SHOCKED parents watched in horror as hunt dogs, one dripping with blood, rampaged through Hester-combe Gardens near Taunton during a children's Hallowe'en event on Tuesday.

The dogs stormed through the gardens shortly after a terrified fox dashed through, just as children - all in fancy dress - were taking part in a Hallowe'en trail.

One Taunton mother, who was with her one-year-old and four-year-old children, told the County Gazette: "We were walking towards the witches house when this fox ran across the path about 20 yards behind us.

"My sister-in-law commented on how terrified it looked but off it went so we kept walking.

"The next thing we heard dogs barking and the sound of bugles.

"Shortly after around six to ten dogs ran across the gardens after the fox - one was dripping with blood.

"Then at the top of the gardens you could hear the huntsmen in the field behind. It was quite a commotion lasting about half an hour.

"Thankfully my children were not upset by it but I was shocked by it all - it's a National Trust garden so what were the dogs doing on it, especially with so many children around?"

The hunt involved was the Taunton Vale Fox Hounds.

Hunt Master Alison Brown said: "We were hunting in the area and unfortunately the hounds were trail hunting and picked up the scent of the fox and took off after it.

"We tried to call them back but we were held up by an electric fence on a farm.

"We got there around the same time the staff from Hestercombe came out.

"We told them what had happened and carried on.

"I cannot comment on any hounds having blood on them."

A spokesman for Hestercombe Gar-dens said: "We were aware there was some hounds in the gardens on Tuesday and have spoken to the master of the hunt.

"They have explained what happened and have apologised, which we have accepted.

"We do not allow hunting in the gardens for obvious health and safety reasons."