Staghounds in the
second week in August; cub-hunting begins in September; and the Royal
Buckhounds meet for forest-hunting at Ascotl on the first Tuesday in
October. Regular hunting begins on Nov. 1st, and lasts till about the middle
of April, though in some counties a May fox is killed.
Fishing. Wherever there is a river in England and Wales, some kind
of fishing may be had; and full information as to the conditions may
generally be obtained at the local fishing-tackle shops. A good deal of
the water is free, but in some cases a charge is made to anglers, while