SUPPORTERS of the North Cotswold hunt have raised more than £1,000 to buy animal feed for farmers affected by flooding in the Somerset Levels.

Mark Russell, Field master for the hunt, delivered about 60 large wrapped bales of haylage down to the Sedgemoor Livestock Market, in Bridgwater, yesterday (Monday).

And another load of about 100 bales will be delivered following a further donation.

Mr Russell said: “We used to be big stock farmers, so we know the situation. We can’t just sit here whilst farmers in Somerset are fighting to keep their livestock, and their livelihoods, alive.

“We opted to buy wrapped haylage as we know this is going to be an ongoing issue for farmers and the wrapped fodder can be stored.”

Donations from members of the hunt paid for the haylage while cash donations are also pouring in which will go towards fodder for the livestock.

"They are going to be feeding their livestock until June or July," added Mr Russell. "It's going to be going on into next winter. It's a real disaster."

The North Cotswold hunt, which covers parts of Gloucestershire and Worcestershire, is just one of many hunts across the country who have swung into action to help farmers in flooded areas, as part of the National Farmers Union coordinated Forage Aid campaign.

Barney White-Spunner, Executive chairman of the Countryside Alliance, said: “At this heart-breaking time for the farmers and residents caught by the floods it is very cheering to see hunts and the countryside pulling together to help them.

"Consignments of animal feed will be driven down to Somerset this week from hunts across the UK and donations are also pouring in from fellow farmers, businesses and the public.

“Whilst we are powerless to stop the weather we can all help to make life a little more bearable for those suffering the worst of the floods.”